Experience Speaks - July 2009

  • President of Rayven Inc.

  • Hobbies and outside interests | Hunting, fishing, skiing, and flying airplanes

  • How did you get into the converting business? I guess you could say that I married the business. My father-in-law asked me to join the business in 1987, and I have been here ever since. My degree is in mechanical engineering and manufacturing, so it has been a good fit.

  • How do you handle a difficult customer? I always try to listen to the customer and understand his or her point of view. If I can share our point of view with the customer, then there is usually a middle ground that we can both be happy with.

  • How would you describe your management style? I like to lead with an authoritative, yet hands-on management style.

  • What is the key to growing a business in a bad economy? Focusing on what your company does well and aggressively pursing all opportunities.

  • What do you most enjoy about your job? I enjoy working on the mechanical side of the business. In order to find a solution for a customer, we sometimes have to modify our coaters to do things they were not originally designed to do. We design and/or assemble most of our coating equipment in house, and we have a lot of fun doing it.

  • What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in this business? Keep your overhead low. Do not get over extended.

  • What does your company do for your customers that makes them come back to enjoy the experience of doing business with you again? We offer our customers fair and honest treatment, excellent value, and great quality in a broad range of coated and converted products.

  • Do you have a personal hero, and if so, who is it and why? Ronald Reagan for his principled leadership.

  • What, if any, sustainability efforts has your company made? Last year we changed over our factory's boiler system to a high-efficiency system with two smaller boilers. The savings in energy is amounting to about $17,000 per year. We utilize high-efficiency lighting in both of our facilities. Our growth in release liners is focused on ultraviolet curing technology, which greatly lowers the energy required to cure the coating. An added benefit to this is that there are no solvent emissions or the added energy consumption from thermal oxidizers.

  • What do you feel are the key qualities necessary to become a successful leader today? Trust, loyalty, knowledge, and not being afraid to get your hands dirty!

More converting executives share their experience on our website: www.pffc-online.oom

About Rayven Inc.

  • 431 Griggs St. N., St. Paul, MN 55104; www.rayven.com

  • Founded 1954; 42 employees

  • 2 plants; pictured is new construction in Owatonna, MN

  • Specialization | Film release liners, paper release liners, speciality coatings, and PSA coatings

What advice would you like to give? Share your perspective. Write to yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.


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