Spotlight on NAHAD Leaders: Don Fritzinger, President
Interview with Donald Fritzinger. Don was appointed President of Singer Equities, Inc in January of this year. He became the new president of NAHAD on April 18. He also serves as president of R/W Connection Inc., a subsidiary of Singer Equities.
NAHAD: How would you describe R/W Connection? What services and products do you provide?
Donald Fritzinger: It's a mid-Atlantic regional distributor that's engaged in industrial hose, hydraulic hose, conveyor belt gaskets and industrial supplies.
NAHAD: What are the company's main markets?
Fritzinger: We're very diversified in our end markets including food aggregate and agricultural construction. We're engaged to a certain degree in every end-user market.
NAHAD: What differentiates R/W Connection from its competitors?
Fritzinger: We're one of six platform businesses for Singer Equities. That itself provides us some advantages that other distributors might not have. We've been in business since 1952. The prior owner sold the business in 1999 to an industrial distribution roll-up and it simply didn't work. Ultimately, we were acquired by another industrial distribution company. Individuals who wanted to invest in the business gave us an opportunity to share best practices with sister companies in the group, and that's been a tremendous advantage to us.
NAHAD: What are the company’s future goals?
Fritzinger: We're interested in organic growth and acquisition. Being a platform business within our group, we're in a position where we have the capitalization to acquire other businesses. Like other businesses, we're looking at expanding geographically, looking at adding other products and certainly expanding our services.
NAHAD: Can you share with us a little of your history— how you got into this industry and how you arrived where you’re at now?
Fritzinger: Day one out of college in 1974, I answered an ad for an inside sales position at Goodall Rubber Company. I spent 10 years there and spent a couple years as national sales manager for a lightweight conveyor belt company. I ended up at R/W Connection in 1986. I've been very fortunate to be able to work with some very great people there.
NAHAD: You attended the annual NAHAD convention April 18-22 in Las Vegas. How was your experience at the convention?
Fritzinger: It was a great convention. It was the one to date that had the best attendance. The speakers were very good. I thought they had an excellent program put together with some education seminars and the like with good industry-recognized consultants. This year we had a change in format with the vendor show that went really well. Overall, it was a positive experience.
NAHAD: You succeeded Tim O'Shaughnessy's position as president of NAHAD while at the annual convention. How will you work with the board to advance NAHAD and what do you hope to accomplish?
Fritzinger: It's a humbling opportunity for me. I have such respect for this industry and the distributor-vendor members. We have a very strong board at NAHAD and the organization has such positive traction. There's strong engagement on the part of distributor members and vendor members attending the convention and the educational services that are provided through the University of Industrial Distribution are very positive. Also, the Hose Safety Institute is getting some strong traction in rolling out its new program. For a guy who is closer to the end of his career than the beginning of it, one thing I think about is legacy. I asked the members at the convention that in addition to themselves—the current management and owners of the businesses—to please include their middle managers and rising stars at the convention to give them an opportunity to be engaged in the educational and the networking process. I've been a strong advocate of the young executives program that they put in place.
NAHAD: How else is NAHAD beneficial for members?
Fritzinger: I think there are a lot of things people may not necessarily view. I'm forever grateful for the founders 28 years ago for what they did in putting this together. We just rolled out a new website that has a tremendous amount of information that is under-utilized. We provide economic reports every Monday, a print newsletter on a bi-monthly basis and a monthly electronic newsletter. It's important for members to be engaged. It would be difficult for a company to be successful in the years ahead without being engaged in NAHAD.
NAHAD: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Fritzinger: I've just been really fortunate to be engaged in a good industry with good business people. It's clearly all about people. I can't wait to get up in the morning and get to work. I truly feel very fortunate for having these opportunities.
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