There’s a good reason why Astec parts salesman Mike McClure logs thousands of hours in the seat of his company truck traveling some many miles a year calling on asphalt plant operators located in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.
“I really like helping them conduct their business with the least amount of trouble,” McClure states.
Sounds pretty straightforward, but spend a little time talking to McClure and you’ll quickly discover that he’s a guy who knows how to fix things and when he pulls into your plant operation, he wants to make sure you’re running without any problems.
Oh, forgot to mention, Hawaii is also part of his territory, and while he enjoys helping plant operators there as well, it’s not as logistically convenient and simple as jumping in behind the wheel of his 2016 Dodge Ram.
With an engineering background, McClure worked for another manufacturer before joining Astec in 1998. McClure moved to Chattanooga, TN in 1999. He worked in the service department, helping set up new plants, trained operators how to run them and responded to troubleshooting requests over the phone to help customers solve minor glitches.
In 2013 McClure jumped at the opportunity to become the Southwest Region Parts Sales Manager and then located to Tucson, AZ the following year.
“There are 300 plant operations in my territory and when I first moved here I just started to cold call each plant to introduce myself and begin establishing a relationship,” McClure notes. “Now, I can stop by for a visit as a friend, and I think that means a lot to those operators who now know I’m willing to help keep their plant running regardless of whether or not it’s an Astec, Dillman, or a competitive plant.”
Make no mistake about the value of McClure’s willingness to help, because it has generated sales in parts that can be used on competitive plants, as well as new plant sales. Of the 300 plants McClure calls on, approximately 100 are an Astec or Dillman facilities. As McClure continues to build those friendships, don’t be surprised if some of the 200 non-Astec operations join the family when it’s time to replace or upgrade their plants.
“It’s all about drying and mixing when it comes to producing asphalt,” McClure states in his simple and straightforward manner. “As long as I’m there to help my plant guys produce asphalt, there will always be plenty of opportunity to sell and service them.”
What’s really interesting about McClure’s territory is that there’s not an off-season, unlike northern production facilities that have to perform major maintenance work on plants during the winter. “Nights and weekends are about the only time a plant operator has time to complete maintenance work,” McClure states. “I think a constant maintenance program throughout the year actually helps to minimize major repair issues.”
McClure makes it back to the Astec home office in January and February to be on hand for the training schools held at that time. It’s an opportunity to spend time with his customers and help with training if needed.
And, when he’s not behind the wheel of his truck heading to the next plant call, McClure finds time to work on projects at home or spend time on his hobby of maintaining and flying an experimental aircraft, which he purchased from the builder after it was certified by the Experimental Aircraft Association. The certification allows McClure a front-row parking spot for his plane at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.
“You’ll never find me on the golf course because I just never got into that,” McClure notes. “But finding time to take my plane up is what I really enjoy. It’s just a very relaxing and peaceful experience.”