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72 The PCB Magazine • May 2017 Hammesfahr: I plan to stay in sales with Ami- tron. There isn't much room for advancement at this point other than management. Howev- er, I want to keep growing my customer base to help Amitron grow and to continuously im- prove our factory. It is interesting to work with such a wide variety of accounts in all different types of industries which is why I enjoy it. Goldman: Your territory is Chicagoland and be- yond? Hammesfahr: Yes, mostly Midwest to the East Coast. I work with some West Coast customers as well. There seems to be a lot of stuff out on the West Coast. Even the East Coast—they're all over. Sometimes you wouldn't even know that a company works with or has a product that deals with a circuit board. Goldman: It's an interesting industry, isn't it? We got started here talking about technology and sell- ing printed circuit boards. You said new technolo- gy has helped you find leads. Hammesfahr: Yes, it has. The Internet is a great tool when you're trying to find different compa- nies in the area. but it's also getting your name out there. I'm not a huge fan of the social me- dia, because this industry's age group tends to be a little older. They're not with the social me- dia scene so much. Goldman: I think if there is social media used in our industry, it is LinkedIn. I know it's the only one I use. Hammesfahr: I do use LinkedIn and that's a great way to find new leads. But it's also trying to talk to people and just figuring out who's got busi- ness. 'What are you looking to do? How can we help?' That's basically what I'm all about. It's roll up your sleeves, and get in front of people. Even if they tell you "no" the first time. I always say, with every no, you're just one step closer to a yes. Goldman: Persistence pays. Hammesfahr: Yes, because you know what, nine times out of 10, you don't come across some disgruntled person who doesn't want to talk to you. They're always polite, for the most part. Or they just hang up the phone. I think face-to-face contact is much better than con- necting over the Internet and email. People are lot more likely to hang up on the phone rather than tell you to your face to get out of here. Po- tential customers will rarely look at your email for information. A lot of it is luck, too. You make your own luck in a sense that if you're not working, you're not going to find it. It's not going to just magically appear. Even in the Elk Grove area, there's such a big manufactur- ing hub with so many small businesses. Every now and then, they just pop up out of nowhere and I am always keeping my eye open for new leads. I've done quotes on boards for projects that go into Legos all the way to LED lighting for the military. It's all over the place. Goldman: They put circuits in Legos now? I guess that's what makes it fascinating. Circuit boards are just everywhere. You have a good work philosophy and practice. That puts you ahead of the game. Hammesfahr: I know my generation is noto- rious for sometimes not having that type of philosophy. I've always been a hard worker. I worked construction. I was building indoor gun ranges out in the Baltimore area, in Fort Meade. I learned what hard work was pretty quick, es- pecially looking for a job out of college. When I got into sales I was like, "Oh, this is great. Back hurts less (laughs)." Goldman: Perhaps a little cleaner and neater than working in production? Hammesfahr: Well, circuit board manufactur- ing can be a messy job though, with all the pro- cesses involved. Goldman: One of the things I know our industry is looking for, and feels a great need for, is process engineers in circuit boards. Hammesfahr: I agree. The thing is you don't have such a huge industry over here anymore. You want to bring in these students and engi- neers that are coming out of college, but they're A CONVERSATION WITH AN INDUSTRY TWENTY-SOMETHING

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