Behind the wheel of his truck and on the road is where you'll find Astec regional parts salesman Walter Bruning. His territory covers Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan. He's traveling to visit customers every week unless the Astec Customer Schools are in session, then he dedicates his time to giving facility tours and meeting with customers attending the training.
"I started working for Astec in May 1983; that's 31 years," said Bruning. "Over that time I've had different positions within the company, starting in the service department then the electrical shop. I moved into handling all electrical maintenance and material prep before becoming a parts technician on the phone. I made the natural transition to parts estimator and finally to regional salesman."
On The Road
To service his territory, Bruning takes to the road Monday through Friday. When traveling to Michigan, he typically stays in that area for two weeks. For every journey, his truck is packed with test equipment, maps to reach locations, and various parts. A thermos and small cooler carry refreshments and he packs a small suitcase for changes of clothes. He's a man on a mission to meet with customers and carry on the Astec reputation of excellence in customer service.
"Some of my best days have been in the field with a customer solving issues and showcasing the latest parts," noted Bruning. "Knowing I've made a positive difference for my customers gives me great satisfaction."
Bruning's truck is a testing facility on wheels. When the back of the truck is open, various testing equipment can be seen. He's prepared and ready to measure drum thickness, check flights for wear, and inspect the cold feed bins.
"My job is to be a liaison between the customer and Astec," said Bruning. "A typical day spent with a customer involves a plant inspection and checking wear parts. If I see an area of operation that would benefit from a retrofit or design change to newer parts, I address the issues with the customer. My years of experience allow me to look at the whole picture, helping the customer to increase efficiency, increase uptime, increase tonnage, and make the plant more user-friendly."
The Astec Difference
Astec is well known in the industry by its quality equipment, excellence in parts and service, and its approach to delivering above and beyond the expectations of its customers. It's a family affair with solid relationships built on trust and reliability. And it's more than just equipment; it's the people of Astec that make the difference.
"You work here long enough like I have and you get to know everybody," said Bruning. "The atmosphere at Astec is one of cooperation. There's a great sense of urgency through the various departments to resolve any downtime issue a customer may be experiencing. I receive top-notch support from service, engineering, and parts departments. Our manufacturing shop will jump into action when a plant is down—the goal is to get the customer back up and running. We take that seriously."
To sum it up: "The best part of my job is seeing the customer happy. My customers are family in the field; Astec is my family in the office; and my own family is expanding with the addition of a grandchild."
Bruning is celebrating the December 2013 birth of his first grandchild and is looking forward to spending time with her.BACK TO ISSUE
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