Justin Pinkalla is the West Regional Sales Manager for Terex Utilities, which makes aerial devices, digger derricks, and auger drills for the electric utility industry. He has been with the company since 2000 and is based in Florida. Learn more at www.terex.com/utilities
DICA: You got your start in manufacturing as a mechanic and recently completed Six Sigma Black Belt certification. How do you use the principles of this quality control methodology in your day-to-day job as West Regional Manager for Terex Utilities?
PINKALLA: As a young person, I didn’t want to go to college. Instead, I went to work as a mechanic for an equipment dealer. But it turns out, I was not a very good mechanic, or painter, or assembler, but I was really good with people. The company I worked for, DUECO, was a family-owned business. The owners didn’t give up on me, moved me to production inspection supervisor, and eventually convinced me to go back to school. In 2012, I took on the role as QC Manager, which is when I began my Six Sigma journey. After this company was acquired by Terex in 2015, I moved into sales. I hated the idea of sales, but it turns out, I was meant for this.
Six Sigma is renowned in manufacturing. It has transformed how I think and it’s neat to take quality process thinking and apply it to a different area. In sales, it’s about asking the right questions to identify the source of a customer’s problem so that you can provide a solution. All problems come down to one of three things: people, process, or parts.
Terex Utilities and DICA are similar in that respect. Both companies are focused on doing right by the customer.
I truly love sales now and would never have been as successful as I am without the attention, care, and mentoring of Judie and Marikris at DUECO. I owe everything to those two women.
DICA: Terex Utilities recently moved into a brand-new manufacturing facility in Watertown, S.D. What does this mean for Terex Utilities customers?
PINKALLA: This was the largest brick and mortar investment Terex has made in the history of the company. The outcome of this investment for customers is that we can improve lead times, efficiency and quality of products, and invest in finding new innovations to support the ever-changing industry. Innovation isn’t just a slogan. Load Alert and PAL in the Bucket aren’t just some doodad we’ve added to equipment. Rather these are solutions, developed through collaborative processes with customers, that ultimately aids their training and safe work practices.
It’s also significant that this is an investment in our team members, giving them the tools to do their jobs well. Our team members are our most important contributor to customer satisfaction.
DICA: We have had a very long relationship with Terex Utilities, which includes working with customers during the specification process to select SafetyTech Outrigger Pads for their equipment. In what way do these outrigger pads meet the needs of utility customers?
When a fleet manager meets with us to help them spec a truck, they are looking for a piece of equipment that keeps their operators happy and safe, and gets the job done. Our job is to help the customer identify the right type of equipment and options to help them accomplish that. There are a lot of accessories that contribute to how the equipment is used. Our pick list includes things like wheel chocks and safety equipment.
Using outrigger pads is our recommendation as a manufacturer. We offer wood outrigger pads, but eventually the crews stop using the pads and need to replace them because they deteriorate over time. However, the benefits of SafetyTech Outrigger Pads are threefold: 1) They are easier to handle because they are lightweight. 2) They pay for themselves almost immediately. And 3) because of their shelf life crews are more likely to continue to use them when setting up the equipment. We offer Terex Utilities customers DICA outrigger pads because of the value they bring and because the products contribute to proper setup.
DICA: Terex is known for working as a strategic partner with utilities throughout the whole lifecycle of their equipment. How does this type of relationship contribute to improving safety?
PINKALLA: Whether it is in the spec’ing process, developing innovations, or providing inspections, parts, service, or rebuilds, we want to help customers keep their equipment for the long-term. We continue nationwide investment in new or expanded service centers for the convenience of our customers. Equipment concerns to accomplish the job never rest, and Terex listens to our customers to try to understand that perspective.
DICA: What’s one of your favorite EUFMC stories about the Kobergs?
PINKALLA : Kelly and Kerry Koberg are among my favorite people to see at all the shows. There was one EUFMC show that comes to mind. I think it was about 900 degrees out. The Terex team members kept sneaking over to their booth in the air-conditioning to hang out for a bit. And I think there may have been ice cream involved too. But my real favorite memory was on the way home from the show at the airport. I was witness to Kerry getting searched by TSA as he forgot or lost his ID. The best part was that Kelly wasn’t overly concerned if he got left behind!