Bill Stella, director of international sales, T&S Brass has more than 50 years of experience in the industry. The first one to initiate the international rep businesses for T&S Brass, he had unlocked the growth potential for the company. Speaking on how he started in the industry, he said, “I started in this industry when I was 12 years old. I was working in my aunt’s restaurant in Detroit in the summers. My father was self-employed and he always thought the discipline of earning your own money and being busy was important, so he gave me a work ethic. Collectively I have spent about 50-plus years in this industry.”
Commenting on some of his greatest achievements, he stated, “I set up the international rep system for T&S Brass. In the US you find reps all the time, but overseas, the concept of reps is less known and they are just few and far between. So I was able to set that up and I think it has helped the success that our company has had over the last 13 years I have been with them. There have been a lot of successes, the customers you meet, the people you meet – the fact that you walk into a room and people know you whereas 20 years ago I knew no one and I was fortunate enough to have people take me under their wing and work with me and mentor me. Being able to work with young people – they keep you young and focused; you learn from them. I try to mentor some of them and they mentor me; it is a two-way street.
It keeps you on top and things I think are very important in terms of continuing to make yourself relevant.”
He believes that the while the food service industry has changed over the years, a lot has stayed the same. “It gets down to the fact that to distribute and sell our products, it takes a guy on the street – a salesman – to sell the product. What I have noticed in the years I have been in the business is the talent in the industry has diminished. I think a lot of it is that they are not set on a proper career path,” he said.