Product innovation supported by people with extensive industry and market experience have been the foundation and backbone of the Ring-O-Matic Corp. for over 60 years. Requirements and expectations of the contractor continue to change, which is why CEO Brian Metcalf continues to build on the company’s foundation and align with the expertise needed to make sure customers are taken care of at a level that exceeds expectations.
In December of 2017, Metcalf purchased the Pella, Iowa, manufacturing company known for its innovation and dedication to the vacuum excavation market. “The timing was right,” Metcalf said, “And, of course, location was a prime consideration.”
Metcalf had returned to his hometown of Pella to serve as Ring-O-Matic’s chief executive officer after a 24-year career in top leadership positions with industry-leading manufacturers. His career began with Vermeer dealerships in 1990, which positioned him for key leadership roles at Vermeer Corp. and then HammerHead Trenchless in 2007. He was acquainted with Ring-O-Matic before leaving his position as President and CEO of HammerHead in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, to lead the company based in his hometown in January of 2018.
Because of his extensive knowledge of the customer base and the market, Metcalf has methodically refocused and aligned his company with talent and experience both in manufacturing, as well as those engaging customers day in and day out.
As part of this refocus, Metcalf has reinvested in facilities, product research, engineering and talent in manufacturing by adding additional fabrication space and a state-of-the-art R&D facility on the Pella campus.
The changes began with significant personnel additions in manufacturing. “Our customers expect timely delivery of product to allow them to get the job done safely and on time. As a result, we recognized we needed additional assemblers and fabricators to get product out the door on their schedule, not ours,” said Metcalf.
With the addition of staffing, leadership in those areas was another focus. Eighteen-year Ring-O-Matic employee Karl Rozeboom assumed the General Manager role with focus over manufacturing. Rozeboom said, “I have watched our product evolve over the years and will use that experience to make sure we continue to provide high quality and reliable products to our customers. With this realignment, we will be able to deliver quicker, and provide a product that is cutting edge and built to last.”
With Rozeboom focused on the manufacturing side of the business, sales, distribution and customer engagement became the next focus for Ring-O-Matic. Metcalf said, “Our customers want to deal with people who know what they do on the job and how they do it. It was important for us to position ourselves with someone that knew the industry, could advance our distribution channel and grow our brand.”
Shortly after Brian acquired the company, Tony Bokhoven was hired with leadership responsibility over sales, marketing and dealer development. Bokhoven has over 20 years of experience in the underground and municipal market before joining Ring-O-Matic. Bokhoven held various roles at the Vermeer Corp. for 20 years working closely with the Vermeer dealer network, product development and marketing departments. His most recent role in the company was developing the training and development team which specialized in training sales people, dealership technicians and equipment operators with programs like the accredited HDD circuit operator training program.
“Understanding the customer and how they do their work is a primary focus of mine. There are lots of options for equipment, but we want to sell the right tool for the right application, not just bundle a product into a sale. Having an intimate understanding of how municipalities and underground contractors do their job has always been a top priority for me,” Bokhoven said. “It’s important to us as a company to partner with our customers. We want them to know we are as invested in their success as they are, which is why we are constantly working to develop product that operates efficiently and performs by using technology unmatched in the industry.”
Metcalf and Bokhoven understand that its more than just selling a product, its about having experience in the field to support their machines. Jim Zylstra will continue to be a Regional Manager for Canada and the Northeast. Along with his territory, Zylstra plays a key role in working with municipalities on bids and purchasing programs. “It’s my goal to make sure we make it as easy as possible to do business with us,” said Zylstra.
“Areas like Texas, the Southwest and Florida are major markets for soft excavation,” Bokhoven said. With application and customer development in mind, Ring-O-Matic will partner with their dealers in select areas as well as taking a direct approach to better serve their customers.
In the Southeast region, Cole Hemphill serves as regional Manager. Hemphill brings years of direct hands on machine experience to his customers. “Cole’s local connection to contractors in his territory and partnering with our distribution network will serve contractors well in completing jobs efficiently and on time,” Metcalf said.
Internationally Ring-O-Matic will leverage its Industry contacts within Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, while maintaining a dealer presence in Australia and New Zealand
“I am very committed to this company, our team members and our customers worldwide. The team we have in place has the knowledge and skill to position us in a favorably in the market,” Metcalf said.