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 Ryan Usher

HGR Industrial Surplus Buyer Ryan Usher on inspection

(Q&A with one of HGR’s buyers, Ryan Usher)

When did you start with HGR, and why?        

I started in 2010 as a salesperson. It was my first job out of college.

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

My territory is Michigan, Northwest Ohio, and Northeast Indiana.  I visit companies in this area daily looking for equipment to buy. Most of my time is spent with companies here in Michigan where I live.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy being able to see how things are made — everything from cars to foods. There’s always something interesting waiting for me each day.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Staying on top of a busy monthly schedule

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

I would say working a booth for HGR at a local industrial art show in Lakewood, Ohio.

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

I like to play golf, go mountain biking and hang out on the lake.

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

My father. He worked hard to make a good life and always has great advice right when it was needed.

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Brad Coates

HGR buyer Brad Coates
Serious Brad

When did you start with HGR and why?

My start date was October 2013.  After several conversations with Brian Krueger, CEO, I felt HGR had a vision for the future and growth. I wanted to be a part of that.  It was exciting to go into a territory that HGR hadn’t touched and make it my own.  When I got the call from him, I was on my first day as a sales rep with Sysco.  I told the guy I was in the car riding with what HGR does and offered me; he asked if we needed another buyer.

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

I cover Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.  Mondays are my office day where I’m scheduling, following up on offers and getting ready for the week ahead.  Tuesday through Friday, I’m on the road looking at deals.  After a long day on the road, I work out, grab dinner then come a few hours on the computer.

What do you like most about your job?

I love everything about being a buyer.  I wake up every morning excited to see what the day is going to bring, what I’ll look at, people I’ll meet and hopefully the stuff I get to buy. I look forward to a long career with HGR.  Many of my personal friends are my customers. I’ve attended weddings, retirement parties, motorcycle rides, etc., plus the HGR departmental buyers’ meetings are pretty awesome.

What’s your greatest challenge?

The biggest challenge in my territory is the shipping cost.  Unfortunately, we have to walk away from several deals because it just doesn’t make sense to purchase and ship the surplus.  Obviously, other challenges present themselves with being on the road along with the home/work-life balance.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

Actually, walking into HGR for the first time!! We all have our road stories, but walking into a freezing cold, dark, dirty warehouse and thinking to myself “what in the hell did I get myself in to.”  I look back at that moment and feel very proud of our team of great people who have contributed to the growth of HGR and at how far we have come.

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

For 20+ years, I was a men’s college basketball official. After I retired, I needed something to fill that void.  So, now, I enjoy coaching my kids’ sports and being Dad.  Beyond that, playing guitar and getting my Harley (Merle Haggard) out on the open road with friends. I also have my own DJ company, which specializes in weddings, pool parties etc.

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

My grandfather, Cecil Bradley, was and is my greatest influence.  He always treated people, and ALL people, with respect and dignity.  He never met a stranger, and he taught me at a young age how to be a man.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I’ve never worked for a group of owners who put their employees before themselves.  Let’s all keep working together as a team to communicate, help one another, improve processes, and better ourselves to better the company that takes care of us.

HGR buyer Brad Coates
Silly “Batman” Brad

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.