Experience Speaks: David Premo

  • VP/General Manager of Adhesive Applications Inc.
  • Management style | Hands off. Hire exceptional talent and give them space to thrive.
  • What is the key to growing a business in a bad economy? When a downturn is forecasted, we spend even more time with our customers. Often, it's just asking the right questions and listening. The insights they'll tell us give us pretty clear direction on how to enhance our product line. Case in point, we're heavily investing in R&D right now and have focused much more on custom solutions.

  • What is the biggest threat to the converting industry right now? Large manufacturers moving production outside the US. We really now have to do it better, faster, and cheaper, and provide something cost can't compete with. That's where the custom solutions come in.

  • What is the biggest mistake you made, and how did you fix it? We had been pushing in one direction for so long, and all of a sudden, we realized we had cornered ouselves into being just a foam manufacturer. When we bought Dielectric Polymers, we greatly expanded into what we needed. And today we're operating as a unified effort under one roof as Adhesive Applications. It's really an exciting time.

  • What sustainability efforts has your company made? We've undergone several initiatives recently, but one comes quickly to mind. We worked with an efficiency auditor and found a way to reclaim heat from our thermal oxidizer. That heat now keeps our manufacturing plant warm in the winter months. And one of the benefits of merging our two companies under one roof has been a significant footprint reduction.

  • What do you most enjoy about your job? Seeing our employees succeed and working as a team to create a solution.

  • What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out in business? The tape industry is not locked into one product. There are many good solutions to the same problem. Finding the right one is key. We've expanded significantly, but for quite some time, we were too focused on just foam tapes. Today, I can proudly say we offer one of the most complete lines of adhesives in the industry.

  • What's the best advice you ever got? Be open-minded. The way we see things today isn't the way they will be tomorrow.

  • Have any management books influenced you? I recently finished reading The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt. It's a recommended read for anyone who wants to reexamine core improvement initiatives.

  • Do you have a personal hero? My kids. They keep everything fresh and in perspective. That's what's important.

  • What keeps you up at night? I sleep pretty soundly. We've been making some good decisions and things are solid right now.

About Adhesive Applications Inc.

  • 41 O'Neill St., Easthampton, MA 01027; 413-527-7120
  • www.AdhesiveApps.com
  • Founded 1972; 3 plants; 80 employees
  • Specialization | Pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes and films

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