Ones to Watch September 2019

July 16th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Sales and Marketing

Nathan McKenna: was appointed segment marketing manager for Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass). In his new position, McKenna provides marketing support for Vitro Glass’s residential, commercial and specialty divisions, as well as oversees the company’s marketing plans, while supporting its architectural teams throughout the U.S. and Canada.

McKenna joined Vitro Glass in 2015 as a national architectural manager and previously worked at Columbia Commercial Building Products in Dallas, where he served as glass division manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communication from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

John Ricci: was named director of sales for RSL, a Novatech Company. Ricci, who has been with Novatech since the fall of 2017, oversees sales of steel doors, door glass and sliding patio doors. He manages the company’s independent sales rep groups in the Upper Midwest, Midwest, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi regions, as well as from Virginia through New England. Ricci is known for a lengthy track record of success in the millwork industry, a company statement said.

In late July, RSL also hired Marquis Sales and Marketing to handle marketing for its steel doors, door glass and sliding patio door products. The team, consisting of Wayne Cornwell, Joshua Kirschner, Darrell McFarland, Tony Strong, Duncan McNeill, Lynn Kundravi and Al Mograss now represents RSL’s Eastern division, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. They report to John Ricci, director of sales.

Jim and Craig Grow, of JEG Sales, were also hired to represent the company’s steel doors and doorglass products in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, while Randy Porter, of RJ Porterand Associates, now represents steel doors and door glass in Colorado and Utah. JEG Sales reports to Ricci, while Porter reports to RSL vice president Kevin Kavanagh.

Michael Schmidt: was appointed vice president of sales and marketing, North America, by The Glaston Group. As such, Schmidt is now responsible for the integration, organization and oversight of the sales team in North America for both the Glaston and Bystronic glass portfolios. He’s a 20-year veteran of the glass industry with knowledge in glass fabrication processes and solutions throughout the commercial door and window industries, officials for Glaston said.

Josh Klick: was recently welcomed by Erdman Automation Corp. as its new North Central North America sales manager. Klick has spent the past 17 years in fenestration and building products, most recently managing the pro channel of dealers and distributors throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest.

Executive Appointments

Bob Burns, past president of Ashland (a company that was acquired by AmesburyTruth) was appointed to take over executive leadership of AmesburyTruth. Effective July 2, Burns replaced Jeff Graby. According to an official company statement, Graby, “has decided to step down as president,” though the statement failed to clarify whether or not he would remain with the company.

Burns led Ashland from 2013 to the present, officials said, and “has been a driving force for significant improvements.” Prior to Ashland, he was chief operating officer for Atrium Windows, and vice president of operations for Baldwin Hardware.

Jan Willem Van der Werff was appointed Deceuninck North America’s vice president of operations in July. In his new role, he oversees Deceuninck’s business operations and fenestration facilities in Monroe, Ohio, and Fernley, Nev.

Van der Werff has more than 25 years of experience in global operations, including leadership roles in the industries of renewables, plastics and chemicals, officials said. He served in the Dutch Army as a First Lieutenant and Reserve Officer, holds masters’ degrees in chemical engineering and polymer technology, and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Q&A

Team Mentality: As Robinson Says Goodbye, PRYSM Leans on Collaboration

After 30 years of providing independent sales to the fenestration industries, in July, Ed Robinson, co-founder of PRYSM Marketing Inc., announced that he’s retiring. Robinson started the Doylestown, Pa.-based company in 1989, focusing on sales in the Northeast region. The company has prepped for his departure by teaming him up over the past year with Ben Rothschild, who will cover the New England territory. Meanwhile, [DWM]’s editors caught up with one of PRYSM’s other partners, Spencer Wilkinson, to discuss the company’s collaborative approach to independent sales.

On the concept of partners and territories:

“We aren’t just a bunch of guys running around with cellphones working as individuals,” Wilkinson says. “We’re an organization—a team with structure … Our owners are also our employees. And we do have territories that we call on, but each of us looks at the entire marketplace, as a whole. We switch hats from ownership to territories, then take that group collaboration and implement it with our suppliers and customers.”

Regarding the complex nature of the industry and the benefit of relationships:

“It’s the relationships that we build with these customers—original equipment manufacturers and fabricators— that gives us the avenues to go in and talk to the decision makers in a pretty expedient way, so that we’re not that typical sales guy going in and knocking on the door five times and hearing ‘no’ five times … we become an asset to their organizations by understanding how they go to market. We understand what components might be attractive to them, so we’re not wasting their time.”

On how the industry has changed:

“In the door and window industries, for years we dealt with people who either started the business themselves or they brought their families in … These guys knew windows inside and out, because they actually built them themselves. The way things are going with how these larger equity companies are coming in, making purchases and acquisitions, and turning these small window companies into big corporations has really changed things, because they bring people in from outside of the industry … people who in many cases don’t even know the difference between a frame and a sash.”

The risks of going cheap:

“I think [these developments] just make our jobs that much more important … to educate all of the people in the decision-making process, so that they’re not just looking at one thing: bottom line … I think right now it’s even more important for us to really educate and become an asset at the customer level, because eventually they’re just going to drill it down to this cheap, low quality product that we’re putting out into the marketplace. And I’m fearful of that to some degree.”

On the advantages of cross-selling among brands:

“Everybody is doing two, three jobs. Our resources have become very limited and we don’t have the time,” he says of door and window companies. “Let’s say I was looking to evaluate seven different components. That means I’d have to set up seven different meetings with seven different direct sales guys to have seven different pitches … No one’s going to come in for five or ten minutes. They’re going to sit there and chat about the weather, chat about your kids, your weekend and waste time … Meanwhile, I’ve already determined which seven lines or components are advantageous to them, which I can bring to the decision makers and rattle through in about 30 minutes to an hour.

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