Questions & Answers
When did you join IMET?
I’m one of the founders so I’ve been here since day one - August 1st, 2011.
Prior to starting IMET I was vice president of commercial at Caledonian Alloys, where I’d been for eight years. Before joining Caledonian Alloys, I spent 20 years with ATI Speciality Metals, ultimately as their Director of Purchasing.
What do you do here? What is your main responsibility?
My main responsibility is overseeing the quality management system(QMS) at IMET Alloys. Our program demands we continually improve so we are always looking for ways to get better.
The aerospace industry is driven on quality. So when IMET started, we made the decision that the business was going to operate on a quality platform. A point of separation for IMET Alloys is that it’s founding team has significant melt side experience having worked for two large aerospace melters. Therefore we are knowledgeable of the melters’ requirements, high expectations and utilize the QMS to drive those demands into every part of the business. The industry expects innovation, quality and service at competitive prices and this is what IMET delivers.
As an example, Gary Helms spent 20 years at ATI during the same time I was there. He joined us Caledonian and then became a critical part of the start-up team at IMET. Gary manages IMET’s operations and does a great job.
In addition, I participate on special projects. As the business expands which is very exciting, we are continually looking at projects that add value to our customers.
What do you need to be good at to do your job well? What particular skills and knowledge do you have?
Going back to when we started the business, the first thing we needed was a knowledgeable and willing investor. We found that in Coralinn. The business went through some tough times in the early days, especially in 2013. However, Coralinn knows the metals market, are aware of the industry cycles and worked closely with IMET through the down cycles maintaining confidence that we could obtain the required aerospace approvals to grow the business. Most investors and especially banks don’t have a tolerance for that kind of waiting period.
The second and equally important thing I need is good people. We’ve had to be able to recruit the right people who understand our drive to be the best. We’re not here for 8-5 jobs; we’re in this to be the best in the industry and to grow the business. Our employees understand that it’s about quality. We’re going to keep reviewing processes and procedures, and looking for exposures and continually trying to reduce/eliminate them. If someone comes in and doesn’t buy in to the quality process, they are not going to last.
I guess my special skills and knowledge are my industry experience, passion and excitement about what we do.
What problems do you need to overcome as part of your work?
Probably the biggest one is complacency. For the first two or three years, we had ten people and you saw everybody every day and it was easier to monitor everything. Now we have 70 to 80 and when you grow at this rate, the business processes must be strong and everyone must stay sharp. If we ship material that doesn’t meet specification, this would negatively impact every aspect our business. Therefore, no matter what success we have, we are continually trying to get better, continually educating employees and continually staying sharp. IMET employees are massively supportive of the IMET QMS and we do not get complacent.
Next to IMET employees, our quality reputation is our most important asset. When we have success, we briefly pat ourselves on the back, then we dig back in. We keep the QMS front and centre every day.
How do you know when your work has gone well?
While we measure and monitor the business in detail, from a high level the biggest indicator is that the business continues to prosper and grow. This is our indicator that we’re accomplishing our goals. Delivering our product on time and in specification to our customers is the daily gauge. When the melters see the IMET product coming in through the door, they have a high level of confidence that it will be what they need and when they need it.
What do you enjoy most about your job and working in this industry?
Number one is growing a business. We are very fortunate and are grateful for the opportunities that our customers have provided us. We certainly feel like we’re living the American dream. We have a great group of people and we have young people who have joined us who are buying houses and have started families on our payrolls. That gives me a lot of satisfaction.
The technical side of the business excites me as well as I’ve always been interested in metals. I also enjoy the challenges of this industry. It is a value-add industry and while the industry tries to commoditise the supply chain as much as possible, it’s invariably a value-add business. So to the extent that we continue to recruit the right people, maintain our quality and reputation, stay innovative, competitive, and continually come up with ways to make our customer’s lives better, we will meet the challenges of this sophisticated aerospace industry.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, participating in sports and recreation.