Exhibitor Interview: Rick Seely, Executive Vice President, ESCO Sales

headshotRick Seely, Executive Vice President of ESCO Sales has over thirty years of experience in sales management and marketing, as well as, building new client base and expanding markets. Rick has travelled throughout the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria and England, working with manufacturers to develop improved methods and processes for world-class competition.

ESCO have big plans for this year's show, with the Foam Expo team already having seen the machinery they will be bringing along with them in a recent trip to Michigan. In this tell-all interview, Executive Vice President, Rick outlines their increased opportunities in automated cells, as well as his predictions for future foam management systems!

Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?

Executive Vice President Sales and customer relations.   Responsible for creating and maintaining new business.  To work closely without client base to understand their objectives and to partner with their manufacturing and engineering departments to achieve short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals.


What inspired you to join/start this company?

When I joined ESCO sixteen years ago, it was 121 years after Frank Edge had fabricated his first jigsaw blade and 18 years after Edge Saw became the Edge-Sweets company.  My inspiration was driven by the idea that ESCO was on the verge of introducing a whole new set of technologies to an industry that was begging for a better way to do things.  Our clients were faced with global competition and an absolute need to step up their game so they could become a sustainable resource for their customers and their employees.  I wanted to be a part of that and to become enmeshed in an industry that is very people driven.


What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors? 

Our company, for the most part, is a team of entrepreneurial individuals working toward a common goal of never settling for second best. Being the best in any market is a moving target and you’re either getting better or you’re going downhill, no way to survive if you’re not improving the overall performance of the organization.   There was a time (not that long ago) when all our machines were run with solid-state controls.   Now we are driving our products with the PLCs, and PCs with the latest in software and offering customer driven programs to automate manufacturing and reduce touch points.  With unemployment at an all time low it’s difficult to find employees so we engineer solutions for manufacturers to grow their business by using their existing number of employees and improving profit per capita.


What are the key opportunities and challenges your company faces at present?

The key opportunities are the ever-increasing demand for automated cells.  Our customers have a client base with lead-times that are getting shorter and shorter as they implement Lean Manufacturing principles to reduce waste, and over stocking with tighter controls on quality assurance.  We build systems that allow our customers to feed that JIT requirement for their clients and utilize minimal floor-space.   The survivability of our customers is based on their ability to compete in a global market and to have technical support that is responsive and timely.   Also, we meet a critical need to have spare parts availability for our customer base to maintain up-time and keep on schedule.

Our biggest challenge has been keeping up with an increased demand for high-end CNC machines that is driving the market for foam fabricators all over North and South America.  Fortunately, we have adopted a policy of building multiple stock machines to keep up with the increased demand.


Are there any new technology developments that you are working on at the moment? Can you tell us about them?

There are always new technologies in the works.  Currently we are working with many of our clients on management systems with web-based access to simplify and automate product flow. We are also going to be introducing some new technologies this year that will greatly benefit the mattress manufacturer and fibre cutters.


What would you say most excites you about your role?

What excites me most about my role, is being on the frontline with out clients.  I have the advantage of meeting with customers at critical moments when future planning is taking place and to help shape their future by building a partnership between their company and ours.


How do you think the industry will develop within the next 5 years? Can you tell us about the key trends emerging?

I think the next five years is going to see greater developments in overall management systems.  Foam fabricators in the twenty-first century are setting a new pace for quality, and performance through better management systems that allows them to better serve the end user.  We live in an economy of immediacy where the suppliers that can manage JIT production without sacrificing quality and still maintain margins will come out a winner.


What do you hope to achieve at the show next year, and what connections do you hope to make?

What we hope to achieve at the next Foam Expo is another great opportunity to demonstrate that as a US manufacture, we are producing world-class products that are simple to manage and offer dependability and sustainability in a market where supplier relationships are critical.

Edge Sweets Company will be exhibiting at Foam Expo North America 2020 in Booth 2006.