What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Sales Department

HGR Industrial Surplus Sales Department

(Courtesy of Jon Frischkorn, HGR’s sales manager)

What does your department do?

HGR’s Sales Department is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service with every interaction. We work to build relationships with our customers, in some cases, for the past 19 years. We want HGR to be the first stop each customer makes to fulfil his or her industrial surplus needs.

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

Our Sales Department consists of nine sales representatives, two sales assistants, a sales expediter, sales manager and, frankly, the entire HGR staff. All of our actions help sell our products and services that we offer.

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

A positive attitude, a desire to help our customers, and the willingness to be flexible.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team here and enjoy helping to fulfill our commitments to our customers, each other, and our community. We enjoy what we do and try to have fun in the process.

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

We are problem solvers and have countless challenges daily that we work to overcome in order to help satisfy our customers’ needs. These can be as simple as locating an item in our 12-acre showroom, finding specifications on a product, or even overcoming shipping obstacles.

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

While much of the sales role hasn’t changed, we are constantly striving to improve and be more efficient at servicing our customers.

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

HGR is always improving its staff. Something as small as an internal procedural changes or on-the-job product training happen routinely. We also do offsite training and offer continuous education courses at Kent State University.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The overall environment at HGR is often described as a handyman’s toy store. We are within a building originally built in 1943 to produce aircraft parts during World War II, then housed GM’s Fisher Auto Body Plant. The building itself is amazing. The wooden beams, brick, and numbered aisleways create a unique backdrop that is perfect for 12 acres filled with industrial surplus. See this story for more on the history of our site.

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

HGR is the heart of the “rust belt” and is a major player in the re-use of used industrial equipment. We help continue the life of machines that otherwise could be scrapped and lost. It isn’t uncommon for us to see items we’ve bought and resold a couple times. As companies needs change, we are always here to purchase machinery so it can be reused by someone else.

Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society donation for convention luncheon

HGR donation to Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society for annual convention luncheon
Chuck Klein, NKPHTS convention chairman, with Matt Williams, HGR’s chief marketing officer

On Sept. 28 – 30, The Nickel Plate Road Historical and Technical Society (NKPHTS) is hosting its annual convention in Cleveland, one of the stops on the Nickel Plate Road railroad, which connected New York, Chicago and St. Louis. If you missed it, you can learn more about the society in this 2015 HGR blog. HGR’s current facility was one of the Cleveland stops on the line where GM’s Fisher Auto Body Plant used the railroad to transport automobile bodies to Detroit. You can read about the history of the site on this past blog.

So, why are we talking about an event that doesn’t take place until September? Well, because pulling off a convention takes planning, and Chuck Klein, NKPHTS’ convention chairman, is running the show. On March 7, he visited HGR’s showroom in Euclid to pick up his “check” for $1,000, donated by HGR. Matt Williams, HGR’s chief marketing officer, is a member of NKPHTS. And, HGR cares about preserving the heritage of its site, which was an important part of the war effort and industrialization in Cleveland.

Williams joined the society because his grandfather worked in Nickel Plate’s Canton, Ohio, railyard, and his father, an electrical engineer, was The Orville Railroad Heritage Society’s president. While Klein, a retired optician, is a model railroad enthusiast and a committee member for the National Model Railroad Association, which is how he came by the job of convention chairman.

Klein says, “We almost didn’t do the luncheon because it wasn’t financially feasible, but with the donation from HGR to cover the room rental, we were able to pull it off.” And, pull it off in style they will do. The society is shuttling convention attendees from The Holiday Inn South Cleveland — Independence to The Terminal Tower with a special stop along the way. A visit to the tower’s observation deck also is planned. The topic of the luncheon presentation will be “From Chicago World’s Fair to Cleveland’s Public Square: the Story of the Terminal Tower.”

For lovers of Cleveland history, especially of Public Square, Klein provides a wealth of information. I learned more in an hour with him about the history of the buildings on Public Square and the Van Sweringen brothers who built them than I’ve learned in my (ahem) undisclosed number of years on this planet where I’ve lived in Cleveland since birth. He recommended the book Invisible Giants: The Empires of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers by Herbert H. Harwood Jr. It’s now on my Goodreads list!

If you are interested in joining the society or attending the convention, you can get more information on the society’s website. We’ll be at the luncheon looking for you!