Chad Sloan 36 min

Decoding Aftermarket Success: Strategies and Reflections with Chad Sloan


In this episode of the Aftermarket Champions Podcast, host Vivek Joshi interviews Chad Sloan (Director, Global CS&I Sales) from Axcelis Technologies, who emphasizes the importance of starting with customer challenges to develop effective aftermarket solutions. He highlights that understanding customer needs allows for the creation of standardized solutions, crucial for managing limited resources efficiently. Chad points out that OEMs have a unique advantage due to their comprehensive capabilities and global infrastructure, which can be leveraged to provide tailored solutions. Additionally, he stresses the need for having the right people to build trust and relationships with customers, which is essential for successful engagement and problem-solving. Chad also discusses the critical role of the sales force, advocating for the use of tools and automation to minimize administrative burdens and maximize customer interaction time. This approach ensures that salespeople can focus on developing relationships and understanding customer needs, rather than being bogged down by internal tasks. A significant challenge identified is the 'silver tsunami,' referring to the retiring of experienced workers and the loss of their valuable knowledge. Chad suggests that AI could be a solution to capture and retain this knowledge, but it must be implemented carefully to avoid security risks. Reflecting on his career, Chad notes that successful aftermarket service providers distinguish themselves through a deep understanding of their market, strong customer relationships, and meticulous attention to detail. Mastery of data and detailed knowledge builds credibility and trust with customers, which are crucial for long-term success. For those beginning their careers, Chad advises being curious, open to new opportunities, and willing to embrace uncomfortable challenges. He believes that while luck plays a role, sustained success is driven by hard work and making the most of opportunities. The conversation concludes with a reflection on the balance between luck and personal effort in achieving career success. Chad's journey illustrates that while initial breaks may come by chance, sustained success results from hard work, attention to detail, and maintaining strong customer relationships.



0:00

Hi folks, welcome back to season 2 of the Aftermarket Champions podcast. I'm

0:05

your host Vivek Joshi,

0:06

founder and CEO of Entitled. We help equipment manufacturers identify,

0:11

prioritize and sell

0:12

aftermarket and service solutions to their install base. Insights, our purpose-

0:17

built

0:17

install base intelligence platform, is used by leading OEMs globally to drive

0:22

revenue growth

0:22

and improve customer experience and satisfaction. I'm delighted to be back

0:26

finally enriching journey

0:28

into the world of aftermarket excellence. Throughout the season, we'll engage

0:32

in an insightful

0:33

discussion with industry leaders, exploring innovative strategies and

0:36

invaluable insights

0:37

to propel us forward in the industrial aftermarket sector. So, without further

0:42

ado, let's embark

0:43

on this journey together. Okay, good afternoon everybody. This is Vivek Joshi,

0:54

your host of

0:54

the Aftermarket Champions podcast. I'm really excited to welcome our guest

0:59

today, Chad Sloane

1:00

from Excellus. Excellus is a semiconductor equipment manufacturer and Chad is a

1:04

director of CSNI.

1:06

I'll let him explain what CSNI means and Chad is based in Valle Durham, North

1:11

Carolina.

1:11

With that, Chad, welcome to the show. Thanks for being our guest and love to

1:16

hear a little bit

1:16

about yourself, a little bit of Excellus and more importantly, what does CSNI

1:20

stand for and

1:22

what does it mean in the context of aftermarketing service? Thanks Vivek. I

1:26

appreciate you having

1:26

me on your show. I'm excited to be here. So, yeah, let me a little bit about my

1:32

background. So,

1:34

probably best to kind of give you a sense of where I started. So, right out of

1:38

college, I was in

1:39

the Navy and had an opportunity to spend a few years as an officer working in

1:44

reactor power.

1:46

So, I was nuclear trained, did that for a while, had great time, great

1:50

opportunities, but decided

1:52

it was time to leave and do something different right about that time when I

1:55

was transitioning out.

1:56

In 2000, Intel was building their latest factory in Arizona. I was from Arizona

2:02

originally looking

2:03

to get back there. I was able to leverage my leadership capabilities, my

2:08

technical background,

2:10

and the fact that I wanted to be in Arizona and got a job with applied

2:14

materials in the field,

2:17

working as a field service manager. So, the very beginning of my corporate

2:20

career started in the

2:22

aftermarket. So, spent a few years learning the industry, learning what it

2:26

takes to hire and train

2:28

field service engineers, get them ready to install equipment, get them ready to

2:32

support contracts.

2:34

And yeah, after a few years, had an opportunity to move into the sales side of

2:37

things. So, still

2:38

in the aftermarket, still thinking about how do we position solutions to

2:43

support our customers

2:44

in a manufacturing environment, make them successful, had the opportunity to

2:49

work with a wide variety

2:50

of customers in that space, some very large, some very small. So, a lot of

2:55

different challenges

2:56

worked with a lot of different types of customers. Also, during that time,

3:01

decided that we were

3:02

tired of the brown and the heat and looked for more trees and water. And that

3:07

led to a move to

3:09

Raleigh, North Carolina, where I am now, as you mentioned. I also had an

3:13

opportunity then to move

3:15

to different industries. So, I changed from semiconductor manufacturing into

3:19

contract manufacturing,

3:20

and spent a few years selling design and manufacturing services for a large

3:25

tier one contract manufacturer.

3:27

Still in a sales role, but really moving now from a more of a farming into a

3:32

hunting role,

3:32

looking for companies that were looking to change their manufacturing strategy,

3:38

companies that were building electronic-based devices and selling design and

3:42

manufacturing

3:43

services to them. Then, COVID hit and all of the related supply chain

3:48

constraints that went

3:48

along with that. And I started noticing what was happening to all of my

3:52

customers, the semiconductor

3:54

manufacturers, and what was going on with our bonds. And that sort of thing,

3:58

and decided maybe I

3:59

didn't pick the best time to get out of the industry, had an opportunity to

4:02

come back in

4:03

with Excelis as the director of Global CS9 Sales. So, CS9 at Excelis stands for

4:09

customer solutions

4:10

and innovation. That's basically how we describe the aftermarket. It's how we

4:13

describe the solutions

4:15

that we offer once the equipment has been sold, installed and qualified. Our

4:19

customers have to

4:21

make decisions about how to support that equipment over sometimes decades. That

4:25

's where we come in.

4:26

It's interesting. You kind of glossed over something which I think was quite

4:31

creditable. You were a USNA guy, if I remember correctly.

4:33

I did gloss over that. Yes, so, an AVLIS class 95.

4:38

Exactly, which is pretty impressive. And then you're a Navy nuclear guy,

4:41

which is also not a shabby place to be because I've been around Navy nuclear

4:44

guys. And it's a

4:45

pretty demanding posting, if I would say so.

4:49

Yeah, that's probably an understatement. What I learned in the Navy was the

4:53

amount of pain

4:54

involved with your job increases exponentially with the rewards that they give

4:59

you. So, the

5:00

nuclear signing bonus was attractive for a college student. And I learned a lot

5:06

. Don't

5:07

get me wrong, but it was intense. But I'm going to digress for a little bit to

5:12

pick on this Navy

5:13

nuclear experience as it relates to services. If you think about Navy nuclear,

5:17

the service level

5:20

agreements that you need to have in place with your vendors and with your own

5:24

maintenance teams

5:25

have got to be extraordinary. Both from the perspective of reliability and

5:30

making sure

5:30

the reactors run and things happen, but safety. And so, there's a whole

5:35

complication than the

5:36

service supply chain and the service process and delivery process that I have

5:42

to believe is

5:42

probably a... We all think and tell with copy exact is a degree of demanding

5:48

perfection. I have to believe that Navy nuclear was probably one notch above

5:53

that.

5:53

Yeah, we didn't turn a valve unless a book told us to. When you think about it,

6:00

it makes sense.

6:01

If you're working on an aircraft carrier and off the coast of another nation,

6:05

the last thing

6:06

going to be doing is discharging radioactive fluid into international water. So

6:11

, yeah,

6:11

there's a tremendous amount of oversight that goes into it, but also a

6:14

tremendous amount of

6:15

training. So, I spent a year in school following my formal college education

6:20

just to learn how to

6:21

do these things. Part of my pain was personal because I was a computer science

6:25

major. So,

6:26

there was no ability to leverage that degree into learning nuclear power. So, I

6:32

was drinking

6:34

from a fire hose. But if you think about that experience and you think of you,

6:38

you were even

6:39

for... Even though you worked for applied materials, you were assigned to the

6:42

intel account as you

6:43

put in your LinkedIn. And again, intel is a pretty demanding customer. The copy

6:47

exact philosophy of

6:48

maybe it's not quite only turn the valve with a book say. So, but it's almost

6:54

that degree of

6:55

expectation that I haven't placed for making sure the process is running

6:59

exactly the way they should.

7:00

Yeah, no question. I was fortunate that I had the opportunity to transition,

7:07

working for a top tier equipment provider, working hand in hand with a world-

7:12

class manufacturer.

7:13

I mean, being a field service manager, you're in there at all of the past down,

7:17

sometimes on

7:18

weekends, and you're working closely with engineers, again, to get equipment

7:22

installed,

7:23

get it qualified, make sure it's running. They're getting the maximum amount of

7:27

value out of that

7:27

capital equipment. Then also learning, okay, I'm in Arizona, which is a high

7:31

volume manufacturing

7:32

site. Where are all the things coming from that all the developments being done

7:36

? How are those

7:38

processes working? How are they getting transferred? And back in the day, their

7:43

technology was turning

7:44

over very quickly. So, they had to have a very robust process for taking this

7:47

knowledge that's

7:48

developed by the original engineers transferring out to the high volume

7:52

manufacturing facilities.

7:54

Yeah, it was very robust. I think CopyExact is probably an accurate way to

7:58

describe it.

8:00

So, yeah. In terms of that mindset, you worked that applied for 15, 16 years,

8:08

if I remember correctly,

8:09

applied by itself, by the way. It was not shabby in terms of its mindset, in

8:15

terms of its discipline

8:16

and rigor and just a world-class manufacturing and service experience they put

8:21

to work.

8:22

How do those experiences collectively inform you are thinking about how does

8:27

one run a service

8:28

business? How does one run a field service operation? How does one think about

8:32

spares

8:33

and availability? Because again, Navy Nuclear, you better have spares available

8:37

in the applied

8:38

situation of Intel. You better have spares available because you can't take a

8:41

fab down.

8:41

How does that influence your thinking about services and aftermarket?

8:46

I think I learned early on that the needs and the interest can vary depending

8:54

on the situation.

8:55

So, for example, when you're a parts salesperson, you hear a lot about cost and

9:01

you're getting

9:03

beat up on that regularly. But then suddenly, as soon as that part isn't

9:06

available and the

9:07

machine is down and they can't make product, that cost becomes a lot less

9:11

important and now

9:12

availability is important. So, I learned early on that there's really a balance

9:16

you need to strike

9:17

and what that means is for a customer that translates to value for them. The

9:22

availability of resources

9:23

is important, but it has to be cost effective. I think all those things are

9:27

part of the calculus

9:28

that they do to come up with the best solution for their manufacturing

9:32

challenge.

9:33

But if you think about availability is important, value is important. You

9:38

clearly have a

9:39

egregious pricing. You've got to make sure that the pricing is reasonable yet.

9:43

The premium is

9:43

unavailable because you want to make sure the line is always running. In the

9:46

case of Intel,

9:46

the reactor is always powered and running without any failure issues. In the

9:51

case of an

9:51

even the eclipse submarine or destroyer or nymphs as you were in the carrier.

9:56

You know, the thought process I've always had that carried this from my

10:01

experience 25 plus years

10:03

years ago at General Electric, which is you really needed to understand the

10:09

attributes and

10:09

the characteristics of your install base, of the machine you are maintaining

10:14

and servicing.

10:15

Because if you did, then you would have these plans ready. Then you would be

10:18

ready with the

10:19

right skill at the right place. Did that mindset go into your thinking and

10:24

apply it as well?

10:24

Yeah, I think it's an OEM story. It's not just an applied story. It's not just

10:30

an

10:30

accelerastore. I think it's those stories as well. But when you're at the OEM

10:34

and you've

10:35

built this machine and a customer has purchased it, now they're trying to

10:38

decide how do I get the

10:39

most out of this capital investment I've made. As the OEM, you have the ability

10:44

to offer

10:45

all of those solutions and they can be tailored to that particular tool type.

10:49

So

10:50

applied has many different types of tools or involved in many different steps

10:53

of the

10:53

manufacturing process. The requirement is to support an edge tool. We're going

10:57

to vary from a C&P

10:58

tool versus a PBD. A lot of different considerations that need to be made. The

11:03

OEM is usually the

11:04

best position to be able to offer the holistic, most comprehensive solutions.

11:08

So whether it's that

11:09

individual part to covering the entire spectrum of needs for a customer's unsc

11:16

heduled downtime,

11:17

for example, that's really where the OEM is best positioned. But if the OEM isn

11:22

't thinking about

11:23

those things and really focusing on them and doing the due diligence to

11:28

understand what the

11:29

most comprehensive solution is for a customer, then they may start picking off

11:34

pieces of it and

11:35

saying, "Well, I know you can give me this part or these sets of parts, but I

11:38

can get them cheaper

11:39

over here and this company does offer some supply chain guarantees, so they'll

11:45

start

11:45

pre-picking those apart." One of the other things that appeals to me about some

11:52

of the

11:52

experiences you've had, and I go back to the conversation I've had with some of

11:56

my other guests

11:57

in the last three weeks, is that as an aftermarketing service leader, being in

12:03

the field as you are,

12:04

field service and so on and so forth, at the FAMS, the only people who are in

12:09

constant touch,

12:10

who have the best relationships over a long time with your customer tend to be

12:15

the service people.

12:16

Because in your case, you were literally in the FAD, in the case of other

12:21

vendors,

12:22

the service people are the ones who are constantly or more frequently visiting

12:25

the customer,

12:26

seeing how the products are performing and so on and so forth. They're picking

12:29

up stuff in the

12:30

hallways as they call it, right? And walking, talking to Joe in the machine

12:33

shop, how does

12:34

Santa was going? Does that have a role in your thinking in terms of how you

12:40

think of the strategy,

12:41

how you think about the connectivity to your customer and going back into the

12:45

product side as

12:45

well? Absolutely. I found when I was in the sales role, those were often my

12:51

best leads in terms of,

12:53

"Hey, we've got this issue over here. They're considering this. I think we

12:56

might be able to do

12:57

this." That information was oftentimes coming from our field engineers. If I

13:04

needed to develop a

13:05

relationship with a certain stakeholder in a factory, they probably either knew

13:08

someone who

13:09

either knew them or they knew them. There's a network that the field service

13:13

engineers offer.

13:15

Exactly like you said, because they're in there constantly. They're getting the

13:18

call to go in and

13:19

work on the tools. They're working with the customer's equipment engineers on

13:23

solving these

13:24

problems. Generally, the guidance I give now to new aftermarket salespeople is

13:31

get to know your

13:32

local field service team. They're going to really help you out. They're going

13:35

to help you be successful.

13:36

Yes, you absolutely have to develop the customer relationship. That's part of

13:40

the job, but this

13:41

field service engineer team is going to be crucial in helping you get there.

13:43

That's an interesting observation you made about making sure your salespeople

13:48

actually pay

13:49

attention and become friends with the local field service people. The

13:55

experience I've had

13:55

in the last 25-30 years is that the best salespeople actually understand that

14:00

relationship and

14:00

invest in it. I hate to say this, but the "run of the mill rep" doesn't really

14:08

understand that.

14:08

They're disadvantaged because of that. Have you been able to, in your sales

14:14

career, make that a

14:16

maybe training requirement is the wrong way to think about it. But some

14:20

requirements say,

14:20

"Look, you have to go talk to the person in XYZ branch," because he or she will

14:25

tell you

14:25

what's going really going on in the customer. Is that something you guys have,

14:29

you certainly

14:30

have tried to formalize if not to come to the end? I found it's most beneficial

14:34

when,

14:35

if we're doing formal training or doing workshops or having account reviews

14:39

that you have both

14:40

sales and service in the room at the same time. At the end of the day, whatever

14:46

the aftermarket

14:47

sales team is developing and proposing and selling, the service team is going

14:51

to have to go off and

14:51

execute. Their fates are intertwined. I think it's in practice, yes, that's

15:00

absolutely

15:00

hard of something that we, today and in my previous life, we've tried to deploy

15:04

because it is crucial

15:06

to our success. So you spent a few years in the Navy, you spent a bunch of

15:11

years that applied,

15:12

did a little stint in contract manufacturing, then he gave me a excelis a

15:15

couple years ago.

15:16

If I remember correctly, when you and I first met, you mentioned that this is a

15:20

maybe not a brand new initiative, but kind of new initiative, right? You always

15:27

had the

15:28

customer service and aftermarket business or department, if you may, and excel

15:32

is. But now,

15:33

with you and your colleagues, you guys are trying to make it a more formal,

15:38

more full-sum activity.

15:40

What's the situation? What's the story there? Why did the excelis management

15:46

decide to do that?

15:47

Yeah, good question. So Excel has been around for 45 years, right? We're well

15:52

established within

15:53

the industry. We're experts in iron implantation. We've been public about this

15:59

and we've certainly

16:00

benefited from all of the scaling up in power devices, thinking electric

16:05

vehicles, that sort of thing.

16:07

But I think you're right. I think it is a relatively new story compared to

16:13

maybe other

16:14

equipment providers. I think other equipment providers have been putting a lot

16:17

of focus,

16:18

a lot of structure, building a business segment around the aftermarket. I think

16:24

it excelis. We're

16:25

recognizing the benefits of doing that. We're recognizing that we have

16:30

equipment that

16:31

have been in factories for decades. It's not just an excelis story. That's, I

16:34

think, true for

16:35

pretty much any equipment provider. There's a tremendous amount of aftermarket

16:40

lifetime value

16:41

that we can recognize when we do it right. I think that's really what's driven

16:48

the recent focus.

16:51

At the end of the day, it's also all about solving our customers' most pressing

16:54

problems. If we're

16:56

not thinking about the challenges they have and crafting solutions to solve

17:00

them, it really won't

17:02

matter what we do. It doesn't matter if we're building a great hammer when our

17:07

customers need

17:08

a screwdriver. We need to be thoughtful and cautious in how we approach it.

17:13

The thought that came to my mind when you and I met many months ago and started

17:18

talking about

17:18

this whole notion of aftermarketment services is you had

17:22

turbine experience, nuclear, maybe, reactor experience. You had a bunch of

17:27

capital equipment and applied materials to make tools for semiconductor

17:32

manufacturing.

17:33

Now you're back in semiconductor manufacturing again to some degree. How much

17:39

of customer service

17:42

last aftermarket improvements that you guys are doing is related to your semic

17:49

onductor experience

17:50

or just broadly speaking services experience. What's more important in the

17:59

domain of the market

18:00

you're in or the functional domain? I think I understand what you're asking.

18:05

When you think

18:06

about the aftermarket, sometimes it can be an afterthought. Companies sometimes

18:14

are focused on

18:15

selling the equipment because that's a lot of money you can make right from

18:19

that one sale.

18:20

They're not thinking about over the long term what that asset can represent in

18:26

terms of future

18:27

value. In my experience, understanding that market, what that looks like,

18:35

working on defining what that looks like, companies don't tend to put a lot of

18:41

effort into it.

18:42

An effort means understanding the details, understanding what do the factory

18:48

economics look like for

18:50

the factory and down to the tool level? What are the things that are impacting

18:54

their decisions on

18:56

that the sourcing decisions they're making? First of all, understanding the

19:02

market associated

19:03

with the aftermarket is important. There's a lot of detail in there. I think

19:06

companies tend to

19:08

try away from that because it's hard because it's complicated. We don't tend to

19:13

have good systems

19:14

to set up to measure that. If anything, my background is starting with being in

19:21

nuclear power and

19:22

having to worry about at the atomic level what's going on and tracing that drop

19:26

of water through

19:26

the system. It's trying to train me to think more about those details. I think

19:31

some of the

19:32

roles I've had in my background, starting with being in field operations and

19:38

seeing the way our

19:41

customers think, the way they approach problems, the way they approach setting

19:44

up their manufacturing,

19:47

getting the ramp complete, getting to market, those of all, I think, honed my

19:53

approach to the

19:56

aftermarket. If I'm answering your question correctly, the answer is, yes, my

20:01

background has led to

20:03

me being in this position. Absolutely. I think the next question that comes to

20:08

mind when you

20:09

describe what you just did is, there clearly was a collection of experiences

20:13

all the way back

20:14

to the Navy and applied to today that inform how you think about service and

20:19

how you think about

20:20

building this CS&I growth engine, if you may, at XLS. One of those two or three

20:27

things that

20:28

in your mind are really at the heart of how you're thinking about you and your

20:33

colleagues around

20:34

you are thinking about building up the aftermarket of services, business at XLS

20:39

. What are those

20:41

carry-fowards if you may? Good question. For me, it generally starts with the

20:51

customer. Every time

20:54

salesperson brings a challenge to me now, I find myself starting with, what is

20:59

the customer

21:00

problem we're trying to solve here? When we think about creating an aftermarket

21:04

business and how

21:05

do you approach it, it's got to start with the challenges that they have.

21:10

Fortunately for us,

21:11

we do have industry standards that I think companies tend to rely on in terms

21:16

of equipment

21:17

productivity, in uptime and downtime and how that's all measured. We can craft

21:23

solutions that are

21:24

tailored to that, which allows us to standardize those solutions. Standard

21:28

ization is important

21:30

because we have a limited amount of resources at our disposal to support those

21:34

solutions.

21:35

I start with, what is the customer challenge we're trying to solve in

21:41

everything we do?

21:42

Then we've got to think about, okay, what are the types of solutions we can

21:46

offer as an OEM?

21:48

That's where we need to think about what are the, that's really a core strength

21:54

for us. We can

21:55

offer solutions that are more comprehensive than anyone else. We have a global

22:00

infrastructure in

22:01

place. We have all these capabilities. How do we bring these things to bear to

22:05

offer our solution,

22:06

customers a solution that is tailored to the problem that they're trying to

22:10

solve?

22:10

Then how do we get the right people in place to go have these discussions,

22:16

develop these

22:16

relationships, build that level of trust where they're willing to even listen

22:19

to us,

22:20

tell us about their problems, and allow us to even discuss our solutions?

22:25

When I again go back and rewind the tapes as it may be about the conversations

22:30

I've had in the

22:31

last few months with your peers and other companies, they also say a couple of

22:36

different things related

22:37

to the last point you mentioned, which is it's one thing to have a technology

22:42

understanding and

22:43

some of them have offerings and so on and so forth like you said. But the last

22:47

part about

22:47

people is really important. To some degree, it's about getting the right people

22:53

who understand the

22:54

customer, starting with the customer if you may, as a starting part of the

22:59

process,

23:00

it's understanding people who have the empathy and the experience to bring that

23:06

to bear to the

23:06

customer. But the third thing is also coming back to the conversation about how

23:11

does it manifest

23:12

itself in terms of the delivery of service? Do your customer also is what

23:16

matters? So how does

23:18

that people role play out there? Yeah, so the people part is important because

23:28

if our sales

23:31

force, for example, or if any sales force is too focused on internal

23:36

administration or

23:38

trying to do manual things or doing things that take them away from being in

23:41

front of the customer,

23:43

that's time they don't have in front of the customer, right? And at the end of

23:46

the day,

23:46

that's the job is being in front of the customer, developing those

23:50

relationships, working with them.

23:51

So for me, one of my particular areas of interest is what are the tools that

23:56

are available? What

23:56

are the things that we can do to free up time for the sales force? Things that

24:00

we can automate

24:02

more, make less manual, things that we can maybe off shift elsewhere, but

24:08

ultimately give them more

24:08

time to spend more time with the customer and develop those relationships. So

24:13

finding those

24:15

tools and enabling those capabilities is a vital part of what we're doing.

24:21

You know, there's something you said to me, one of the recent conversations we

24:26

had,

24:26

which weirdly enough, I had a very similar contextual discussion with some

24:31

other customers,

24:31

which is companies like Excelis, supply materials, so for the matter more or

24:35

less every single customer

24:36

of ours today and the people we talked to have a huge number of what I would

24:40

say 10 year workers,

24:42

both field and office who are leaving or retiring. And I remember the classic

24:48

story you told me about

24:49

you know, this person, you guys went and troubleshooting a installation

24:53

situation. This

24:53

this is a 30 or 40 or 30 of almost 40 veteran of Excelis. And he remembered

24:59

that he'd put

24:59

something in some Microsoft shared folder somewhere. Right. How do you, when I

25:05

say you as an Excelis is

25:06

one, but clearly applied as a similar problem and tell us a similar problem,

25:09

how do companies

25:10

kind of overcome these challenges of replacing or being able to not get caught

25:20

short handed or

25:21

short-knowledge with all this stuff leaving the factory, leaving the office

25:25

these days,

25:25

right in terms of retirements. Yeah, that's a big deal by the way. That story

25:28

you told me the story

25:29

I've heard that like multiple times it is for next, right? I'm sure it's not a

25:33

unique story. Yeah,

25:34

I think it's a transition that's going on. Yeah, I think we like to refer to it

25:40

as the

25:40

as the silver tsunami. But yeah, there's this tremendous amount of brain power

25:46

that's been

25:46

developed over the years in our industry and the amount of tribal knowledge.

25:51

And you know,

25:52

people are getting to the point where they're thinking about, okay, what am I,

25:55

you know,

25:56

I think I'm ready to go do something different. But you know, that knowledge,

26:01

that capability

26:02

walks out of the door. What do you do to replace it or harness it? You know, my

26:08

perspective is AI

26:09

offers potential solutions for that. I think it also offers some, there's a lot

26:15

of concern

26:17

around AI and what it means and how to use it, right? So I think one of the

26:22

challenges that I see

26:23

companies struggling with is how do we take advantage of all the capabilities

26:28

this offers,

26:29

but in a way that doesn't, you know, undermine or inadvertently divulge

26:34

sensitive information

26:35

to others where we don't want it, right? So I think that's kind of the space we

26:42

're in.

26:42

It seems like, you know, there's this capability, but how do we deploy it

26:46

safely? How do we tap into it

26:48

without the point of the company? Yeah. You know, if I would also think about

26:55

your career over the

26:56

last 20 plus years, you've got, you've had some pretty amazing experience in

27:00

terms of the people

27:01

you've been working with, right? The contract manufacturer applied, applied

27:05

with Intel, the Navy,

27:06

now XLS. You know, you've seen a, what I would call a pretty high level of

27:11

performance in terms

27:12

of aftermarketing services with all these companies you've been at. Or you may

27:16

have been exposed to

27:17

other people as well who maybe don't perform as well as your previous

27:20

experiences in terms of,

27:22

you know, service of market. What in your mind is the differentiator or separ

27:30

ator,

27:31

breathe those, what I would call aftermarketing service champions versus those

27:35

that aren't,

27:35

right? Because you've probably seen in your career a pretty good spectrum of

27:40

performance,

27:40

if you may. What's the one that separates champions from the others?

27:43

Yeah, no, great question. You know, I think there's probably a few things that

27:49

I would key in on it.

27:50

And first, it starts with, I'll say, kind of understanding the sandbox that you

27:55

play in, right?

27:56

So, knowing where does my aftermarket story begin and where does it end? Who

28:02

are the sources of

28:04

competition within that space? And how can I differentiate what I have to offer

28:09

from all these

28:10

other solutions, right? See, you have to work hard to also define your market

28:16

opportunities,

28:17

right? Understand, you know, where am I selling into? What is it I'm selling?

28:22

And then who am I

28:23

selling to, right? So, again, customer relationship is crucial. And this is

28:27

something that's saved

28:28

me more than once in my personal career, where when your customer really wants

28:33

you to win,

28:34

that really goes a long way. You still need to do the work to enable them to

28:39

convince their

28:40

internal stakeholders. But having that relationship and at the right level of

28:44

relationship is vital.

28:47

And finally, I think the other thing I'll say is what I've seen in terms that

28:53

differentiates

28:54

those who are really successful from those who are mildly to otherwise is

28:58

really understanding

29:00

the details of the aftermarket, right? So much of what we do is built around a

29:07

lot of mundane,

29:08

boring, but a ton of data. When you really have mastered the finer points of

29:14

that data, it not

29:16

only brings credibility that, you know, when you're engaging with your

29:19

customers and you can

29:21

demonstrate that you've mastered all of this information around this market

29:24

that you're playing in,

29:26

you know, now they build trust with them. And ultimately, that's what enables

29:29

your success.

29:30

So, you know, I tell my boss this regularly. I think it was Edward Stimming who

29:35

said,

29:36

"In God, we trust all others must bring data." So I love that quote. I kind of

29:40

built a career

29:41

around it. Absolutely. But I think it was actually interesting. So a lot of

29:44

people have definitely

29:45

pointed out the notion of relationships and who you sell to, who you serve with

29:49

, what else,

29:50

you know, all the stuff that goes along with that. But I think the point he

29:53

just made is actually

29:54

really important also attention to detail. And, you know, the way I also think

29:57

about it is,

29:58

and by the way, I'm hardly the paragon of what I'm about to say, but attention

30:02

to detail matters.

30:03

And, you know, it's like the little things, if you do the little things right,

30:08

then people

30:08

around you will have trust that you can do the big things right. Right? And so

30:12

to some way,

30:12

I think being able to get that credibility, bring forward the context and the

30:17

context of confidence,

30:19

your customer that you've done all the little things right, the detail stuff

30:22

right,

30:23

will give him or her confidence that, yeah, yeah, chat, excel, wherever it

30:26

might be,

30:27

can really serve me at this higher level that I expect them to. And I think

30:32

that's an under

30:34

appreciated aspect of execution, by the way, yeah, when I think about it.

30:38

Fully agree. So, you know, you think about your career again, you've got some

30:43

amazing experiences

30:44

and, you know, there's clearly somebody who's now a 22 to 25 year old who's now

30:48

coming back and

30:49

coming into the workforce for the first time. And they may stumble into

30:52

services like you did,

30:53

right? They may stumble into one of the situations where they wind up in an

30:56

Intel applied material

30:57

situation where they're kind of thrown into a fab. You know, once the advice

31:00

you'd give them in

31:01

terms of how they should think about career progression, because, you know, you

31:05

took a path,

31:06

you kind of stuck with it and done really well, right? And so, once your advice

31:10

is somebody early

31:11

in career and who may want to build up an aftermarketman services background

31:14

here?

31:15

You know, I guess I would say what I've found that's been effective for me is,

31:21

working hard, first of all, right? It goes without saying, but also being

31:28

curious, right?

31:29

Trying to understand why do people do what they do, you know, because as

31:34

companies are people,

31:35

we're all working together. What is your motivation? Why are you doing that?

31:38

Why are you saying that?

31:40

You know, being open to the next opportunity. None of my opportunities really

31:46

have

31:47

gone looking for. They've all kind of found me and I'm so, well, that sounds

31:50

interesting.

31:51

But also, every opportunity has sounded scary, right? I mean, I still remember

31:56

the day when I

31:57

stepped on a plane as leaving West Phoenix to drive to fly to Maryland. I'd

32:02

never been on a

32:03

plane by myself before and just feel like I'd been punched in the gut. I was so

32:07

scared.

32:08

That worked out okay, right? So every crucial decision in my life, I found that

32:14

that's paid off

32:15

is started with a really uncomfortable feeling. So I would say, you know, stay

32:20

open and, you know,

32:21

if the hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, it's probably a good

32:25

sign. So you see where that

32:26

goes. You know, the open desk thing also has been mentioned by people. You've

32:29

got to be open to

32:30

new ideas, new experiences to change, you know, rolling with the punches is

32:35

another way to put it,

32:36

which is you're going to learn as you go along, right? And his discomfort is

32:39

actually

32:40

sometimes not a bad thing. You know, even I'd like the feeling when you go into

32:44

that, but it's not a

32:44

bad thing over all of the career. You know, when I always like to end this

32:48

thing with my

32:49

favorite question, right? So I'm a big podcast listener. My favorite podcast is

32:53

How I Build This

32:54

with Guy Raz, you know, comes on a different podcast now. And he has a classic

32:58

question of,

32:59

you know, if you think about a career and think about a life, how much of it is

33:03

because of your

33:05

intellect, good looks and charm versus how much of it is just, you know,

33:08

sometimes things are all

33:09

lined up in the right place at the right time, luck. Right. What's your

33:14

Oh, that's a good one. You know, I guess I got to say my, when I think about,

33:22

yeah, my journey,

33:23

my, my origination story really was all about luck, right? I was fortunate to

33:28

have been born

33:29

into a country that encourages individual achievement and education and the

33:34

government,

33:34

meaning a taxpayer base willing to fund my higher level education and take the

33:39

risk on me and give

33:40

me leadership opportunities and continue investing in me through nuclear power

33:44

education. You know,

33:47

then I guess I was fortunate in terms of timing, right? My transition just

33:51

happened to,

33:52

my transition and interest in moving back to Arizona happened to coincide with

33:56

when

33:56

this major semiconductor provider was building this, this, this factory, you

34:02

know, but from there,

34:04

I guess I would say it's kind of become more making my own luck, right?

34:08

Creating those opportunities,

34:10

making sure that I'm open and in a position to be able to consider whatever the

34:16

next step is.

34:17

So I'll have to go with it. It's a hybrid. That's my final answer.

34:22

I think, and I think that's a good answer because play luckily is an important

34:26

role in everything

34:26

we do, including the first break you get a second break you get. But what you

34:30

do with it eventually

34:31

is what it's in your own control, on own destiny. So I think that's a great way

34:36

to wrap up this

34:36

conversation. So I think, you know, and I listen to your story, I listen to

34:39

some of the things you

34:40

mentioned about understanding the customer because people are people that they

34:43

're going to buy from

34:44

you or they're going to trust you, potentially to detail, you know, being open

34:48

to ideas, being

34:48

able to kind of work hard to deliver above and beyond what they what people are

34:52

expecting.

34:53

But I think the, it's actually an important, important aspect. And again, maybe

34:58

it's because

34:59

you're a background in Navy and Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy,

35:01

Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy is because of applied materials and copy exact, but then attention to

35:05

detail, by the way,

35:06

is an important aspect that a lot of people kind of overlook. It just kind of,

35:10

it's a take it for

35:11

granted. Right. And I like that, I like that emphasis that you made as well. We

35:16

're trying to

35:16

put atoms where they belong. So yeah, detail matters. Putting atoms with it

35:20

along this way.

35:21

Well, Chad, this is a fabulous conversation. I really appreciate you taking the

35:26

time to tell

35:26

us a story and take us through your career in terms of how it evolved from the

35:31

USNA to

35:32

Navy nuclear to, you know, civic equipment. And I think it's a fascinating

35:35

story. And I think a

35:36

lot of people will enjoy listening to it. So thank you very much for your time

35:41

today. And

35:41

looking forward to continue this discussion. All right, you bet. Thank you. If

35:44

I enjoyed the time.

35:52

As we complete another enlightening episode, I extend my sincere gratitude to

35:57

our esteemed guests

35:58

and you are valued listeners. If today's conversation resonated with you,

36:03

please subscribe to this

36:04

podcast on Spotify, Apple podcast or Google Play. I'll simply visit a website

36:09

at www.intidal.com

36:11

for more interesting content. Remember, the pursuit of aftermarket decks is an

36:16

ongoing journey.

36:17

And I look forward to continue with you. Until next time, stay informed, stay

36:21

inspired,

36:22

and continued championing aftermarket success.

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