Name: William “Bill” Lawliss, AHC/CDC, CCPR
Company, Location, and Years of Service: Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies – New England, Needham, MA, 5+ years (since May 2004)
Current Position: Sales Manager
Total Years in the Industry: 21 years (as of 12/2009)
Summary of Previous Industry Experience:
I began as an estimator/detailer for specialty products with HCI/Craftsmen in Winooski, VT in December 1988. I transitioned to inside sales for all products and later transferred to the Nashua, NH branch. In Nashua I began in inside sales before taking a role in contract sales and being promoted to operations manager. I later went to work as a project manager for O’Connor Door in Needham, MA before leaving to become a sales rep for Essex Industries. I joined my present company in May of 2004 as a specification writer. I later moved to a distributor team leader role before my current position as sales manager.
How did you get your start in the door and hardware industry?
I was working for a general contractor in Vermont and received a call from Lori Greene, who was working for HCI/Craftsmen in Winooski, VT. One of their detailers had left to follow the Grateful Dead and they were looking for a replacement. I interviewed, got the job, and the rest is history.
Who have been mentors to you during your career?
John Huard and Bill Elliott have been mentors from the hardware industry. John was a mentor early on while I was at HCI in Winooski. We sold window hardware, cabinet hardware, and miscellaneous items along with commercial doors and hardware so there was a lot to learn. Later in my career when I began writing specifications and working toward my AHC, Bill Elliott was a great resource and mentor. I have been lucky to work with a lot of talented people so I’ve learned a lot from my experiences in my roles and relationships.
What changes have you seen in the industry over the years?
Technology in general has been the biggest change. Fax machines came into business when I began and transitioned from thermal paper to plain paper to e-Faxes today (if at all). Typewriters were turned in for computers which now play a huge role in inventory, estimating, submittals, ordering, and communication. In the good ol’ days we used pen and paper…lol. Technology has also played a role in product development. Most hardware was mechanical when I began, with an electric strike adding the most complexity to a hardware set. Now we have wireless products that interface with other components via the internet and are managed from a computer.
What’s the best part of your current job?
The best part of my job is the diversity. I get to do or be involved in a lot of different aspects of the business and industry which means working with a lot of different people. It’s not boring.
What career would you pursue if you weren’t working in the hardware industry?
If I won Megabucks I’d like to become a teacher. If I had it all to do over again – I would become a lawyer.
What’s your favorite hardware-related product?
Pretty much anything electrified. I think they have provided growth opportunity for our industry and solutions to consumers’ needs. I also think that while they have come a long way in the last 20-years – we are only seeing the beginning of electrified hardware solutions.
What would your colleagues/customers be surprised to learn about you?
I used to have a spiked (semi-punk compared to most) haircut in college and drove a motorcycle – what a rebel. I still have my motorcycle license but don’t plan on getting a motorcycle for a while.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
My son and daughter, but particularly my daughter’s progress is my proudest accomplishment. My wife, who took the lead, and my daughter, with her determination and strong personality, deserve most of the credit but I’d like to think I played a role.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m currently in school working towards my bachelor’s degree, so I don’t seem to have much free time. If I do, then other than a nap I do whatever my wife and daughter want to do, which often includes shopping. I don’t like to shop but it does allow us to be together so I go with the flow.
What words of wisdom would you give to people entering the industry?
Get involved – this industry can provide you a lot of opportunity if you have initiative to learn and make it your career.