Party Like It’s 1999

I've been with this company since the last millennium. We’ve grown out of one building, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us add to our current facility someday.  

Four of my former co-workers (three engineers and one machinist) are now sales reps with BIG KAISER, and two former sales reps are now direct salesmen with us. The roles change, but retention is the mark of a good company, and we have a solid base of experience inside our building and out in the field.

As an applications engineer and product manager, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of travel domestically and abroad and meet tons of great people while promoting BIG KAISER through the years. As much as it helps when we get opportunities to test and “let the tools sell themselves,” it’s usually from the efforts of a person in the field who’s passionate about our tools and wants to help customers realize what we can offer them.

After all this time, I still enjoy reviewing part prints and have had the chance to design some pretty interesting tools to meet the needs of customers. It’s humbling to know that as my plane takes off for a new destination, or touches down to return home, it’s likely doing so on landing gear made by tools that I’ve helped design.

My very first trip overseas to see the factory in Switzerland was a memorable one. After the visit to BKCH (Heinz Kaiser AG at the time), Chris, Jack and I boarded a train for Hannover, Germany, to attend EMO, the European equivalent of IMTS. The date was September 11, 2001. During the several hour trip, we heard rumors of an attack on American soil, and struggled to get more details in the age before Internet news.

When we arrived in Hannover, we stayed up all night huddled around a television watching coverage of the events back home.

The show was impressive, but there was definitely an eerie feeling to it, especially as we spoke to several other exhibitors and vendors who were from the States as well.

There was a lot of uncertainty whether we would be delayed coming home, but it was nothing that a few steins at the Hofbräu Hannover couldn’t remedy. Fortunately, my flight went as originally scheduled, and there was a huge round of applause as we touched down at O’Hare.