Mike Lee has joined SGD after 30 successful years with Middlesex Gases &Technologies as its specialty gas and equipment specialist. He is tasked with expanding SGD’s customer base and developing training for its current distributors to increase sales.
gasworld spoke to Lee to find out how he’s getting on in his new role and what plans he has put in place to ensure his duties are executed.
Congratulations on your new role! How is it going so far?
Very nicely, thank you for asking. As you likely know I have been a client of SGD for decades but early on I realised they are far more than a vendor, they were a business partner that I could lean on for support. I learned from them every day. The decision to work for SGD was a simple one and it has proven to be a good one as well.
Who are SGD’s current distributors?
SGD serves a wide range of distributors worldwide, primarily those who sell high purity gases.
How important is it to train distributors?
It is very important to train distributors. In my experience I recall classes we used to call Spec Gas 101, Spec Gas 202 etc. where the distributors’ salespeople would learn the various aspects of specialty gases and the specialty gas equipment. It is imperative that the folks in the field selling the gases as well as others in inside sales positions are well trained in these areas. The wrong regulator on the right gas could result in catastrophic contamination of the gas stream. The training eliminates such errors.
Do you believe there are untapped markets to access?
Yes, there are always new opportunities. This is an area where SGD has been a leader. Developing new items such as their ‘Whisper Valve’ which silences the loud safety pop-off on cryogenic dewars has been an industry changer for many. Their willingness to be open to developing new technology to solve a problem is not something you will find common in the industry. Custom designed gas delivery systems open doors that have been closed for the most part. We have the knowledge and support to get the job done for our clients so we welcome all design opportunities.
How do you plan to expand SGD’s client base?
It is a multi-tiered effort for sure. The US marketplace is a target rich community of clients and it is highly competitive, however SGD is not just another ‘me too’ specialty gas equipment supplier. Yes, we provide a very high quality product line but we bring it to market as a business partner, not a vendor. We know gases and we know what it is like being in the sales trenches every day grinding out a living selling gases and equipment. Thus, we are aware of what makes a specialty gas equipment supplier like SGD more valuable than another. I don’t want to give away my action plan but I believe you will be seeing more SGD equipment in the field in the coming months and years.
What is your ultimate aim as business development manager?
My goal is to create more exposure of SGD to the market and to expand on some of the programmes already in place. I would also like to develop some new programmes that would add to the desired exposure and thus expand the business.
What is next for SGD? Is there anything you are working on now that you could share with gasworld?
SGD is always working on bringing new products to the market, like the Auto-Logic Switchover Manifold, the only touchscreen unit on the market, capable of use with any gas source on either side. Also noteworthy is the Excess Flow Valve designed to automatically shut off the flow of gas when the flow exceeds the present level. The valve will protect systems and personnel should there be a failure downstream of the valve. Even something as simple as cylinder clean room covers are client inquiry driven so they were brought to market.
To address the latter part of your question, we are working on a number of new things simultaneously but I am not at liberty to discuss them at this point in time, so stay posted.