Tag Archives: SMW featured employee

  • Sean Borchert: Software and SAG Card Lead to a Wild Ride

    Sean_Borchet_DSC_3572 copyIf Sean Borchert, the latest addition to our engineering staff, looks familiar, it might be that you’ve seen him in the movies. No, not at the local AMC theater, but up on the big screen. In an earlier life, he appeared with A-listers such as Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta, Gene Hackman and Rene Russo. His movie credits include Heartbreakers, Big Trouble, The Librarians and Loving the Bad Man.

    He got involved in acting after being approached by producers while bartending in Miami. It seems he was a dead ringer for the leading man in a production being filmed nearby. It wasn’t long before he was dodging (fake) bullets and other stunts. The resemblance was so close that it’s actually Sean in some of the publicity stills, standing in while the actor was off on location. He continued working as a stunt man and soon took on acting rolls. He earned his Screen Actors Guild card, which probably makes him one of few people in the world with a SAG card and a degree in mechanical engineering.

    Heartbreakers_edited2An Engineer at Heart
    Sean has always been fascinated by engineering. In grade school, while other kids were drawing ducks and horses, he was designing racecars and rockets. This interest continued into his acting days. When not on camera, Sean was busy building websites and doing freelance projects using SOLIDWORKS software.

    He had started working with SOLIDWORKS, a 3D CAD and CAE computer program, in 2006. SOLIDWORKS appealed to him since it allowed him to be artistic and precise, appeasing his perfectionist side. His familiarity of programming allowed him to unlock SOLIDWORKS’ potential with behind-the-scenes coding. This came in handy between acting gigs. “I could get by on four hours sleep in those days,” he quipped.

    Full Time – and More
    When tax incentives drew film productions from Florida to other states, Sean decided that an engineering career would be a bit more secure. He moved back to the Chicago area and started work as a lead designer for a semiconductor company in 2012. While there, he designed semiconductor components that are still considered cutting edge today. The company was impressed enough to encourage him to go back to school and get his bachelor’s degree.

    A six-month contract with a Fortune 100 company followed, but Sean hated being a cog in an impersonal corporation. He took the opportunity to work for a small family-owned engineering and design firm. “They had a wonderful sense of hustle as they turned out great work in short time frames on limited budgets,” he said. “I loved the atmosphere.” He worked there full time for two years while continuing his education on a part time basis. He earned his degree in 2017 from Northern Illinois University.

    The Right Mix
    With his diploma in hand, Sean went looking for a challenging high tech opportunity within a family-like setting that he had come to enjoy, and soon joined our engineering team at SMW Autoblok. After just three weeks, Sean already began programming our internal SOLIDWORKS software to automate drawings and save hours of engineering time.

    “The company needs to continually develop high tech design techniques to stay competitive into the future,” he said. “I think our Engineering Department is well positioned to make sure that happens.”

    Taking a Breather
    After his eccentric lifestyle in Florida and four years of hard work and school for 80 hours a week, Sean’s next project is finding a more balanced life style. For now, he is content to enjoy his new job, watch the Syfy Channel and monitor the progress of private aerospace companies as they take their first steps into interplanetary travel.

  • Larry Robbins: A Salesman to the Core

    Larry RobbinsLarry Robbins, our Vice President of Sales, wouldn’t change a thing about his job or the path that brought him here. He’s been in sales for 30 years out of a 37-year career, all of which has been in manufacturing. His dad opened a machine tool distributorship after World War II, and when he was old enough (or maybe even a bit before), Larry used to hang around, fiddle with the machines and ask a lot of questions. This was back when state-of-the-art machine tools were NC (numeric control), programmed by a series of switches and punched-paper tape. Larry tried his hand at it and was hooked.

    Following His Heart
    After high school, Larry went to school to study Criminal Justice, but decided he’d rather talk shop than arrest bad guys. A self-proclaimed bleeding heart, he knew he was too apt to give people second and third chances. He worked with his dad for a while then accepted a position as sales rep for a modular workholding company. He soon discovered that his personality perfectly suited him for this line of work. When the company was sold, he started his own business as a manufacturer's rep (for SMW Autoblok among others). His new enterprise also created customized tooling. Success came quickly and the organization grew to the point where it employed 19 people. When Larry realized that he had done such a good job in hiring top talent that the company literally ran itself, he sold it and looked for a new challenge.

    Finding a Home
    He accepted a position as VP of Sales for an international cutting tool company and spent two and a half years constantly traveling around the world. He moved around the country 19 times as his base of operations changed, but the traveling soon grew old. In May of 2007, he joined SMW Autoblok as a Regional Sales Manager. It didn’t take long for him to work his way up to Vice President of Sales in 2010. In this role, he is responsible for our sales strategy and the people who make it happen. This includes hiring sales managers, training them for the long run and making sure they are placed in positions that best fit their talents.

    Honesty SellsIMG_2565 2
    Larry’s philosophy of sales success is to always be honest, even if it means talking about what the competition can do. He knows our product will come out on top, more often than not. “Anyone can sell a product to someone once,” he remarked. “But it takes a special salesman to create a relationship and sell to them year after year.” This talent enabled Larry to take one customer who had had a bad experience, win them over, and turn them into an $8 million account within 5 years.

    Free Time
    Larry admits to being a Yankee fan at heart, but he has moved so often he usually adopts the local team. He used to work on hot rods and his motorcycle, but finds at this point in his life he’d rather just buy what wants rather than work on something. On weekends, you can find him riding his fully purchased bike and enjoying the sights.

    What does Larry really like to do when he’s not on the clock? He talks to his friends about machining and workholding! “I can’t help it,” he said. “Everyone I know is in the business and that’s what we like to talk about.” He has been best friends with some of our customers for over 35 years, so it’s no wonder he says his career is his passion.

    The simple fact is Larry loves to sell. Even if you have a casual discussion with him, he will have his facts and figures lined up. He loves to research and pick up knowledge he can use in the future. He believes there is no such thing as a stupid question, but he does say that the question you don’t ask can keep you in the dark. “There's nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know about something,” he said. “You just need to know who to ask.” It seems like a safe bet that to find the answers, you should start with Larry.

  • David McPeters: Bringing a Wealth of Experience to Our Sales Team

    ProfessionalDavid McPeters has recently joined SMW Autoblok as Regional Sales Manager for Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. He brings 37 years of manufacturing experience to his new position. That includes stints in quality control, product engineering and service. For the past 21 years, he worked as Manufacturing Engineer, supporting a machine shop with tooling, programming, ergonomics, safety, machine purchases, etc. This broad-based background gives him outstanding insights into what our customers need to turn out quality products.

    Speaking of quality, David was highly impressed with SMW Autoblok products after talking with Regional Sales Manager Calvin Macomber and local distributors. When he heard of the open sales position here, he jumped at the chance to see how life would be like on the other side of the business.

    Walking the Walk
    His background makes him uniquely qualified to meet the objectives for his new role in consulting and finding solutions for his new customer base. For example, his previous company was using an old broaching machine that took two operators two hours to set up. The set up involved standing on a step stool and reaching into the working mechanism, which consisted of a 3-foot long bar with three naked blades on each side! David researched and purchased two new VCMs to replace the old equipment. The operation now is common tooling with easy setup – just change the program out. Set up has been reduced to ten minutes and a severe safety situation has been avoided. Oh, by the way, the cost savings was a whopping $650,000 plus!

    DisneyA Great Start
    This kind of hands on knowledge, along with his easy-going nature, is sure to make David popular with the customers in his region. He credits the SMW Autoblok sales team with providing him with the tools and support he needed to get started. “Everyone here has gone above and beyond to make me feel at home,” he remarked. He appreciates the open door policy that enabled him to get answers to his questions in a timely manner. Another pleasant surprise was to find out just how much fun these guys can be. “They laugh a lot,” he said. “About the only things they take seriously are our customers and the product line.”

    Free Time Activities
    David has been a gym rat most of his life. Weight training keeps him in top shape, helps him maintain his health and is a great stress reducer.

    Another important part of David’s life is his involvement with Gideons International. While you may know them from the Bible in your hotel room, the organization provides New Testaments to schools, nursing homes, prisons, hospitals and military bases, among other locations. In fact, in 2017, they presented over 80 million Bibles to various sites. David travels to churches, spreading the Word and educating them about the group’s goals and accomplishments.

  • Meet Mark Yeaton: Serving Our Customers in the Great Northeast

    IMG_0034Mark Yeaton is the latest addition to our team of Regional Sales Managers, serving customers in New England and eastern Canada. While thinking of himself as just an average sales guy, he is actually a very experienced professional with a background in both machining hardware and software. He spent 10 years selling CNC machinery, mainly for architectural products, and prior to that sold engineering software.

    Mark also holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire in Durham. This academic background provides him with a thorough understanding of the complete design process. This gives him the ability to understand what customers are trying to accomplish and how to help them achieve it.

    Getting Started
    The CNC companies he worked for had plants in Germany and Italy, so Mark felt right at home with our global heritage. Having joined us just recently, he spent a week in our headquarters getting the sales picture and then learning the products with a week in the shop. He is already on the road, helping customers with their workholding challenges, introducing them to new products.

    An Historical Territory
    For those of you not up on your geography, Mark’s New England territory is a region comprised of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

    Mark knows the area well, since he hails from Westford, MA, located near where the American Revolution began in Lexington and Concord. A bell and weathervane made by Paul Revere grace two of the town’s buildings.

    MarkYeatonProjectsAfter Work Activities
    When not introducing himself and our products to customers, Mark can often be found in his own basement shop, where he designs, engineers and crafts wood-working projects such as cabinets and a fireplace mantel for his house.

    In the warm months, he can be found in his vegetable garden, which he has also engineered for minimum maintenance. The object is not so much the gardening itself as it is to have a fresh supply of tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers and squash for his kitchen. The vegetables supply the side dishes for the meats Mark enjoys cooking on his grill.

    Mark and his wife’s favorite get-a-way spot is Key West, where they try to escape to every year.

  • Scott Lueder: Industry MVP

    image001Scott Lueder is an OEM Sales Engineer for SMW Autoblok, and he’s gathered a range of experience in the workholding and aerospace industries. With 12 years under his belt in workholding and 10+ years in aviation sales, his knowledge gives him a unique perspective in his role.

    Go With What You Know

    Scott has a background in Criminal Justice, but decided to pursue a more industrial career after he started selling aircraft parts during college. He kept that gig for 13 years, and then left to seek another, more secure job opportunity. He landed a job at a different workholding firm before settling into his position with us in 2012.

    Scott enjoys the flexibility of his job in the different projects he undertakes, He’s a quick learner, and he loves the fact that he gets to learn new things on the job every day. Right now, Scott is working on a specialized, menu-based industry tool that will allow customers to custom-select product kits to fit their specific machine needs. While this is a challenging task, the kit options are endless; he is thrilled to find a way to make the live of our customers easier.

    IMG_1057Family and Fast-Pitch

    In his free time, Scott loves to spend time with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all softball fanatics, and Scott has been coaching his daughters’ various teams for 13 years and counting. Scott is currently the third base coach for his daughters’ recreational league, helping the players with valuable mechanical training for pitching, swinging and catching. The program is a bridged program to enhance girls’ skills as they prepare for high school or college softball. Seeing his players improve and advance in the sport and in life is his favorite part of the job, not to mention that he has coached both of his daughters in the sport, making his hobby a true family affair.

    One piece of wisdom Scott gives to his players is, “Never apologize for making a mistake. You are supposed to make mistakes to become better players and better adults.” This piece of advice carries, and Scott follows this concept in his own life, not letting mistakes get him down but learning and growing from them.

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