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.

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