Our Industry Person of the Week is Terry Iverson, President & CEO of Iverson & Co., and a leader working to change perceptions of the manufacturing industry. Here is what he had to share!
Q. How did you get started working in the Industry?
Terry: My family has been in manufacturing since 1925. My two uncles have owned machine shops, my grandfather, my dad, and myself have run our machine tool distribution and rebuilding companies since 1931. My brother also owns and runs a dial indicator manufacturing company that has been in the family since 1932.
When I was young, I worked summers in the rebuilding area and packed / shipped UPS shipments. I resisted entering the family business until I realized that my background and expertise in math and science was probably a good precursor to going into the family business in some capacity.
Having said that, I decided to get some engineering background and then ended up entering the industry working in my uncle’s subcontract machine shop during the summer. After getting married, I worked in purchasing (material) while attending night school. My dad ended up offering me a machine tool sales position shortly after, and the rest is history – as they say. Thirty-nine years later, here I am!
Q. What is your favorite part of your job? What are you most proud of?
Terry: I have always been proud that selling machine tools helps my customers make their products more accurately, efficiently and less costly. I have always been straight with my customers. If my offering is not a good match for them, I tell them that. I also work very hard to give my customers what I promised. This has earned both myself and my company a reputation in integrity that is stellar. That is probably the thing I am most proud of.
Many people in our industry are most concerned with money. I have always been taught to do the right thing and to be fair. While you may not make as much money, the product you get in reputation is priceless. No amount of money can get you that.
Q. What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
Terry: My standard line to anyone new to the industry is “to arrive early, leave late and tell the truth.” Beyond that, there are so many veterans that will go above and beyond to help someone new to succeed. Those of us who have succeeded in our careers want to pay knowledge forward. We know that there is a need and we (as a rule) will do everything we can to help someone new. By advising them to arrive early and leave late, it gives them the opportunity to show how eager they are to learn from those who have so much to offer in knowledge and expertise.
Q. Can you tell us about a cool project you worked on?
Terry: Cool projects? Where do I start?! I have worked with some of the largest, most respected and successful machine tool builders and manufacturers. I have helped advise with designs of new products, and evaluated and sold solutions for applications that were fascinating. I have additionally:
(1) sold machine tools for manufacturing components in motorcycles, fuel injection components, outboard marine engine, lawnmower blade components, aerospace components of all types;
(2) Was on the ground floor on several machine designs with new products in machine tools, for a few machine tool builders;
(3) Started a 501C3 to change perceptions about manufacturing careers (learn more at ChampionNow.org);
(5) mentored many young people both inside and outside our company.
I just feel so blessed and grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience all of this, and feel in some small way that I can give back to the industry and the next generation.
Thank you, Terry, for being our Industry Person of the Week and for your work with various institutions to expose young people to opportunities in the Manufacturing industry! We also very much appreciate your donation of your book to the Empowering Women in Industry raffle of which the proceeds will benefit SparkShop, a STEM-focused non-profit run by Shonali Ditz and Tiernan Murrell.