Smith Industrial Group
Smith Industrial Group Inc. was established in 2005 by Charles R. Smith. Charlie was an employee for 18 years at Western Reserve Industrial Sales (WRISCO). WRISCO, a well-established PTRA member, was in business for 30 years before being purchased by Smith. The longstanding principal relationships earned by WRISCO transferred seamlessly to what is now a part of Smith Industrial Group's successful future.
Charlie Smith graduated from the University of Akron. Upon graduation in 1987, Smith accepted his first and only position with WRISCO. Nearing the time of graduating from college, Smith knew he wanted to get into some type of sales and/or administration role. His business marketing professor arranged for Smith to interview with WRISCO, later that same day of interviewing he accepted the sales position.
In the beginning of his career, Smith covered many different markets. Product lines such as but not limited to Power Transmission, Industrial Hose and Rubber, and General Line Mill supplies. He had to work hard to train himself on specific products and spent a lot of time with Principal Manufacturers to understand the industry. Experienced that imbedded into Smith that Communication with Manufactures is critical. He learned not only to be a salesman but a representative as well. Learning to develop new business and nurture relationships.
In 1995, perhaps the nascent stage of WRISCO's succession planning, Charlie Smith was named Sales Manager. His objective to focus on putting the sales force into divisions. Smith enrolled into MRERF's CPMR program and became more involved in sales management. He spent time building the agency as he saw the importance of succession planning. Smith realize at that time that while succession planning is a fairly well-paved road, a lot of agencies operate without such a plan. Close to two decades of service with WRISCO and the experience from CPMR he felt convinced how important it was to have a succession plan in place - especially if you're a non-family member on the minority side of the business.
Upon taking purchasing WRISCO in 2005, Smith begun to understand how important it was to change the identity of the organization. Smith wanted to reflect what we offer as an agency in terms of core competencies, rather than to continue with what was done in the past. Part of this process was to emphasize the agency's Power Transmission Business, with an open mind for new opportunities.
Changing an agency's identity meant changing the agency's name. WRISCO was associated with being a diverse agency and Smith wanted to refresh the company name and outlook by creating his own brand. Smith was never big on putting his own name on an organization, but after checking in Ohio, he was finding that every other name he was interested in had already been taken - thus the name "Smith Industrial Group, Inc." was born.
Smith felt it was extremely important to communicate to manufacturers that while re-branding the company, he remained focused on our core goals as an agency. While we are an important resource for our customers, we are an equally important resource to our Principals. It was Smith Industrial Group's goal to expand our role with principals to ensure that they recognize our value and we continue to perceive this goal today. Smith worked with his principals during the succession process. All principals were appreciative of the communication and encouraged Smith throughout the process until the transition was accomplished.
In the beginning, Smith Industrial Group, Inc. was headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio. Smith started off with three salesmen and two office employees while representing nine principals in six states. Late in 2005, Smith Industrial Group had an opportunity to move locations to Glenwillow, Ohio. Smith felt this was the right move given the historical history in the manufacturing realm to occupy space in a historical building that once housed workers from Austin Powder Company, a gunpower facility.
Charlie is known for his synergistic communication between principal and customers. He knew he wanted to expand but in order to meet this goal, he understood the real goal was the success that comes from your tenure with principals. Currently, Smith Industrial Group, has nine salesmen and three office employees.
Smith is an advocate of participation in rep associations. It is important to participate if for no other reason than to support our profession. Such associations as PTRA, MANA, MRERF, NAHAD, and AIST. It is ideal in our industry to network, educate, and communicate.