LEARN FROM EXPERTS (WHO'VE BEEN YELLED AT) IN THE FIELD
ANDREW ROTHENBURGER | VIM Technologies
Andy Rothenberger knows a thing or two about good foundations. A third-generation carpenter with a degree in Fine Woodworking, he has a passion for creating useful and beautiful things from raw materials. It’s this background that lent him a personal and professional tenet that he uses to guide his work: “getting it right in the rough.” Basically, he says, “when the foundation of your project is ‘plumb, level and square,’ …when the documentation is all laid out and configured up front, then you set yourself up to avoid other issues along the way.”
Woodworking may be in his blood, but his natural inclination for relationships and connection ultimately landed him in sales. He understands the value of time, and believes it’s important to invest it in building and strengthening relationships, both internally with his team and externally with clients. This belief has earned him success in his sales career across a diverse range of industries–from telecoms to transmissions to working for a home builder in Charleston, South Carolina–before ultimately bringing him back to Pennsylvania in 2008 to work for VIM Technologies.
Andy isn’t afraid of a little hard work. After several years on the job, he decided to go back to school. He earned a degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management from Penn State, all while he and his wife Erika both worked full time, and with two small kids at home to boot. He considers himself a life-long learner and is always looking for opportunities to expand his knowledge and skill base, whether formally through school or training or informally through the connections he’s made with colleagues and others in the industry. He uses all this new knowledge to build effective processes, develop strategic plans, and come up with innovative sales approaches for VIM Technologies clients around the globe.
WADE DAY | STI CEMS
Wade Day, President and founder of STI CEMS is a third generation military veteran with an adventurous spirit and a reputation for seeing tough problems through to resolution. A natural knack for repairing and improving, combined with a drive to invest in relationships makes him the kind of guy who tends to give much more than he takes. Whether he’s digging for answers or forging a new route, you can bet time with Wade will not be boring.
As the son of a mechanic, Wade grew up comfortable tinkering in the shop, getting dirt under his fingernails and figuring stuff out. He’s built a reputation and a company brand around a commitment to solve the mechanical riddles of his clients. Those that know Wade best can attest to his dedication, though they might be inclined to refer to it as “stubborn,” with a chuckle. But regardless of what you call that quality, for him his career superpower can be found in the relationships he’s built along the way. “I have always tried to surround myself with people who know the things I don't. They answer tough questions, challenge me, and certainly make this work a heck of a lot more fun.”
Wade recalls a moment he made an important decision about the trajectory of his life while working a summer job at fourteen years old. “I was hauling square hay bales in the blazing heat and decided there and then that I would use my brain and not my back to make a living.” And so it was. Wade entered the Air Force after high school, where he learned and worked in “avionics” - which is the flight instrumentation, radar, other landing and flight systems. He began his CEMS career as a service technician after returning home from active duty. During that 11 year period he wore many hats. This time and responsibility, although tough at times, turned out to be a gift, because that experience led him to go out on my own.”
Wade started STI from his personal workshop in 2003. Doing so with little more than severance pay, a punctual UPS guy, two extremely dedicated partners and that willful drive. This resourceful team infused a mentality of commitment not only to their clients, but also to constantly developing their expertise as well as their relationships. Fiercely proud of his own service and those that serve, STI is now 25 employees strong with over half of them veterans of the U.S. military.
STI, Wade and his wife Mandy are headquartered in the small community of Waldron, Arkansas. Wade is an avid hunter, golfer and the kind of guy who is always up for an adventure. He and Mandy dream of someday having a place in the Caribbean for family, friends and endless good times. From that beach view one can be sure he’ll find ample opportunity to continue nurturing those all important friendships he’s valued all these years.
BOB BERTIK | Universal Analyzers
Bob Bertik, a 32 year veteran of the CEMS industry, has the gift of gab and a successful career built on the philosophy of “doing whatever it takes to get the job done.” In fact, this mantra is one he credits for getting him into the industry in the first place, on to his current VP of Sales and Marketing position and eventually, all across the world and back home again.
A California native and sailboat racing fan, Bob is the type of guy who uses a tropical beach background for video calls and doesn’t let a little red tape stop him. While working at a boat manufacturer in the mid-80s, Bob got a client call that would change the direction of his sails (and sales!) forever. “The guy needed a part fast for a weekend trip, and the company I worked for had a policy of only selling direct to dealers, not end users. But I told him to come on in anyway.” Risking his job, Bob sold him the part he needed, shirking company policy but, keeping the customer's plans afloat and starting a very meaningful friendship. “That guy happened to be in this [CEMS] industry. He liked my style, and offered me a job.” Needless to say, Bob redirected his rudder and has spent the last 18 years sailing with the wind at his back at Universal Analyzers, Inc.
Bob has had the opportunity to travel the globe doing this work, but still maintains,“My favorite thing about my job is the people. I don’t wake up in the morning feeling excited to work for Universal, I wake up excited to work for my customers, who are also my friends.” Making friends out of clients and colleagues is kind of his thing, which he accomplishes by being a man of his word, doing what it takes to get the job done, and getting it done quickly–-that is, unless he’s promised to “keep a long story short.”
Bob has a Bachelor's from Cal State Northridge, where he studied Business Administration. While Bob abandoned dreams of outfielding in the majors way back in Little League, he remains a big fan of the Dodgers, and has dabbled some in adult softball. He and his wife of 32 years, Lisa, who allegedly enjoys him working from home with her, live in Thousand Oaks near their two adult children. If he could be anywhere besides connecting with a colleague and friend, Bob would be at a beach or on a boat somewhere floating the breeze.
THOMAS GRAHAM | Air Hygiene
Tom Graham admits that his colleagues have described him as a “robot” when it comes to work, and one might assume it isn't a compliment. But Tom has a pretty unique ability to read and absorb information from even the driest environmental regulation and engineering manuals (without falling asleep!), and then turn around and translate that information into practical knowledge for the people who need it the most. So maybe that does make him sort of a machine–but one with a sense of humor and a strong passion for helping people succeed in their careers.
He could’ve been a cowboy. Well, technically he was–having gotten both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University (Go Cowboys!). His family still owns the 4,000 acre cattle ranch and farmhouse his grandparents lived on–maybe one of the last places in America that doesn’t have internet. And while he still feels at home on the range (or anywhere outside really), it might have been the time he spent in college working as a country line dance instructor that set Tom up for success as the Director of Education for Air Hygiene University.
He started his career with Air Hygiene as a project manager and speaks fondly of his time spent traveling the country, visiting sites with his colleagues. He says there’s a kinship that developed in those days–a bond so strong that, all these years later, they stay connected and plan trips together to catch up. But as he progressed in his career, it became clear that there needed to be a centralized way to educate those in the field, and with that, Air Hygiene University was born.
He and his wife, Kim, have built a house and a life together in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and stay busy with their three kids and two dogs. But whether he’s running kids to practices or restoring RVs for family trips, Tom makes sure to be always “on” – if the phone rings, he’ll answer it, because he knows the work you do today sets you up for success tomorrow.