Get to Know HGR’s Bob Eucker

HGR's Bob EuckerWhat is your job title?                   

Pricer/bidder

What are your job responsibilities on a day-to-day basis?   

I evaluate and give values on equipment that the buyers are looking to purchase, as well as pricing equipment that arrives at HGR.

What qualifications are needed to succeed in your role?   

The ability to research product and a good memory

What background or prior work experiences do you bring to the table?    

Ten years in sales

How long have you been with HGR, and why?

For 19 years because it’s a solid company to work for.

What can you tell us about your family?     

I’ve been married for 21 years and have two boys who are 18 and 14 years old.

What is the most important thing in the world to you/what matters most? 

My family

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Rick Affrica

HGR Buyer Rick Affrica and family

When did you start with HGR, and why?

I started with HGR back when it all began – 1997.  I was presented with an offer to leave the company that I had been working with (along with 11 others) and be part of something new – something great.  So, I started with HGR, and we “Hit the Ground Running.”

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

I do not have a territory.  My territory consists of anyone/anywhere who has surplus to sell!  I help manage the procurement of all that we sell.  What I do is twofold.  First, I manage seven of our regional buyers.  I work with them daily on making sure we get everything out of opportunities that are presented to our company.  The second part of what I do is to build and maintain relationships with larger corporations that continually have surplus equipment/material that they need to move.

What do you like most about your job?

It may sound cliché, but each day is different in that each opportunity we work on is different.  Every deal we work on has its challenges and issues that need to be resolved.  My job is to figure out options and look for ways we can achieve the goals of not only HGR, but that of our customer, as well.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Working remotely with each of our buyers and our consignment partners.  Technology has certainly helped with managing and making things much easier to review.  The challenge is working remotely and not seeing firsthand what exactly the issues are that need to be resolved.  The best way to overcome this challenge is to jump in the car or on a plane and go meet personally to help overcome the challenge.  Travel, in and of itself, can be a challenge.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

This is a loaded question.  Probably best to keep this to a conversation over a beer after hours one day.  Keep in mind, I work with the Buy Group.  It is made up of a cast of characters.  There are some interesting stories to tell!

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

All things related to my family. I am very lucky in that I have a great wife and awesome kids.  As my kids have gotten older, my wife and I realize that we need to do whatever we can with the time we have and enjoy our time together.  With my schedule, I do miss out on things.  My kids understand this, but they know I make every effort possible to spend time with them. Everything else is secondary.

What else should we know about you?

As stated above, I have worked with HGR since Day 1.  I started out as one of our regional buyers and moved into management/ownership a few years later.  My wife and I have now been married for 22 years and have two kids.  My son is 17, is a senior in high school, and is working on figuring out his next step in life – where to attend college.  My daughter is 13 and is in the eighth grade. They both are very active in school and various activities.  For those who do not know, I live in the Great State of Michigan.  For you Buckeyes, do not worry. I am not a fan of that team out of Ann Arbor (NOT a fan at all!).  I do live about 45 minutes north of Ann Arbor, but that is really my only association with the school that resides there!

Anything I missed that you want folks to know?

I want all at HGR to know that I certainly appreciate all that they do to make HGR a success.  I am not at HGR’s Euclid office often, but, rest assured, I hear about and take notice of the great things they do to make HGR a success.

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Jason Olariu

When did you start with HGR, and why?

April 2018. I’ve known Rick Affrica, HGR’s chief purchasing officer, for a number of years and have done business with HGR during that time. I’ve always admired the company from the first time I learned the process, and I jumped at the opportunity to join the team.

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

I don’t really have a territory since my focus is to call on corporate-level contacts at multi-site companies throughout North America. I manage our efforts in supporting the resale needs of our large corporate customers, which can be summed up daily as “shaking hands and kissing babies.”

What do you like most about your job?

I love meeting new people and developing relationships. The broad reach of my role allows for me to create new connections on an almost daily basis, which is a huge motivator for me, both personally and professionally.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Coming from an automotive-manufacturing-focused sales background, I find “turning it off” after hours a challenge. Supporting the Big Three to avoid downtime for the better part of a decade has left me feeling the need to keep my phone near at all times, including at night, during family time – even on vacation!

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

Meeting the other buyers for the first time– quite a group of characters, and all good guys. Put them all in one house and give them a reality TV show.

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

Spending time with my family is my true joy – and thankfully, we all enjoy a lot of the same things. Other things that bring me joy are reading (science fiction and old pulp detective novels), film, and spending hours flipping through albums in old, out-of-the-way record stores.

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

Without sounding cliché, my father, Paul, has been the greatest inspiration in my life. He taught me that life is about the endless pursuit of knowledge, that you should never let those in your life feel as though they are not the most important person in the world to you, and that it’s okay to laugh at yourself. From as far back as I can remember, he told me he hoped that I grew up to be a better man than he was, though I doubt I will ever be.

Anything I missed that you want folks to know?

Getting to know the great team and strong culture within HGR reinforces my feeling that I’m where I need to be, and I’m proud to be part of it!

Get to Know HGR’s Obed Montejano

HGR's Obed Montejano

What is your job title?

I am a marketing administrator.

What are your job responsibilities on a day-to-day basis?

I make outbound calls to companies and try to get them to sell us their unused surplus items. I enter all the information I gather into our database, and when companies inform me that they want to sell their items I send it to the buyers.

What qualifications are needed to succeed in your role?

Be patient, a good listener, and keep HGR’s values in mind, of course.

What background or prior work experiences do you bring to the table?

Customer care. Prior to working here I worked for an electricity company in Houston, Texas. I dealt with all kinds of customers. Some were easier to deal with, and some were more difficult. It definitely helps when speaking with vendors.

How long have you been with HGR, and why?

Since August 1, 2016, so two years and a month. I really like working here. The environment is very peaceful, and everyone helps each other.

What amazing things are you doing in your personal life?

Currently, I’m trying to stay fit, go back to school soon and improve my credit so I can have a better future.

What can you tell us about your family?

They currently all live in Houston. Mom, dad, and two little brothers that aren’t so little anymore. They are the most supportive people I’ve ever known.

What is the most important thing in the world to you/what matters most?

My family and friends.

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Blake Hughes

HGR Industrial Surplus Buyer Blake Hughes with wife, daughter and dog
HGR Industrial Surplus Buyer Blake Hughes with wife, Kendra, daughter, Lennon, and dog, Ernie Banks

When did you start with HGR and why?

I started April 2016. Previously, I had worked in sales for AT&T and two steel companies. When I spoke with HGR’s human resources manager and learned more about the opportunity with HGR it seemed like a great fit.

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

My territory is Eastern Iowa, most of Illinois, and Northwestern Indiana. On a daily basis I travel to different manufacturing facilities to view and inspect their surplus machinery. In between visits I follow up with customers on offers we’ve made and attempt to close deals and buy the equipment.

What do you like most about your job?

Travelling and visiting different manufacturing plants. I’ve always had an interest in manufacturing and seeing how things are made. I like being on the road and meeting new people.

What’s your greatest challenge?

I’m still relatively new to the machinery industry; so, my biggest challenge so far has been learning all the different types of machinery and equipment that HGR purchases.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

Walking through HGR for the first time. It is hard to believe just how much equipment is going in and out of the facility on a daily basis. I tell customers all the time that if they get the chance they should take a trip to HGR. It’s a great place.

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

Hanging out with friends and family, traveling, golfing. My #1 hobby is watching the Chicago Cubs (sorry Indians fans).

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

My dad and my grandpa. Both have taught me through example how important it is to work hard and do things the right way. Being considerate and listening to your customers goes a long way in building relationships.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I’ve only been with HGR for just over two years but I have loved every moment of it. It’s a very good feeling to know the owners and employees all care about making the company improve on a daily basis. I look forward to continuing my career and being with HGR for a long time.

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.