For me it seems like it’s been a lot longer than 30 years since my son Brett began helping out at Stahls’. I remember when he used to come in as a young boy, sit at my desk and repair letter and number cutting dies. It’s also one of his most vivid memories of lending a hand in the family business. But 1986 is his “official” start date so that is what was celebrated with a special cake and team gathering today at our Sterling Heights, Michigan location. Today Brett is the VP and General Manager of Stahls’, responsible for a division with over 270 team members. The anniversary recognition came as a complete surprise to Brett, who couldn’t stop saying, “You got me, you got me.” And even though he wasn’t prepared with a speech, he was able to recall many of his experiences in nearly every department–from fixing dies and folding boxes to working in yardage, production, shipping, international and customer service. When Brett worked the phones he remembers always being in the top three for sales–but not for the number of calls made. He had a tendency to spend a lot of time on the phone with customers. So even though his call volume was not the highest, he made up for it with his extensive product knowledge and ability to understand what the customers needed. Later in the day, he reminded me of another honor that was exclusively his–the first person to blow up one of our Water-Jet cutting machines. Brett worked with his Uncle Craig Stahl, helping to build and install the first Water-Jet cutters that Craig designed. During one session, Brett accidentally dropped a screwdriver into the electronic control box, causing a few fireworks and requiring the purchase of a new box. Brett has also been around for the birth of many new products and services, including Hotronix, CAD-CUT, CAD-Printz and too many to mention. He was also instrumental in pushing to make Cadworxlive available as web-based software, which was something not many software companies were doing back in 2005. There are a lot more Brett stories to be told, and hopefully he will find some time to share more of them here in the near future.
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