K-State graduation year: 2005
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Management, Minor in Economics
Current Employer: Epoxy Coating Specialists
Position: Sales and Project Manager
How many times, if any, did you change your major during college?
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but my long-term goals involved owning a business. So I decided that a business degree would be versatile and prepare me with the skills needed to run a business.
- Delta Upsilon Fraternity
- Vice president of the Entrepreneurship Club
I was an intern for a large broadcasting company in Kansas City during my senior year. It was not really related to my current job other than learning people skills and some sales techniques. I grew up working several different types of construction jobs, which gave me general knowledge of the construction field.
When I graduated my first job was working in sales for a tool manufacturing company. It was an entry-level job, but it didn't offer the salary or the challenge I was looking for. I later learned that one of my parents’ friends was looking for a salesman for his construction business, so I called him and asked him to meet me for lunch to discuss the job. He offered me a job, and after a few weeks of negotiating I secured the position.
I drive about 1,000 miles a week making sales calls in eastern Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. On a typical day I will drive to an area where I have set up appointments with customers to look at prospective jobs. I will usually stop by or call other businesses in the area to see if they have any work coming up or if they are interested in meeting with me so that I can give them information about our company. I will also drop off company literature to potential customers in the area.
I get to go inside many different types of businesses and see how they operate and produce their products. From visiting industrial products, food production plants, sports stadiums, automotive assembly plants, and military bases, I feel like I have been able to see the inner workings of places that not too many people get to see. I have been fortunate to get to work very closely with K-State on remodeling throughout campus. I really like getting to spend time working in my alma mater on improving for future generations. I am currently working on the Memorial Stadium renovation which has been fun and challenging to work with such a historic structure. A few years ago I got to work on the Kauffman Stadium renovation and that was a fun experience as well. I also really like meeting new people and learning about their jobs. I really like seeing many unique and interesting jobs that I never knew existed. Learning about my customer's jobs and how their business' operate is not only fun and interesting on a personal level but it really helps me to build relationships as well.
I think that to be good at sales you have to be very persistent. I sometimes feel like I am annoying customers when I keep in constant contact with them. I think people are busy, and you have to keep at the front of their minds to make sales. Overall it pays off in the long run. However, it is difficult to be persistent when people don’t seem interested in talking to you. It is a challenge to find different ways to maintain steady contact with customers without annoying them.
Meet as many people as you can. The more business contacts and friends you make, the easier it is to receive their business in the end. Also, it is always a good idea to job shadow if you can find the time. That is a good opportunity to see the field first hand and ask questions.