Breaking into the World of Manufacturing

As BIG KAISER celebrates 30 years, Tim Grosch, operations & purchasing manager, reflects on getting his start in manufacturing.

Back in 1990, I was a college graduate looking to get into the manufacturing world in some capacity. I worked for my father’s machine shop during high school and college and found the industry quite interesting.

I found an ad in the local paper for an Inside Sales Rep for a tooling company in Elk Grove Village, IL [BIG KAISER’s original U.S. headquarters]. I sent off my resume and soon found myself sitting in front of five people for an interview. Long story short, I was hired in July and started just before the company officially opened its doors in August.

Being quite new to this side of the industry, I was very fortunate that Jack Burley took me under his wing. He taught me how the Kaiser part number system worked and then let me work on setting up the part numbers in our system. He continued to help me work on my sales technique so that I wasn’t just entering orders, but also trying to help customers truly find the tooling solutions they needed.

We then moved on to inventory organization and spent many evenings—after a long day of office work—in the warehouse checking in crates of inventory from Switzerland and placing it on shelves or in drawers.

After several years and some additional college courses, I moved to the purchasing side of the business while managing the inside sales staff. Several years later I moved to the operations side with oversight of purchasing, inventory and the warehouse staff.

I look back at that wide-eyed kid straight out of college and cannot be more grateful to Chris and Jack for all of the help and support they have given me over the years. I have met some wonderful people along this journey – coworkers, sales reps and distribution partners. I’m looking forward to our 30th anniversary celebration to catch up with some of these great people I met along the way.