FasTest Inc., manufacturer of connectors and valves, recently welcomed Paul Kaufer as its new Director of Sales. Under his new role, Kaufer will oversee the US-based company’s global sales operations and will look to add extra distributor partners to enhance FasTest’s global presence.
gasworld spoke with Kaufer to see how he has settled into the role and to find out what he hopes to achieve in the years ahead.
Congratulations! How are you getting on in your new role?
Thank you – settling in well – there’s something new every day. FasTest has done a great job of on-boarding and getting me up to speed. We serve multiple markets in both original equiptment manufacturing (OEM) and manufacturing situations, so our business is diverse and has a lot of nuances – it will be awhile before I get fully settled in, but it’s coming along very well.
How have you got to where you are now?
I have an eclectic background in manufacturing. I have had the privilege of working for some large Minnesota companies that were built around innovation - 3M, TORO Co and HB Fuller. All of them committed to continuous improvement. All of them have been successful in building a global business. Then there were four years working for a rapidly growing telecom company where I served as general manager. A major responsibility of this role was to get the company ISO9000 certified. Let’s just say this is where really grew an appreciation for the role operations plays in an organisation.
How do you feel about leading the sales team in global expansion?
It is an awesome challenge and opportunity for FasTest and for me personally. FasTest has been selling globally for years, but the expansion effort is very much in progress. Over the past three years we have been putting resources into place, adding to staff and developing a plan to accomplish this expansion.
FasTest is well entrenched in the gas industry throughout North America – we work with the majors as well as mid-size and specialty gas handling companies. Leveraging this experience, and our relationships, we hope to make a quick entry into the global market with the next generation of world class solutions to the compressed gas industry.
Which markets will you be targeting to enhance FasTest’s global presence?
All of them…..The gas industry is just one of several markets we serve. We offer both OEM and manufacturing solutions – in leak testing we serve multiple manufacturing markets including medical, fluid power and automotive, to name a few. We also serve the compressed gas market as well as the greater HVAC-refrigeration markets.
How has the partnership with JB Industries benefited the company so far?
Although JB is not in the gas industry it is a good example of how we are trying to find new partners that are true experts in their industry. JB is in the HVAC-Refrigeration supply tools and replacement parts aftermarket business – their main customers are the contractors in the field. There are millions of our CoreMax valves in AC units all around the world that need to be serviced. JB now offers our tools and valves to service companies and contractors to make their job in the field easier.
Does FastTest have any new products on the horizon?
FasTest is always working with our customers to design new product solutions. We are currently working on several new products and technologies to improve our customers’ manufacturing and filling processes. Our latest technological development is Connection Verification for our FE Series and FI Series connectors commonly used in automated and semi-automated leak testing processes.
FasTest is first and foremost a product innovation company and we have a great engineering and product development team here to support that business model.