In this issue of Insights, we talk with Dave Hanitz, an 11-year Insyte veteran who returns after 11 years working in the manufacturing industry. Dave joins the team as Business Development Manager. Here, he shares his memories working with Insyte, further sharpening his skills working for area manufacturers, and returning to where it all started.
Welcome back to Insyte, Dave! Take us back to the beginning of your time at Insyte, what you did when you left, and how you found your way back.
I’m originally from Western New York, and was in the consumer products business—the toy business—for a number of years. I went to work for Fisher-Price right out of school. I have a two-year degree from Erie Community College. Fisher-Price paid for my bachelor’s degree, which I obtained at night at Buffalo State College.
Around 1995, the opportunity presented itself to work at Insyte, which was looking for manufacturing engineers who had worked in industry to start working at the MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) Center, which was the startup of the whole process of working with small-to-midsize manufacturers. I joined the organization as one of the consultants.
What do you remember enjoying about working at Insyte back then?
The best part, the rewarding part for me, was the fact that we were actually helping Western New York companies improve. And not only the company themselves, but more importantly, the employees who worked for them.
How long did you stay at Insyte, and what led to your departure?
I was at Insyte for roughly 11 years, and I decided that I wanted to make a change. I had done a lot of implementing as a consultant, an outside person. I wanted to take what I had learned, and apply it as the primary person in the organization, leading organization change from the inside.
I went to work for the MIBRO Group, which is a North American distribution company. I was Director of Operations for them. After that I went to a sheet metal fabrication company, ATECH-SEH Metal Fabricators. Both of those companies were customers of mine when I was doing project work at Insyte. We made a variety of products that were precision fabrications and sub assemblies. After that, I went to work for an international company, Brady Corporation, which is based in Milwaukee. They have plants all around the world—over 7,000 employees. I was hired as the Value Stream Manager for the distribution center here in Buffalo. Then, having been there about two years, the opportunity to return to Insyte as the Business Development Manager came up.
What skills did you return to Insyte with?
I’d done the project work. I’d been out in the work force as the person in the lead chair, if you will, for these other organizations, and from a process perspective was able to return to the consulting field. I now have both the hands-on experience and the project experience. It was a natural transition back into Insyte, having now had the experience where I can sit across the desk from a business owner, a lead person, someone in senior management, and have those conversations about how to improve the business.
You’ve really come full circle, haven’t you?
I now have the project experience, I know the structure, I know the book side, and I also have had the practical experience to deliver on results. Each of those organizations, when I went in, they were healthier when I left than when I joined. They’re more profitable. And it’s all driven by customer satisfaction, in each of those cases. I’m an engineer by education, and by my experiences, this is really a relationship role.
There’s a good core of people here at Insyte. The results continue to be positive. We have a very good group here.