Welch Panel Discussion Covers Personnel, Competition

October 5th, 2015 by Casey Flores

What comes out of an industry leadership panel moderated by seasoned business veteran Suzy Welch? Wisdom on everything from personnel management to standing out among competitors.

Suzy Welch moderated a panel discussion with her husband Jack Welch and industry leaders at WFCT.

Suzy Welch moderated a panel discussion with her husband Jack Welch and industry leaders at WFCT. Window Film experts Ed Golda, Michael Schuch and Donna Wells were on the panel.

Joined by her husband and legendary businessman Jack Welch along with Donna Wells, regional sales manager for the Louver Shop; Michael Schuch, CEO of Graffiti Shield and Xlnt Tint; Ed Golda, president of Michigan Glass Coatings; A. Allan Skidmore, CEO of TGC International; David Rohlfing, vice president of Club Assist; Paul Heinauer, president of Glasspro Inc.; and Troy Mason, president of Technaglass, WFCT attendees got their fair share of enterprise information.

A Competitive Edge

The first topic tackled was how to differentiate a company that is thought about as a commodity by the consumers.

Wells, who oversees franchisees, shared how she has shifted in her sales approach for window film.

“I refer to it as an energy efficient glass coating and that seems to put my franchisees into a different level of competition,” she said.

Golda also said attending industry shows such as Auto Glass Week and WFCT is key to setting oneself apart.

“Education is key in everything in life,” he said. “I admire all you guys taking time out of your businesses to come to an event like this. Coming and sharing your own experiences and talking to other people, you realize you’re not the only person having those challenges.”

Jack Welch dug a little deeper, asking for substantial ways the business owners set themselves apart.

Schuch said at his company, he works backwards, starting with interviewing the client.

“We try to get into their head of what they’re actually looking for,” he said. “When they opened their computer and look for a company, what is it they liked and what is it they don’t like.”

He’s found that utmost professional presentation is the key to getting quality clients.

“When you walk into our building, outside of the window film displays on our wall, we get a lot of comments that it looks like a lawyers firm,” he said. “If a woman can walk into your company and feel comfortable, you’ve hit the nail on the head.”

Upcoming Problems

Suzy Welch continued the panel with a question on what’s to come in each industry.

“I wonder if we can go up to 20,000 feet for a moment and talk about the industry as a whole,” she said. “I wonder what keeps you up at night. When you look at the big looming problem, what is it?”

For many, their worries involved personnel.

“In my particular case, I didn’t want to buy myself a job,” Golda said. “I wanted to create a company that offers opportunity to people. Because our company is growing so much, the question is how do I get quality installers? The manufacturers aren’t spending any money to get quality installers in. How do you pick up an employee, train them and keep them around 52 weeks/year.”

Schuch said he experienced a common problem with some of his long-time employees.

“As the company grows, their skill sets are still the same,” he said. “They’re still great technicians but they’re not broadening their horizons. As the company grows, they ask why they aren’t coming with us.”

He added unless they bring something additional to the table such as sales experience or managerial qualities, they’ll remain where they are within the company.

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