Name: Jill Comer
Company: NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc.
Location: Greenville, NC
Years On Job: 5.5
You could say that material handling is in my blood. My father, David Coward, worked for Yale Materials Handling Corporation for 31 years and that was really my first exposure to the industry. Some people kind of fall into the industry, but I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to work in material handling. It’s really a thrilling industry. Things are constantly changing and evolving and you are always learning. I never have the same day twice in my job, and that’s part of the appeal. During my career so far in the material handling industry, I have worn many hats, with my most recent position as Vice President, East Region for NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc. (NMHG).
- Dealer Experience
One of the best decisions I ever made was starting my career at the dealer level before coming to work for NMHG. I worked for about 12 years in different dealerships getting as much experience as possible. That has been a huge advantage in my current role. So much of what we do is centered around the dealers, so it’s very important to understand what they go through on a daily basis. Having been both a salesperson and a sales manager at the dealer level lends a lot of credibility to my conversations with our dealers.
- Moving Up
Once I decided to move to the factory side of the business, I saw a lot of opportunity to grow. I started at NMHG as a National Accounts Manager. I worked in National Accounts for about two years before being promoted to Director of Corporate and Global Accounts within the National Accounts Group. Then, about six months ago, I was named Vice President, East Region, making me responsible for the growth and performance of our Hyster® and Yale® dealers in the Eastern United States.
Communication is the most important part of my job. In today’s world, people try to communicate through email and while I think email is a great way to share information, oftentimes you can get a lot more done by just picking up the phone and having a real conversation. Communicating with our dealers, our customers, and having them really understand that we’re going to be responsive and true to our word is key. You want to build trust with the people you work with every day.
- Cultivating Success
I have nine people directly reporting to me, and for me to be successful in my job, I need to ensure that they have the tools to be successful in theirs. I have to understand each person’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition to developing the right staff, having a good understanding of the structure of the dealerships is vital. It’s all about developing relationships, both internally and with our dealers and teams to really be able to get what we need to get accomplished.