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LONG TIME SALES ENGINEER ROY PAYNE TO RETIRE
After more than 35 years with Wilson Tool International, Roy Payne will retire this spring. As a sales engineer, Roy has been a trusted coworker and valuable partner for our customers. His extensive insight and commitment to customer satisfaction has made him a well-respected member of our industry.
In an article originally published in the August 2017 issue of Shop Metalworking Technology, customer Michael Grieger of Define Metal Fabrication, Inc. stated, “As for service, Wilson Tool’s facility just around the corner from my shop and Roy’s extensive “due diligence” prior to selecting the tooling are good indicators that Wilson Tool will be able to respond to service needs quickly.”
When asked about the significant changes he’s seen in the industry during his career, Roy responded, “The changes in technology both for the sales engineer and the customer. When I started there were no cell phones, laptops, email, voicemail, or even fax machines. In order to get customer messages we would go to a pay phone and call the office. Someone had to read you hand-written messages. Customer call reports were also hand-written and we would mail copies to the office and regional manager every week. If a customer needed a quick quote on a special you would describe it over the phone and hope it was close to what they needed.”
“The technology in the shops has changed significantly as well. In 1983 most turrets were straight out mechanical punching machines run by paper tapes. Shops now have full CNC hydraulic or electro servo driven machines with auto indexing, programmable rams, higher speeds and accuracy. Programming is done off-line and integrated with CAD, Solidworks, etc. Communication is electronic and immediate. Customers no longer just do work for local companies. It is truly a world market now.”
As for the company he’s devoted his career to, Roy reflected, “Thirty-five years ago Wilson Tool was a single building in White Bear Lake, Minn. making punches and dies for Amada®, Strippit, and Whitney machines. They served mainly the U.S. market. Over the years they have grown to be a force not only in the U.S. but Canada, Mexico and throughout the world. There are manufacturing facilities and offices around the globe. They have added to the product line to include TRUMPF* and Murata style punches, press brake tooling for virtually any style machine, crowning and clamping for press brakes, Impax® and Exacta stamping tools, tablet tooling and now additive manufacturing. I don’t envy a new sales person’s learning curve. The most encouraging thing is that throughout all the growth and expansion Wilson Tool has maintained its focus on the customer. It makes the job a little easier to know you have that kind of backing.”
When we asked Roy if he had a favorite customer story, he replied, “They’re all my favorite customers! Seriously though, I have customers where I have been calling on the same people for 35 years. I know all about them, their business, their families and their hobbies. With other customers, I am now dealing with the second and even third generation. It’s amazing to watch some of these young people grow up and become general managers, vice presidents, and presidents.”
“I value the relationships with customers and coworkers the most. It’s sobering to look back and realize that there are more people in the world that know me as ‘Roy from Wilson Tool’ than any other way. It’s a major part of my identity and it’s been a good ride,” said Roy.
Roy will be retiring in April and says, “I leave with mixed emotions. I look forward to more time with the family, and for golf and travel. But I will miss the relationships.”