Digital Magazine

Experience Speaks: Wayne Etchells

  • Executive VP of Metlon Corp.
  • Management style | Hands on
  • Hobby | Fishing
  • How did you get into the converting business? I started working at Metlon in 1977 doing production scheduling. Over the years, I moved up through various positions in the company. I was promoted to executive VP in 1997 and have been running the company since then.

  • What is your key to retaining good employees? Reward employees for a job well done.

  • What is the biggest threat to the converting industry right now? Foreign competition.

  • Has any one association been particularly helpful to your business? As a small business, we cannot afford to employ a full-time human resource professional. The Rhode Island Employers Assn. acts as our off-site HR department and helps ensure that our wages and benefit package are competitive. It also keeps us up to date with government regulations.

  • What does your company do for customers that makes them come back again? We do what we say we will do and when we say we will do it.

  • What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out in business? We wish we could have known the impact the foreign market would have on business.

  • What sustainability efforts have you made? We began “retooling” and diversifying before the word was popular, when the metallic yarn indusry changed, and Metlon adapted the equipment to narrow-width slitting. We remain lean and flexible to market, economic, and industry demands.

  • What is the key to growing a business in a bad economy? The reason for Metlon's growing success in the custom slitting business has always been its service. Beyond our engineering capabilities, which allow us to specialize in precision, narrow-width slitting, we do spend time with our customers, making sure their work is set up and run correctly. We are often the resource customers call when others cannot do the work to the customers' specifications.

  • What keeps you up at night? Constantly increasing costs in all aspects of the business, from raw materials to packaging supplies to health insurance.

  • Do you have a personal hero? Joe Resch, who started with the company when it opened in 1947 and retired as our VP at age 90. He was fair, always led by example…and he hired me.

  • What do you enjoy most about your job? The diversity of our customers has exposed me to a wide range of industries and manufacturing processes.

  • What do you enjoy least? Collections, which in this economy has become a serious problem. We have seen a number of customers who were thriving two years ago close their doors during this last year.

About Metlon Corp.

  • 133 Frances Ave., Cranston, RI 02910; 401-467-3435
  • www.metlon.com
  • Founded 1947; 1 plant; 18 employees
  • Specialization | Narrow-width and tight-tolerance slitting

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