What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Adam DeAnseris

Adam DeAnseris, HGR Industrial Surplus buyer, and his son

When did you start with HGR, and why?

April 2013 — I was looking for a position that would help strengthen my talents while advancing my career.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

New England — I meet with companies that are trying to sell their equipment and warehouse items.  I explain who HGR Industrial Surplus is and how we can become a reliable resource that can provide a solution to their problem. I am negotiating deals on the offers I have made from the meetings I have gone on. I help provide accurate information for the logistics to get the equipment picked up in a timely manner.

What do you like most about your job?

The traveling and meeting new people while witnessing everyday products I use get manufactured.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Managing my time where I can get the most out of every day and buy as many deals as I can. Keeping the customer happy with our services while also buying smart and not overpaying for equipment.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

There are many, but I have to say singing “Man Eater” by Hall and Oates in front of the HGR team was a pretty cool experience. P.S I have many more hits up my sleeve. Encore anyone???

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Watching any sport, playing cards with friends and spending time with my family. I have two older brothers, four nieces and two nephews. I also have a four-month-old who keeps me pretty busy!

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

I’d have to say my grandparents because they raised my parents to be great role models, and this has helped my brothers and me to be the best that we can for our families.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I recently won a local poker tournament by beating out 75 people. I love all types of music, and I used to help my friend DJ a lot of weddings and special occasions.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with the Call Center

HGR's call center team

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Cynthia Vassaur, HGR’s call center manager)

What does your department do?

The HGR Call Center contacts manufacturing and distribution companies to determine if they are in possession of equipment available for sale. We leverage our client relationship management (CRM) software to access vendor contact information. Once a client has been contacted, CRM is updated with critical data stemming from the call. HGR’s Call Center averages 1,500 call actions per day that result in approximately 35 viable “buy leads” for the company.

The Call Center’s ability to meet its daily call volume and quality interaction goals is critical to HGR’s overall success. To do this, an extremely structured performance matrix has been designed, and agents must employ a disciplined approach to comply with minimum standards. Team-building exercises, morale-boosting contests, and departmental lunches are conducted on a regular basis to promote a positive work environment. However, at the end of the day, employees realize that team and individual success in the Call Center are driven by consistently completing a high volume of top quality client interactions. As a result, a typical “day in the life” of the HGR Call Center involves motivated and disciplined staff “doing their thing” over the phone in order to generate business.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

The Call Center employs 13 full-time employees. Cynthia Vassaur, call center manager, oversees personnel and general operations functions. Dax Taruc is in charge of researching and responding to incoming calls from vendors interested in selling equipment and ensures the client database is regularly updated with the most current information. The department also contains Preferred Vendor Administrators Larry Edwards, Joe McAfee, Levit Hernandez and Kim Girnus tasked with reaching out to vendors from whom HGR has purchased, or attempted to purchase, equipment in the past. Their primary focus is maintaining and enhancing HGR’s relationship with this critical segment of clientele. Finally, there are seven marketing administrators — Cameron Luddington, Ludie Toles, Obed Montejano, Theresa Bailey, Jackie McDonald, Kaylie Foster and Quanton Williams – who are responsible for contacting potential vendors. In doing so, they attempt to market HGR, brand the HGR name, and promote HGR’s service.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

Each MA makes about 150 calls a day, never knowing the end result of each interaction. For an individual to meet the daily demands and goals inherent with the position, he or she must have excellent computer skills and be a self-starter who is capable of communicating with people of varying backgrounds.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team! The department is comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds, which results in an interesting array of perspectives, opinions, and solutions. At the same time, each member demonstrates a respectful and accepting attitude toward teammates. While there are numerous characteristics that I appreciate about the HGR Call Center work environment, the inviting and inclusive attitude of the staff stands out.

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

The HGR Call Center’s greatest challenge has been attracting and retaining quality employees. Because Austin is such a wonderful place to live, many corporations have flocked to the area during the last couple of decades to set up shop. The resulting competition for pay, benefits, and perks has presented an obstacle to our hiring objectives. To combat that challenge, the department has worked closely with HGR’s Human Resources Department to create an employee profile aimed at attracting the right people for the position. This job profile refinement produced instantaneous results, with the department landing Cameron Luddington, Kim Girnus and several others shortly after its inception, and we are confident the department will continue reaping the benefits of those efforts.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

By far, the most impactful change during the last few years in the way the Call Center does business has been the agent pay structure modifications. In short, Call Center agents’ compensation is merit-based — hinging on call volume and a multitude of quality control call grading elements. The overall Call Center performance has dramatically improved as a result of this restructured approach to agent compensation. The harder an agent works, and the more attention to detail that agent exhibits, the more money that agent makes. Motivated agents eager to earn more money today than they did yesterday thrive in this environment.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

The major process improvement initiative we hope to initiate in the near future involves streamlining the process for adding new vendors to CRM. There are some strategies set for implementation that we hope will result in a higher number of vendors being routinely added to the database at a much higher rate than current levels.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR is “THE PLACE” to work! The grassroots culture of the business is positive and infectious; it spreads like wildfire to the new hires. HGR’s environment suits those with a strong work ethic, a desire to achieve team and individual goals, and who are genuinely vested in the HGR mission.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

Before I started working at HGR, I hadn’t really worked in or around the manufacturing industry. But in the last few years, I’ve come to recognize the value of HGR’s services and the affect it has on small and large businesses alike.

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Jim Ray

HGR Buyer Jim Ray with his family

When did you start with HGR and why? 

I was one of the original 11 employees who opened HGR in May 1998. I resigned my position at another machinery dealer and started working at HGR because the challenge of building a new company from the ground up, although risky, sounded exciting and rewarding.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

My territory consists of the southern 2/3 of Ohio, the southern 3/4 of Indiana, the eastern 2/3 of Kentucky and the southwestern 1/3 of West Virginia. On a daily basis, I visit manufacturing plants in my territory and inspect their surplus equipment. When I say inspect, I mean that I walk around, walk over, crawl under, climb over, and squeeze in between machinery and equipment in order to identify, evaluate and take pictures of it. At least one day per week (usually on Monday) I spend the day in my home office. Office days are typically long days spent calling and emailing vendors to follow up on offers I sent out, negotiate deals, following up on leads, scheduling appointments and communicating logistic needs to the transportations departments along with any other issues that needs to be addressed.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job is being able to visit a wide variety of manufacturing facilities and seeing how different items are produced. I also enjoy meeting and negotiating with a wide variety of people, as well as managing my territory and staying organized.

What’s your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is staying on top of my opportunities when I am busy.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

My most interesting or most memorable inspection was during an inspection of a well-known guitar and amplifier manufacturer. Their lobby was full of autographed guitars and life-sized posters. I am a music fan, and several of musician I listen to were represented on the walls. While walking through the plant toward the equipment they had for sale we passed the final test area where several guys who looked like rock stars who were jamming on guitars. One of the areas in which they had equipment for me to look at had about 50 pythons snake skins, all of which were at least 10-feet long, most being longer. Apparently snakeskin guitars are popular, and they actually use real snake skins to make them. That inspection was far from my typical automotive parts manufacture and has always stuck in my mind as being pretty cool.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I enjoy remodeling projects around the house, and playing card and board games with my wife and three kids: Jillian (15), Matthew (13) and David (11). I also like the outdoors and enjoy camping, fishing and hiking. These days when I am not working, I am typically in a gym or at a field watching my kids play either soccer, basketball, volleyball or lacrosse. Thank goodness they all chose sports that I enjoy watching.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

I would say my Dad has been the greatest influence on my life. He grew up as the son of a coal miner in Hazzard, Kentucky. He worked hard to put himself through college to obtain a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He always worked hard to provide for our family and never complained about the travel and stress of his job. He lived a very modest life with my mom in order to put my brothers, sister, and me through college. I still look up to him and hope I will always be able to provide for my family the way he did for ours.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I am a big soccer fan and have played, coached and watched games my whole life. I enjoy watching The Barclays Premier League (England’s top league) and am a fan of Arsenal Football Club out of London, England. I rarely miss watching a match. At the top of my bucket list is to someday travel to London to watch Arsenal play in person.

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Doug Francis

HGR Buyer Doug Francis

When did you start with HGR and why?

Feb. 28, 2011. At the time it sounded like a challenging position where I could use my education and sales experience to meet with large manufacturing firms to purchase their surplus equipment. Six years later, it’s still challenging, and I enjoy the people I work with tremendously. I plan on being with HGR for the duration.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

I cover most of Wisconsin and Cook, Boon, McHenry, and Lake Counties in Illinois. I contact customers to arrange times to look at their surplus equipment, follow up on offers and buy deals!

What do you like most about your job? 

Best part about this job is that it’s different every day. The process of setting up meetings, getting out offers and buying deals is consistent, but there’s never the same deal twice. Keeps me sharp.

What’s your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is the ongoing and always-changing needs of our customers.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

Most of the buyers’ meetings have interesting moments. Too many interesting moments to pick the most interesting. It’s a good deal to get together with coworkers/friends and be around the other buyers who are experiencing the same day-to-day activities.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I enjoy being outside and most water-related activities with friends and family. Wisconsin has outdoor activities for every season; so, I’m thankful for where I live.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

I’m not a hero worshipper. I’m influenced by successful people every day and try to emulate things that make them successful. My inspiration is self-improvement; there’s always room to get better with everything.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’m glad I work with such a good group of lads in the Buy Department. Every time we meet in Cleveland, I’m reminded what a great team of people work for HGR with the same goals as my own.

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer spotlight with Bob Buerger

HGR buyer Bob BuergerWhen did you start with HGR and why?

2004, but I moved into the buyer role in 2014. My friends and I were at a Hell’s Angels dry poker run for Ronald McDonald House. One stop was a local bar called Stingers near HGR. Since it was the last stop, we thought we’d have a beer and ended up meeting Mike Lima, HGR’s shipping manager at the time, who said they were looking for someone in the incoming department. I applied, and they hired me. I also used to shop at McKean and HGR for years, especially on Wednesdays when we could have a free lunch and shop. I thought it was the neatest place. There’s no other place I’ve come across like HGR with its enormous size, its magnitude and what it does — even in all my travels now.

What were you doing before HGR?

I managed a metal finishing and plating company and was familiar with most of Mike Paoletto’s customers that he’s bought from. I like machinery and woodworking and have always been around it.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

Southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Kentucky, 75 percent of Tennessee, northwestern Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. I live about 30 minutes from Memphis.

Monday is office day to get caught up. On average, I am away from the house overnight 1.5 days per week. I travel from company to company looking at equipment and purchase what we can, which is about 15 percent of what we look at, on average. I see about three businesses per day but have seen up to six.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting new people and new companies. At HGR, I saw all this equipment coming in but never saw it in operation, but now I go to huge manufacturing companies and get to see extrusion lines and robots in action and realize, “Oh, that’s how it’s made.” Every day is new in learning, and the job is fascinating.

What’s your greatest challenge?

The technology. I am not a computer person. When I first took this job, the only experience that I had was as an inventory clerk at HGR putting in information. And, I had a flip phone. The owners of HGR took a huge leap of faith giving me this position. Brian said, “Let’s give this guy a chance. He’s a good worker and always on time.” I was never late once and lived 30 minutes away. Even Rick had to teach me how to copy and paste.

When did you start with HGR and why?

2004, but I moved into the buyer role in 2014. My friends and I were at a Hell’s Angels dry poker run for Ronald McDonald House. One stop was a local bar called Stingers near HGR. Since it was the last stop, we thought we’d have a beer and ended up meeting Mike Lima, HGR’s shipping manager at the time, who said they were looking for someone in the incoming department. I applied, and they hired me. I also used to shop at McKean and HGR for years, especially on Wednesdays when we could have a free lunch and shop. I thought it was the neatest place. There’s no other place I’ve come across like HGR with its enormous size, its magnitude and what it does — even in all my travels now.

What were you doing before HGR?

I managed a metal finishing and plating company and was familiar with most of Mike Paoletto’s customers that he’s bought from. I like machinery and woodworking and have always been around it.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

Southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Kentucky, 75 percent of Tennessee, northwestern Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. I live about 30 minutes from Memphis.

Monday is office day to get caught up. On average, I am away from the house overnight 1.5 days per week. I travel from company to company looking at equipment and purchase what we can, which is about 15 percent of what we look at, on average. I see about three businesses per day but have seen up to six.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting new people and new companies. At HGR, I saw all this equipment coming in but never saw it in operation, but now I go to huge manufacturing companies and get to see extrusion lines and robots in action and realize, “Oh, that’s how it’s made.” Every day is new in learning, and the job is fascinating.

What’s your greatest challenge?

The technology. I am not a computer person. When I first took this job, the only experience that I had was as an inventory clerk at HGR putting in information. And, I had a flip phone. The owners of HGR took a huge leap of faith giving me this position. Brian said, “Let’s give this guy a chance. He’s a good worker and always on time.” I was never late once and lived 30 minutes away. Even Rick had to teach me how to copy and paste.

What’s your favorite place to eat when you are on the road?

My favorite place to eat with the best burgers is Abe’s Grill in Mississippi. It’s 100 years old with 10-15 seats.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My wife and I bought a house that was owned by a single mom who thought duct tape fixed everything; so, I spend a lot of my free time working on the house and outside in the yard. My wife said that she would really like a pool; so, we put an in-ground pool in last year.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My mom and dad. Mom because she gave me a great sense of humor. She taught me to laugh at myself. Dad because he gave me a great work ethic. He was a foreman at Ford Brookpark Foundry for more than 25 years. He’d leave for work at 5:30 a.m. in a white shirt and come home with a grey shirt. He had a stretch of about 150 days where he worked every day with no time off. He also is a combat Marine Corp. veteran who served in Korea. He taught me that if you work hard in life you get benefits.

Anything I missed that you want the rest of the team to know?

At HGR, if you give 100 percent and work hard, ownership will recognize you when a position becomes available. They’re always open to give someone a chance.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My wife and I bought a house that was owned by a single mom who thought duct tape fixed everything; so, I spend a lot of my free time working on the house and outside in the yard. My wife said that she would really like a pool; so, we put an in-ground pool in last year.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My mom and dad. Mom because she gave me a great sense of humor. She taught me to laugh at myself. Dad because he gave me a great work ethic. He was a foreman at Ford Brookpark Foundry for more than 25 years. He’d leave for work at 5:30 a.m. in a white shirt and come home with a grey shirt. He had a stretch of about 150 days where he worked every day with no time off. He also is a combat Marine Corp. veteran who served in Korea. He taught me that if you work hard in life you get benefits.

Anything else that you want everyone to know?

At HGR, if you give 100 percent and work hard, ownership will recognize you when a position becomes available. They’re always open to give someone a chance.