(From the June 29, 2012, issue of Rubber & Plastics News)
LAS VEGAS—NAHAD will be missing a familiar face at its annual convention next year as Gary McDonald has retired as director of sales and marketing at NRP-Jones L.L.C.
McDonald has attended 23 straight conventions of the association for hose distributors and manufacturers, but stepped down from his post effective June 1. He joined LaPorte, Ind.-based NRP-Jones in 1989 and worked for 20 years before that in other industrial management positions.
McDonald will continue to provide sales coverage for the state of Indiana through the end of this year to help with the transition of his successor, John Thibault, who was named vice president of sales and marketing in mid-April.
Terry Jones first contacted McDonald about joining his firm in 1987, but McDonald said there still were some things he wanted to learn at his prior job. “Two years after that he contacted me again and asked if I was ready to sit down and talk to him and I said, 'As of today, I am,' ” McDonald said. “We finally got together and it was a very good relationship and corporate growth situation all those years.”
Jones owned the full-line manufacturer of hydraulic hose and fittings, large diameter industrial hose, and drilling hose for land and off-shore applications until he sold the firm at the beginning of this year to private equity firm Main Street Capital Corp. for $15 million. The firm makes its hoses and fittings at facilities in LaPorte and Nephi, Utah.
Looking back, McDonald said the thing that sticks out the most about his time in the industry is the consolidation on both the manufacturing and distribution sides of the business. The changes in product supply also have resulted in a truly global industry.
Against that backdrop, he said smaller companies like NRP-Jones have to pay particular interest to customer service to remain competitive. “We have a tremendous reputation for personalized customer service and responsiveness to customer needs,” McDonald said. “That has always been paramount from our vantage point.”
As a sales and marketing executive, he also has seen the means of communications revolutionized through the dawning of the digital age that makes him able to be more effective and efficient in his job. Relationships, however, remain the backbone of the business, he said.
“Relationships and making customers aware of what we have to offer and how we can support their operations is vitally important,” McDonald said. “I've made a lot of extremely good friends.”
He and his wife have five grandchildren—all involved in athletics—and the couple plans to attend all of their activities. Being the last of his friends to retire, he also plans a lot of golf and fishing.
Travel, though, won't be a big priority other than to see various friends scattered throughout the country, he said, because he spent so much time on the road throughout his 43-year career.