Become a Fierce Manufacturing Networker

In this Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Valerie Weber. Valerie is the Marketing Manager/ Pricing Specialist at Monofrax. She has held several roles in the same company before this as well.  Valerie is a self-confessed introvert and fierce manufacturing networker.  This networking allows her to be a leader in her industry.

If you want to become a fierce manufacturing networker, you have to focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t. For this episode, our guest had some special tips and tricks before going into the New Year.

In this Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Valerie Weber. Valerie is the Marketing Manager/ Pricing Specialist at Monofrax. She has held several roles in the same company before this as well.  Valerie is a self-confessed introvert and fierce manufacturing networker.  This networking allows her to be a leader in her industry.

The conversation of the episode started with Curt introducing Valerie. After this, he asked her about how she got into this field of manufacturing. Answering this, Valerie said that she accidentally got into this field.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

According to her, after graduating, there was a time she was unemployed for a year. This is when she was searching for various roles and she stumbled upon this line of work. She said that initially, she joined just for 6 months until she finds another role.

However, 30 years down and she was still a part of this company. Moreover, she said that here she started as a quotation clerk. After this, she observed the role of pricing coordinator, and then she soon became the data entry specialist.

Further into the conversation, Curt asked Valerie about her company’s CEO that saved up to 100 jobs a few years back. Responding to this, she said that she has seen five owners of the company in the time that she has been here.

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Moving on, Curt asked Valerie about how she shifted from an introvert to become a fierce manufacturing networker. Responding to this, Valerie said that chat boxes are her favorite here. She said that as on LinkedIn, you can easily put your information in the chatbox and people will contact you if they want to.

According to Valerie, this is the easiest way to do so. Moving on, Curt asked Valerie to share her experience on how to talk to people via LinkedIn and how to get to know others. He also mentioned Dan Bigger as an example of this.

To this, Valerie said that for this, all you have to ask Dan Bigger on LinkedIn about his MFG hour and how to join that chat. Moreover, she said that in this situation, a person like Dan will walk you through the entire process and actually guide you.

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Therefore, this is how you can network all the while being an introvert as well. This is how according to Valerie you can become a fierce manufacturing networker.

The conversation ended with Damon and Curt thanking Valerie for her time.

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people, val, dan, manufacturing, glass, damon, year, big, introvert, kurt, linkedin, today, twitter, furnaces, bit, chat, connect, company, talk, posts


Damon Pistulka, Valerie Weber, Dan Bigger, Nigel T. Packer, Kris Harrington, Curt Anderson


Damon Pistulka  00:00

good burger. I gotta I gotta click it so she can be on stages for some reasons not want us to do that, but now it is. So now value you should be able to get up there. Alright, awesome. There


Curt Anderson  00:10

she is. Okay,


Damon Pistulka  00:12

well, let’s get live on LinkedIn here and let’s get ready to go. You know, Dan, Dan, he says hop in here. So yeah,


Curt Anderson  00:19

right on time on, you know, we may have a couple of shout outs for Dan. We were just talking about Dan earlier today, weren’t we, David? Yeah. Yeah, we are. And we’ve got Nigel. So Nigel. Our man across the pond is with us today. So, Nigel?


Damon Pistulka  00:34

Yep, here we go. We’re going live on the different places we go live. All right, we are live. Welcome, everyone once again, to the manufacturing ecommerce success series. Glad to have you here today. We’re live on LinkedIn. We’re live on Twitter. We’re here on Remo. So happy that you’re joining us here today. I’m Damon Pistulka. One of your hosts and my brother from another mother. On the other side of the country. Kurt Anderson.


Curt Anderson  01:11

Take it over Kurt. A demon. Thank you, brother. So guys, happy Happy Friday. What? 2021 Where did you go man? Like did you guys just blink? And I didn’t we just get this whole party started like yesterday. How on earth hour ago? Like it’s it’s insane, isn’t it? I just that’s at least how I feel. So guys, we made it. We survived another year of this little pandemic thing. 2021 is winding downward two weeks from the end. Can’t believe it. Daymond This is our last show for the year. So what you know, we saved the best for last. So guys, big introduction. Big round of applause big warm welcome to our dear friend veil wider veil Happy Friday to you my friend.


Valerie Weber  01:57

I feel especially privileged now knowing on the last guest of the year of 2021


Curt Anderson  02:02

this this wonderful magical year of 21 What a Nigel gives a clap. So, guys, this is such an honor for me. So actually, Val and I were like we’re literally neighbors, we’re right down nice. Other and so fail. Tell us a little bit. So you’re the marketing manager of mine of fracks. Okay, so tonight, we have so much impact today. We’re gonna we’re here to talk about the introvert in you and just being that fierce marketer. Let’s take a little step back in time. Okay. You, you know for Donia University for Donya grad here in what in Western New York. Manufacturing How did manufacturing come on your radar? What drove you to a career in manufacturing?


Valerie Weber  02:46

Um, probably the same way I became a Marketing Marketing Manager accidentally. I worked for nonprofits for a few years, then I was out of work for a year Oh, no. was making you know, applications everywhere. And job here came up. And I was like, Okay, well, I’ll try for it. If I get it, I’ll stay six months while I’m still making applications other places many years later. But 30 years, sort of fell in love with manufacturing.


Curt Anderson  03:21

Well, when you start when you start when you’re in grade school, right, so 30 years, you know, just just goes by, and that’s the thing. So guys, you have to connect with Val, she is absolutely awesome. Just a breath of fresh air. You and I actually met what back man and then the prehistoric times when we actually could meet in person you guys I don’t know if you guys remember like once, once upon a time, we actually could meet in person and life was like a little bit more free. But you and I met at this fun little conference.

It was put on by our dear friends and industrial marketers protocol ad and you it was an all day event and you and I sat right next to each other and that was the first time I had the honor and privilege of meeting you. And so as you guys know I’m a terrible introvert very quiet, Damon you know that?

Yeah, very reserved. Yeah. So here’s poor Vale sit next to like, you know, crazy Kurt, but we had a great time at that event, developed our friendship. So, Phil, talk a little bit about, you know, from a marketing standpoint in manufacturing, what are you seeing what are training over 30 years? What are some of the transitions that you’ve seen? And then we’re going to get caught on to like what you’re working on today?


Valerie Weber  04:25

Oh, well, I started out as the quotation clerk. Then I absorbed the job of the secretary to the sales manager. Then I observed the job of the order clerk clerk, then I absorbed the job of the pricing specialist. And then I became sort of the customer service coordinator. And then we had another buyer and I became basically a person that did data entry and proofing, which was sort of like death by 1000 paper cuts. He got purchased again.

And the general manager came to me a few months later and said, Well, I’ve seen I’ve written some things in the past, you helped us work on the website, even though at the time I was clueless. And he said, Well, how would you feel about doing a little more writing? Like both? Yeah, cuz I’ve been dying here doing nothing but proofing and data entry. So sure, I didn’t think it was gonna be much. And the next thing I knew he was introducing me to the new owners as the marketing manager. One of those Macaulay Culkin moments where it was like, I got myself into


Damon Pistulka  05:33

Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome.


Valerie Weber  05:36

And next thing I know, I’m starting to write for LinkedIn. And then we get control of the LinkedIn for the business and I’m starting to post for the business. Then I’m on Twitter, then I’m on Facebook. Now. We just started Instagram. I’m writing articles for publications in our industry. We’re doing videos, we’re talking about doing a podcast. It things just sort of exploded. Right.


Curt Anderson  06:05

And we’ll dig into this a little bit. Our dear friends from Gen Alpha. Our lovely Chris Harrington and Kevin are with us today. And we’re actually having an E commerce conversations that might have fracks as well. John and jersey, happy Friday, my friend. So let’s do this Val, share with everybody. So a couple of things about guys ama sure about Val. So chief storyteller, fuse cast, affection idle, the customer, evangelists and lifelong learner and boy, you are the lifelong learner. I have to say like you attend webinars, I wear my manufacturing Trailblazer shirt just for you.

Yeah. Yeah. There you go. Look at that just for our dear friend Allison to four. So that is awesome. So let’s talk about this. What on earth is fuse cast refractory for anybody that doesn’t know what minor fracks does? Please enlighten us, guys. You’re walking away. You learn something new every day. Here you go, you’re gonna learn something new.


Valerie Weber  07:02

Use cast refractories are essentially artificial stone. Artificial, so we’re taking minerals and melting them down a temperature is hotter than lava and making incredibly dense stone that’s used to line glassmaking furnaces. It’s used for steelmaking for the production of light metals. Wow, whole nation. It’s used for the disposal of nuclear waste, to create glass and capsulated waste. So it’s got a lot of applications. And it’s really cool. We’re basically a ceramic foundry. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  07:39

it is cool. And I had the honor and privilege just a couple months ago, I had a tour of the full facility. And man, I’m telling you, this is such a cutting edge. It’s to me it was a cutting edge process.

But you’ve been doing it for centuries. And I just want to share them and we ran a call earlier and you’re talking about like so here in New York state your time on Washington, there’s like Eastern Washington, Western Washington, you have Seattle, more Metro, you know, and then eastern part is a little bit more rural, slower paced that in New York, same thing, so done in the city hustle bustle, Vale and iron upstate, it’s a totally different animal.

And up here, it’s all very industrial. You know, the old rust belt, if you will, a lot of old factories from World War Two, so on and so forth. In various company goes back. decades and centuries goes back decades long history in our community, great employer and a great a wonderful success story where this company almost left to go to another country.

And I want to talk about Val share a little bit. And you’ve been through this whole journey. You’ve mentioned I think about three or four different ownerships. I heard as you did your intro, right? From used to be called carb random, and then multiple different names for our own so and so forth. Several years ago, Bill Andrews, your president, CEO of the company today came in and these guys saved the company saved 100 100 100 Plus jobs for the area. Talk a little bit about that transition. And that you’re I mean, you’re a part of this whole exciting venture.


Valerie Weber  09:06

Oh, yeah. Actually, we’re on I think the fifth owner since I started here.


Curt Anderson  09:11

What’s your turn now when when’s it going to be veiled valves refractory.


Valerie Weber  09:19

We’ve been predominantly owned by refractory companies or companies that work in steel. And this last time. They’re an investment firm. So they added us to their portfolio. And Bill really made it his mission to make us really successful here because he, he feels a real obligation to the families of the people that work here. Right and in jobs in the area, which also helps support other small businesses in the area. Yeah, so part of what we do is we have a responsibility to our customers, our people that work here in our community


Curt Anderson  10:00

As apps man and big round of applause, that’s a great success story. I know, several years ago, I was on the local Chamber of Commerce, he won like, you know, Business of the Year, Man of the Year, whatever that award was. And so just a great and wonderful, inspiring, inspiring story.

Great success for you, your company, the community, all the above. I’m going to talk about let’s go back to this little tour that I talked, you know, that I took. And you mentioned how it’s hotter than lava. Damon, if you could see, like the process is, is just, it’s mind blowing of what they do on a daily basis. And they’ll talk about like your lead times. Like, I mean, it’s crazy, the process of I placed an order, like walk walk us through that real quick,


Valerie Weber  10:45

um, lead times can be anything from a couple of weeks for standard stock that we keep here. Or they can be up to if you want a full furnace. At this point, we’re up to like, 32 weeks. Wow.


Curt Anderson  10:59

Yeah, it is crazy,


Valerie Weber  11:00

because you’re waiting because of the orders in front of you, and then to wait for raw materials. And once we were the material, I mean, we have to make, we have to do the drawings, we have to make the molds, we have to pour the material into the molds, and then it has to sit and cool. Yeah.

And it sits in cools for maybe two to four weeks, right? Because otherwise it’s too hot to work with. And then after that, then there’s finishing, whether it’s sawn, whether there’s grinding, draw, and then we assemble it match market, the customers may come in for an inspection, then they inspect it all, then it all has to be packed up. And then it gets shipped out. So it’s a really long lead time in some cases.


Curt Anderson  11:47

Yeah. And what’s fascinating Daymond so I had privilege of I took a tour with an engineer. And he was, man, it was just so cool. And so fascinating to see how that process and I saw the finished goods, orders that were going out the door. And he talked about he would like the lead times have been even longer. But he’s like, I know sales and prep. You know, upper management doesn’t want that. But from an engineering standpoint, he was like I almost like to see a little slower, because it takes so long to cool it down.

Yeah, it’s that hot that it takes weeks to cool it down. And so, again, Chris and Kevin, Jennifer, you’re gonna absolutely love this. So you guys, you know, you’re talking about the taking on E commerce. We’re like, you know, is there an opportunity put some things in stock to help improve those lead times? So now you sold the same lead time, but now going with some standard products now you can get it out the door. What a great competitive advantage going in that direction.


Valerie Weber  12:40

Oh, yeah. And I think it’s really going to be interesting because we’re planning on having our normal standard stock, which everyone buys for repairs or whether they’re just have a small art glass furnace. We compared that some of the smaller glass furnaces we say are sort of the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Yeah. And some of the really large float glass furnaces are larger than a basketball court.


Curt Anderson  13:07

Wow. That is that is absolutely insane. So valid. So I want to talk about let’s go into our topic for today is you are the fierce networker converted from an introvert and I know there’s a lot of folks out there that are painful, extreme introverts in for them. This is painfully uncomfortable to get out of that zone, you know, and put yourself out there.

And earlier in the conversation you listed like, Hey, we’re doing Twitter, we’re doing Facebook, we’re doing LinkedIn. You’ve written some amazing articles for periodicals. I’ve read those articles, you’re crushing it there. Talk a little bit of any advice for somebody who’s maybe where you were a few years ago, just starting out. What advice do you have like how do you take that first step as an introvert to become a networker?


Valerie Weber  13:56

First step I would say is your computer’s your best friend. And because introverts as a whole, I mean, our favorite movie quote is, I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies, I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.


Curt Anderson  14:14

Good. Now, in Vail just been sort of sides, Sidestep here, how many? What’s your competition like here in the US?


Valerie Weber  14:22

We are the only manufacturer of us,


Curt Anderson  14:26

the only manufacturer does this in the United States that is so fascinating, and what a what a legacy to keep that process here. And you guys are working relentlessly to do so. So, okay, so again, so let’s get back on track as far as Okay, so taking that first step, your computer’s your best friend. What other pieces of advice do you have?


Valerie Weber  14:44

Actually, events like this are second best? Because that chat box. If all you have to do is put your LinkedIn information in the chat box. That’s it because other people will contact you and say, Hey, I’d like to connect. You don’t have to do anything else that makes it so ridiculously easy, right?

Yeah. Oh, LinkedIn, the chatbox. And events like this. And small events are best because I’ve been to some really big conferences and such for marketers. And yeah, there’s a chat box and people are talking, but it’s like trying to enter your senior year of high school is the new kid. And everyone else is chatting with each other. And you’re just kind of there going, okay, nobody’s going to talk to me fine. I guess I’ll go home.


Curt Anderson  15:29

So and let’s let’s do this, okay, when you get on LinkedIn, in your manufacturer, one of the first human beings that’s going to find you one way or another, and then they’re going to connect and connect you with literally everybody, and open up all sorts of floodgates of opportunity. And he happens to be on the program today, Dan bigger, like what happens when you meet somebody like Dan bigger?


Valerie Weber  15:51

Your world just explodes? Because you meet someone like Dan bigger, and you can you ask him to connect? And then you tell him, you know, I’ve heard something about this USA manufacturing hour? Could you explain it to me, because I’ve never been on a Twitter chat. And I have no clue what to do. And being the incredibly generous, nice person that he is, like, calls you up and explains how it works and how again, and and you just like, walk you through it, walk me through it completely. And this time I went I was just like, This is the coolest place.

Because if you want to, and if you’re a real extreme introvert to start out with work, and you read everybody else’s posts, right? And then you eventually start to post yourself. And since it’s so fast, and people are posting Fast and Furious, if if you answer one question at a 10, you’re good. So you can work up to 10 out of the entire group, but you meet the best people, right? And you can be as active or inactive as you want.

So it’s perfect. And everybody else is involved in the same issues and same questions. And that’s the second thing about introverts is we hate small talk. Because we don’t know if you have a subject that people really want to dive into that interest them, we can talk all day. I mean, if you want me to talk about refractories, you can’t shut me up. So so if you get in something like USA manufacturing hour, then it’s great, because these are the topics that you’re interested in, you can start discussing them in depth, and this is exactly what introverts love. Yes, no, it’s in your wheelhouse. And it’s not difficult, and you don’t actually have to talk to people in real life.


Damon Pistulka  17:43

Right? Yeah,


Curt Anderson  17:46

man, this is you’re so spot on. Just Just to recap this. And then of course, we’re gonna continue our Dan bigger love fest, because I have another funny thing to share about. Look what you’re saying, Val, you know, so for, you know, like, it’s scary hitting that submit button for the first time, whether it’s like, you know, your first comment and somebody else’s posts or your own posts, or, you know, going to that Twitter chat, you know, like taking that first step is a little bit uncomfortable.

Then also next, you know, it gets a little bit easier, a little bit easier, just like anything else in life. And I love that senior, you know, the new kid at senior? Yeah, sorry. That’s a perfect analogy. So Damon, we’re on a call this morning. And I don’t know if you you run when? Don from Alaska was talking to you?

Yeah. So we’re at a call this morning with a company out of Alaska young, a young company that we connected through the last game up and done our dear friend Don, who owns a fishing lure manufacturing business. He says Yeah, well, you know, that guy, Dan bigger, just connected me with a new manufacturer, that they’re doing prototypes for me. And he’s going on and on about Dan bigger, and I’m just sitting there and like, of course, someone in Alaska has been connected with Dan bigger and Dan bigger is out there. How many 1000s of miles aways you know, solving his problems. And yeah, was it an hour? It was just an hour ago?


Damon Pistulka  19:13

Yeah. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  19:15

Oh, Dan, God bless it. Dude, you are such a blessing in so anyway, so we’ll get back to Val. Val. As you started this intentional journey of Dan is the man Nigel I agree with you. 100%. So as you started this intentional journey started getting more comfortable, you know, out of that, out of that uncomfort zone, if you will, into your comfort zone of you know, you’re still able to be that introvert. But now you’re connecting. Let’s talk about the Twitter chat group, USA MF MFG, USA. Our every Thursday at two o’clock Eastern time. 11 o’clock Pacific. Talk about what that Twitter group has meant to you this past year.


Valerie Weber  19:52

That Twitter group has been so much. I’d say probably a third of my connections are from that group. And if you ever want to know what norm feels like on cheers, yeah, enter the Twitter chat because once you’ve been there a couple times the minute you show up, everybody’s going Hey, so and so is here. And it’s like this giant cheer goes up and you’re like,


Damon Pistulka  20:13



Curt Anderson  20:17

that man, you’re like the queen of analogies. That is like a perfect analogy. You go into that turret that is absolutely perfect. I like hay bales in the house. Hey, Dan Biggers here, a Nigel’s here. It’s like, everybody has swarms. And they’re just, I’ve never it’s like everybody in have, and probably a lot of them, you know, at some point time have maybe met by now. But most of them hadn’t met.

And it was It wasn’t even a virtual phone call was just like through this passionate connection through Twitter. And it’s honestly guide I was explained to so I was telling a millennial in manufacturing about it yesterday. And of course, I’m getting the resistance by God not in a Twitter. I’m like, I’m telling you, please trust me. I know. I’m an old dude. Yeah, I’m crazy. Please just go check out this Twitter chat every Thursday because it’s insane. Yeah, a little bit. Val, just talk a little bit about some of the connections that you’ve made through the Twitter group.


Valerie Weber  21:08

Oh, they’ve been amazing, because it’s that reciprocal reality, because we like each other’s posts on LinkedIn, which of course the algorithm loves when people start to like your posts. So you, you get that added reach your posts continue to generate more posts more impressions. And I mean, these are the people that when you have a question, you reach out to them because we were in the Twitter chat one day, and everyone was using gifts, and I was like, I don’t know how to do this. I’m, you know, technologically challenged. Katie, how do I do this? And she’s like, Oh, well, you just, there’s this little icon on the Twitter thing.

I was like, oh, okay, now that I feel stupid, Katie, I will willingly put those in every post on my Twitter chat. But it’s so fast and so furious that after an hour, it seems like 10 minutes have passed. It’s just fun, which most people are like, Oh, manufacturing. That’s really not fun. But I mean, first of all, manufacturing is fun. And it’s cool. Yeah, but the Twitter chat is fun and cool. And it’s all based in manufacturing. And everybody is so generous and so kind. And even yesterday in the Twitter chat, Dan was like So Val, are you prepping for your presentation tomorrow? Is that why you were late? It was like, No, cuz I didn’t look at the clock and I forgot about. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  22:41

that is absolutely awesome. So again, like we could give a shout out like gaming. We just interviewed Sue Nordmann on Monday. Yeah. Paul ishi. Yeah. Gina Tabasco, you know, Mike Womack from New Jersey MEP, Jeanette from Gen. Ed’s who David, by the way, we’re interviewing her next month. Yeah. So like, I mean, we could I’m probably leaving. I’m Jennifer Wagman. Kirsten, I know, I’m Ruby. Back. You know, we could just go right down the list. It’s just an amazing, awesome group of people. Just committed to, you know, and again, we have fun, but there’s a tremendous high value and like you said, Val, it’s like the fastest hour in the planet. I know.

They hosted one weekend, it was like, Oh my God, it was like a local mode of just added control. Like I just my fingers were like sore at the end of that thing. It’s just absolutely crazy. So let’s do this. Val, let’s talk about now that you like you’re the marketing guru. And you’ve made this full blown digital transformation for yourself. For a company. It’s been around for decades. What do you have in store for 2022? I know you mentioned you know, podcast.

I got You’re so funny. Like, you’re gonna beat me I was I’m like Val, Val could have like your own talk show. She’s just so polished demon. Like she’s the opposite of us. But she’s so polish. She’s we’re funny. Charming. What? So you mentioned podcasts talk a little bit about like, specifically, what are some intentional things that you’re looking to do? And what do you want to accomplish with that marketing? So marketing is great. We need to convert sales. Talk a little bit about that transition, your marketing efforts and how you your your plan to convert those into sales?


Valerie Weber  24:14

Well, because of those two nasty words, supply chain issues, yeah. And actually, we’re not just the only manufacturer of fuse cast in the US. We are the only manufacturer of fuse cast in the Americas. Okay. Yeah. Yeah, there’s no one else in this hemisphere that manufacture the products that we do. Yep.

So at this point, we’re deciding that that’s sort of the big selling point to people because they don’t have to worry about their material getting stuck on a boat somewhere, or in a container in drayage, or in a warehouse because it hasn’t made it from dredge into onto the road. So your delivery time is less than it would be if you were buying from Asia or Europe.

And we’re going we’re trying to leverage that a bit this year and really approach customers in the Americas and say, Hey, we’re here for you. We can solve your problems. We’re here for your emergencies, because you’re not going to have to wait weeks and weeks to solve your issue. You’re not going to end up have to spend the money on airfreight. And we’re planning on starting the cast, because 2022 is the International Year of glasses declared by the United Nations.

Okay, so we’re celebrating that because majority of our customers are in the glass industry, whether it’s container, glass, flat glass, all of that, and we want to celebrate that with them. We’re trying to be as supportive of the industry as possible. We’ve been talking to people that are working in recycling glass, because we figured that that supporting the industry as well, because the more recycled glass that goes into glass production, the lower the demands for energy, the glass that goes into landfills, and all of those good things.

So if we can support the whole Circular Economy sort of thing, it’s a bonus for everybody. And we’re also looking at the innovators in glass that people are doing really exciting stuff. Yeah, there are companies that are doing bendable, foldable glass right now, there are companies that are doing glass that you could lay your phone or another device on a glass table and recharge it without plugging it into anything. Wow.

So we want to talk to those people that are doing the really cool innovative things, because that’s the future of glass and it through a product that’s 1000s of years old. Yeah, there’s so much that’s going on with it. And you don’t think about how much glass is connected with your everyday life. It’s the front of your tablet, the front of your computer, the glass, you look out the window, the glass, you’re drinking your orange juice in the morning, right? Your car, you’re surrounded by glass. So it’s really an element that you don’t think about because it’s so prevalent. You want to celebrate


Curt Anderson  27:18

this and what a great story. You know, I know most of us we’re all big fans of Harry Moser, from the reshoring initiative. And this is just great. This is a perfect example of bringing that manufacturing back from you know, that left the country went other places. And you know, in you’re leading the charge Val, it is just so inspiring. It is so awesome for a person that started your career nonprofits, and now committed yourself for this little boy, a six month gig turned into a 30 year career.

And you know, and even at this stage, lifelong learner, right in your headline on your LinkedIn profile, please connect with Val and LinkedIn. You know, and you know, every webinar every word, you went through our E commerce training over the summer, every time we put something out, man, we know valves that right there. And so you know, you’re you are our inspiration. We’re like, Hey, guys, we got to deliver our best because vales out there. And this is and you guys will love this, Chris, at Harrington.

Like whenever you go through the buyer persona, and like in our little workshops, we call them your soulmates. We’re like Damon, I are constantly saying, Okay, what does Val want right now, what type of training would help Val right now so like Val, just I know what you’re hoping for, you know, your your buddy, Kurt, your Bob, Bob friend, here’s your soulmate, but you are our soulmate. And we’re constantly asking ourselves, what does Val out there? What does she need? And how can we help you move the needle? So, again, you’ve been an incredible support. Great friend, wonderful inspiration. And again, I say this frequently.

I’m saying it today, Damon, our big girl, dads, you are such a wonderful inspiration for young women to come into manufacturing. So I know we could keep you all day, I’m going to ask you this question will will wind down guys. Val for young people out there particularly young women, that manufacturing is dirty? That’s what grandma and grandpa did or dead, you know, share if you had if you were at Manufacturing Day and you had a group of high school kids college kids in front of you. What would you share with them about the incredible exciting opportunities in manufacturing moving ahead?


Valerie Weber  29:22

Oh, wow, um, that manufacturing isn’t what you think it is. Yeah. Manufacturing is responsible for everything around you. Right manufacturing wasn’t here. You wouldn’t have it. You wouldn’t have the dust you’re sitting out there. You wouldn’t have the device you’re using to communicate with other people. Right? It’s, it’s responsible for everything. And it’s, frankly, it’s cool. I mean, we take minerals, heat them up, or the potable willing hot container and make Yeah, container.

It’s incredible. When you watch it, I hadn’t seen it in years and we went out to Record a video for the local utility company they wanted to do promote us for free part of my networking. Yeah. They came in to record it. And I walked around with them. And it was I forgotten how absolutely amazing it is. Yeah, because you’re just like, Okay, this is really hot material, it’s hotter than molten steel. And these people are working in perfect choreography, to move the bins under the poor to move them. So the annealing mixture is on top to move them to the cooling area and move the next bend in.

And it’s like watching a dance. They are so coordinated, and it’s so well done. And they know exactly where they are and what they need to do next, that it’s just absolutely amazing. And it’s just such an opportunity for people. And I, it’s all part of, you know, that stem that math and science and all of that. There’s so many interesting, innovative things that are going on now that manufacturing is where all of new things are happening. That’s right. Oh, yeah. You’re not a manufacturing, you’re missing out.


Curt Anderson  31:15

You’re not gonna You’re not as a cool kid table are, ya know? That’s for sure. As you’re sure. Well, this is absolutely awesome. Val. So what I want to do is I’m gonna, we’re gonna excuse me, we’re gonna wind down what I love to do if anybody’s interested vailable we’d love to pull you guys on stage with us. So what Valois? Right?

So, Damon, if you’re interested, if you could, why don’t you just just grab somebody and put them up on stage, but they’ll and so and I see Kevin just jumped off the veil if you could share with us. What are your goals for 2022? And I’d you shared a lot of your strategies for the company anything? I didn’t know you’re a dog walker? Oh, yes. 20 year dog walker guy. And I saw that you contributed to like a guide for that I read that correctly, like you collaborated for like a dog walking guide, or I did and


Valerie Weber  32:06

I used to actually do the orientation for all the new dog walkers every month. So I trained how to get the dogs and out of the kennels and how to deal with them. How to wrestle with a dog that weighs half as much as you do. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  32:19

yeah. Man. Well, we’re huge dog lovers on the show. So God bless you there. I didn’t know that about you. And I saw that on your LinkedIn profile. So thank you, for our community to what you do there. So for anybody that’s that’s I know, we’re coming in. We’re at top of the hour, we had our even pad. Yeah, I’m inspired by Val. Well, first. Go ahead, David. We’re gonna


Damon Pistulka  32:40

bring some people up here in a minute. But I just you know, Kurt, and I did a photoshoot the other day, and I was just gonna show you some of the results. And yeah, I’m a I’m a goofball, right. But, you know, Kurt and I were out the other day, we just had to, you know, weird spirit. We thought, hey, we better we better get get ready for it. We’re on we’re on the ferry going out. And then you know, and then we were kind of hanging out we decided, well, we should take another picture. We were just hanging out. It was nice sunny days. So so we hit that one too. And so guys wanted to share that we are getting into the holidays and being ready for the for the vacations that are coming up. So


Curt Anderson  33:27

dude, that is absolutely awesome, man. It Go. And so as you can tell the hats were photoshopped. But that was really us together. That was that took place over the summer. So hanging out with Damon for a day. And that was that’s our that’s our Christmas card. Everybody. So yeah. Anyway, so thank you for sharing that. Damon I so So Val goals for 2022 What are you hoping to accomplish what’s on your radar for 2022


Valerie Weber  33:57

Oh, on my radar for 2020 to get this podcast launched because I’ve only been talking about it for three, four months at this point. Nice. Um, I also graduated from our local Chautauqua Leadership Network finally all that congratulations. Thank you. And now for my sins I’m on the board. Nice. So surviving my first year as a board member should be an experience as well. Absolutely. I’m learning as much as I possibly can because that’s my passion I need iron if I’m not learning something every day then it’s just forget about it.


Curt Anderson  34:35

I’ll tell you you are such an inspiration that is absolutely awesome. So I So would that we’re going to wind down who’s going to come up Damon Who are we going to grab here?


Damon Pistulka  34:44

I don’t know just start seeing if people come up so I’m I’m gonna just gonna invite you to the stage if you can get up we are get some people I think I do. We have a small grab. Yeah, we’re gonna get everybody but because I think some people laughed when you said that Kurt.


Curt Anderson  34:58

I know they see their interest Virts Vale that’s probably there is there’s Dan. There’s Dan the man so Dan Happy Friday dude.



How are you guys?


Curt Anderson  35:07

There’s Nigel There’s Chris Harrington. So guys happy Friday. How Are You Good Friday.


Damon Pistulka  35:13

Yes Nigel.


Curt Anderson  35:14

Thanks for coming to us from across the pond let you know what I got my Christmas head upstairs I got my


Kris Harrington  35:23

opportunity to use it yet so here we go. This is my


Curt Anderson  35:28

I got here envy now I had it earlier to Damon so yeah. Hard Things across the pond today. I’m


Nigel T. Packer  35:36

great. But I just finished a 3d consultancy project which an invoice so I’m quite happy about that. Yeah. Christmas now I’ve got a few projects for next year. I was going I was learning like Val said always learning.


Curt Anderson  35:51

Always learn. Always be learning. I absolutely love that. So two questions for you. How they plans number one, number two goals for 2022? What’s on your radar? What do we want to come in? And 2022? Strong? Which on your radar for next year?


Nigel T. Packer  36:08

We’ve got to first


Curt Anderson  36:09

Nigella’s Oh, me?


Nigel T. Packer  36:11

Oh, right. Okay. Right now, holiday plans. I’ll be working up until about Thursday, next next week. Because I’ve got my own work to do. And then it’ll give me a week free then to just walk through a few chores around the house. We’ve got down a couple other beaches not far from here. Except for the one that we use ourselves every day is just to give a bit different perspective and different outlook. I mean, Dan’s lucky because he’s got lovely beaches to go walking on and probably, yeah, yeah, we’re warm. And I see my cold here and gray. But it’s not too bad. It’s it never gets below by four degrees. centigrade. And Fahrenheit. Yeah, I don’t know the conversion rate is


Damon Pistulka  36:55

  1. It’s about 40 degrees,


Nigel T. Packer  37:00

because I got transferred over to the Continental way of measuring temperature might not been able to lose it. Yeah, I prefer Imperial, to this Mickey Mouse stuff. Well, it’s it’s from the engineering life that I had before. We used to refer to, I started learning in feet and inches. And then suddenly, we went metric was joining the European Union. And now we’re going back to Imperial or slowly going back to Imperial.

Because there was a period of time where you’re not allowed to sell things in pints, or like milk or pounds in here in paintin beer, but we still bought a pint, but it was measured in and priced in in liters. And it’s just crazy. So the law has been changed since we’ve left the European Union. And now the law has been changed to go back to those old way. So all the youngsters, the millennials, and right generation Zed, and all that life, they’re totally confused. But as always, we can still do it.


Curt Anderson  38:01

Even thinking about it. So what are what are what are some what are goals coming in 2022 for you now.


Nigel T. Packer  38:10

I spent the last year growing my audience, which I hope things start leveraging as we go forward. And I think one of the I was doing a presentation to a lot of freelancers, across Europe last week. And one of the things that they they don’t, they didn’t realize I pointed it out was the fact that most of them can only deal with about two or three clients at any one time. And I think that’s a mistake.

With smaller companies. It’s it’s in the push a huge that they invest a lot of money in advertising promotion, and then they get seven clients come along at one goal, and they can’t deal with that there’s not enough time in a day or week to to actually deal and give a good job. So it’s better to focus in on two or three clients and do a very good job for them. And then just make sure you’re in a position to replace one as the project definition. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  39:04

Like, it’s like being a job shop. When you’re when you’re a contractor or a consultant. It’s like it’s almost been a job shop, right? You know, trying to bring in the order, then you get bottleneck, you’re like, you know, you’re so busy putting out the product, you forget about marketing, or like, oh, no, I gotta fill my pipeline. So it’s Abin flow.


Nigel T. Packer  39:21

This is where it’s better to say right, I need these number of clients, this is the type of client I want. I actually focus and go after them and be very intense on that. And when those clients so you got that thing going forward and networking, perfect opportunity for that. It was great what you said and Val it’s it’s it’s a given that you have to build that relationship with your audience first before you can step into the into the sales side of things.

And sometimes the people you network with are never going to be a client. But they know people who say Oh, you want to talk to viral or you want to talk to them. I don’t know if you can pick up that link there, Val, that I put into the chat. It goes to a thing called the KTM. It’s a British Knowledge Transfer Network. And there’s a lot there phenomenal industries in there from Biosciences all the way through. And there’s one there just found, which is innovation exchange challenge improving the durability of furnaces used for glass melting. Well,



do you export?


Nigel T. Packer  40:29

I’m sure you that we are going there. It is a network just like LinkedIn except this for the knowledge industry, audits evoke. All the people doing the experimentation you were talking about was once you started talking about it, I thought, well, you need to be you need to be involved in that. And I think it’s open to everyone, because it’s all about knowledge transfer. So I am taking a program.


Curt Anderson  40:51

Yeah. No, that’s no, that was very helpful and NightBot appreciate your insight, your wisdom, it’s always an honor and privilege. Connecting with you love chatting with you on Thursdays. Yeah. Let’s jump over to Wisconsin, Chris. Love the hat. Love to do. What? How they plans coming into 2022. What’s on your radar?


Kris Harrington  41:12

Yeah, so Well, Val, it’s a pleasure to listen to you today. I I haven’t had an opportunity to meet with you yet. So it was really nice to hear your story. As a fellow introvert, I can appreciate some of your stories and how you get started there as well. So we’re doing a staycation here. I don’t know if you know, but I’m on just about five and a half acres. And outside of Gen alpha, we run two girls in a farm. So we’ve got chickens and ducks and we do bees and we’ve got all kinds of stuff. trees in the garden. So there’s plenty for us to do just just around the farm.

So that’s where we’re going to be with family this this year. Um, as far as goals, I think it’s pretty exciting for us at Gen alpha, we are rolling out of warranty module and Rma module, we’re advancing our configurator. So you love that Kurt. So we are starting to really deliver on this 360 degree view for equipment manufacturers, not just aftermarket, but all the services that support that digital transformation. So really excited about some of the things we’re going to be delivering and enhancing on next year. So more to come on that.

And then personally, you know, I have a goal to read 20 books, but it’s a it’s always fun for me to dive into other people’s stories. At the last few years, I’ve been reading more about people I used to say that I always lived in the Self Help section of the bookstore. So that’s where I used to get all of my books, but now I’m really reading stories about former leaders and their lives and challenges and the way that they overcome and succeed so it’s been really fun.


Curt Anderson  43:01

Well, that’s awesome. So guys, any if anybody has any great leadership books dropped those, uh, Chris, put it on her her wish list. My bucket list for 2022 is coming to Milwaukee and meet you in person Chris, we’re gonna talk about that we’re gonna make that happen. So let’s find out South we’re gonna go down to the My ex New Yorker my ex partner in crime here dude, Dan bigger. We love your brother. What’s going on in your world? What are you in for? You guys aren’t aware of this. Dan has two sets of twins. So what are you in the family? What do you guys have planned for Christmas? This year? First Christmas and down south right?


Dan Bigger  43:39

Yep. So we’re gonna take it easy. My daughters are playing volleyball so they get a break from that my boys are playing baseball. Flag Football and wrestling. Yeah, there. Yeah, we all need a break.


Curt Anderson  43:52

Yeah. Yeah. Shut it down. Just quiet. Just enjoy family time. On the beach. First Christmas on a beach. Nice. Nice or what? Yeah, and I’m gonna



be fine right now.


Curt Anderson  44:06

We have about what is it? 75? Well, 60 here yesterday, so we’re close. So Dan, what goals for you, you know, you are the relentless networker again, like everybody on the stage could probably count for I don’t know how many people in our network. Thanks to you. What’s on your radar for 22? I guess, maybe we owe you something, what can we do to help you for 2022


Dan Bigger  44:30

Ah, I’ve got some personal goals. So I’m going to I’m going to lose 20 pounds. That’s the first goal. And then I’m going to get back to networking. I’ve sort of taken a break for last month and a half or so just to calm down a little bit with my kids and new move and everything else. So I’m going to get back to that and then you know, just learning more about the extrusion business and custom profile a company that I work for now and starting to get more into that and and getting out there. You know, we we serve us North America. So it’s a it’s a big pond efficient Nice. That’s awesome.


Curt Anderson  45:00

And what’s um, how’s the new gig going? How do you like the new company? How’s it how’s the transition? I mean, took on a lot. And right in the middle of a pandemic, you moved four or five states away. You took on a new career, new job, how’s everything going with you?


Dan Bigger  45:15

That’s going good. I just have a lot to learn. Yeah, and I hate being. I’m never the smartest guy in the room. But I’m always the hardest working. So I’m going to keep working and doing that. There is the support team I have is good. You know, we’re just like everybody else. We’re running into supply chain problems. And yeah, fighting our way through him. I mean, we haven’t had as many as maybe some other people have, but Right, right, but everything’s going great. Awesome. Good. Good. Well,


Curt Anderson  45:40

again, thank you for everything that you do. You’re so modest and humble. I know, you know, between the Twitter chat all the connections, you are the Go Giver. So thank you for what you do. Damon, were on stage. What do you in big family plans for the holidays for Christmas? And what’s on your radar for 2022?


Damon Pistulka  45:59

Well, we’re gonna do like a lot of people, we’re gonna relax, we got our stuff. We’re gonna we got some travel planned in February and doing that, but we’re just gonna hang around home and spend time with family. And that’s usually what we do is have you ever tried to get into an airport around Christmas? You’d rather I mean, I’d rather put a nail on my foot, you know? You know, bullet my head, I don’t care. You just the worst thing you can imagine that’s about me going to the airport this time of year. It’s just not happening anymore. Yeah. But so we spend that time.

But yeah, when you look at 2022, for us, it’s it’s in our business, it’s continuing these kinds of things. Because these are a lot of fun. And really focus on on how we can share more information that helps people doing what we do, you know, growing businesses and helping their businesses getting ready and selling them.

And that’s really connecting with the manufacturing community and the others that we help and doing, that’s what we’re going to be doing, and having more conversations with networking people and talking to those because for me, you know, as Valerie can attest to, I’m an introvert, right? And people don’t think that and I’ve had to work to get to this point. And no work for me doesn’t come natural. And I have to I have to force myself schedule it and do it, but that’s what I’m doing more of so. Yeah, awesome.


Curt Anderson  47:20

Awesome. So alright, guys, so for myself, you got to do you got


Damon Pistulka  47:25

to do Yeah, do you? I mean, you think we’re not gonna stop now you got you gotta go and then we


Curt Anderson  47:31

know a lot. You know, we were gonna travel but like this little COVID thing is kind of, you know, get a little goofy. So I think I think we might just kind of stay put enjoy family time that you know, just relax for a little bit, probably do some work. And for 2022 So I’m knee knee deep in my second book. So Chris, I just I’m Jen, alpha is in there. My buddy Damon’s in there? Shout out Dan bigger. am I even talking to Nigel Mike to talk the veil so I’m like full throttle. I don’t know if I’m halfway but I’m, I’m I’ve made a huge, huge dent.

So it’s all about niching down about how to like really, really niche down hard. Or stay in your lane. Stay in your stripes on. So yeah, I just Chris, I have like a nice little write up on Gen alpha that I’m putting in the book. So again, you know, you’re very, you’re very welcome. So, um, you know, just continue the path of you know, we work with just knocking on a lot of MEP doors. SBDCs doing training Works Association. sociation. So that’s my my stick my story and I’m sticking with it. So. All right. All right, guys.



Only 16 hours away.


Curt Anderson  48:42

I know it is. Dude, you’re killing me. Every when you were like when you first got down there every day I kept showing my wife. I’m like, hey, look, my buddy. I go you know the guy Dan that I go to dinner with once a while I go now he’s on the beach. I can’t go to dinner with him anymore. Number one. Number two. He’s always showing himself. Here’s a sunrise. Here’s the sunset. Oh my god.


Dan Bigger  49:02

Yes, my morning walk. I can’t do it. Too late, but I’ll get back to it.


Curt Anderson  49:06

Chautauqua lakes not quite the same. So the Atlantic Alright guys, so Hey, Merry Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. Happy holidays. Happy New Year. We have an amazing lineup of speakers. It is something coming up. So just to share real quick so if you guys have you guys heard of the company big ass fans, yes. Familiar. So we have the the founder and CEO he sold the company for half a billion dollars. So he’s speaking the first week we have John Jan’s who wrote the book. Doug, we have the editor in chief from Ink Magazine. So we have some we have Allison afford coming on, Val, she’s gonna be coming up in January.

So we have some great speakers coming up. So we’re gonna have a lot of fun. Guys together as a team are so much stronger. So between Thursdays join us on Friday, keep supporting each other and you guys are such an inspiration for myself and Damon, thank you for your support and for coming out in hanging out with us. We appreciate you more than you know. And so we’ll Damon, we’ll just we’ll just shut it down for the day.


Damon Pistulka  50:06

We’ll take it. Take it from here on we real quick. I’m going to get us turned off on LinkedIn here. Thanks so much for joining us on LinkedIn man. We had Ryan and Neha Rebecca. Wow, who else say it’s we had a bunch of people comment over here while we were going on. But thanks so much for being here. We will be back again next year. And as Kurt said, we’ve got some guests with us and want to thank everyone for being here today. Awesome people on the stage now with us Val for being so incredible and sharing her knowledge today. But we’re going off a LinkedIn live here and we are going to go back to the tables in Reno and go from there.


Kris Harrington  50:41

Thanks so much. Merry Christmas, guys.


Curt Anderson  50:45

Round of applause for Val

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