A Conversation with Don Walsh, Uyemura
Donald Walsh has been with Uyemura International Corp. for 20 years and retires this month as its director of operations. His involvement with the surface finishing industry—and specifically the electronic and circuit board sectors—has been enormous.
Donald Walsh has been with Uyemura International for 20 years and retires this month as its Director of Operations. His involvement with the surface finishing industry—and specifically the electronic and circuit board sectors—has been enormous. “His contributions have been a huge part of what has allowed Uyemura to evolve into the global leader it is today,” says Tony Revier, company president.
PF: What did you enjoy most about your job?
DW: Working with a great group while rising from unknown to major player in this market.
PF: How did you get involved in the finishing industry?
DW: A college friend, Mike Moffatt, recommended me for an open management position at ACR.
PF: What are your retirement plans?
DW: To spend more quality time with kids and grandchildren.
PF: What’s the best piece of advice you were given?
DW: My first boss at ACR, Collin Stevens, said in sales the most important thing is to keep the customer/vendor relationship on an even keel. If one takes advantage of the other, it will be short term dealings.
PF: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
DW: I started caddying in seventh grade. I learned how to handle the occasional difficult customer while enjoying the rest.
PF: If you had $100,000 to give to a charity, which one would it be?
DW: American Cancer Society
PF: What was your first car, and what is your dream car?
DW: 1970 Nova. No dream cars.
PF: What leadership traits have helped you along the way?
DW: Attention to details, plus a balance of humor, fairness and push.
PF: When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
DW: A Major League baseball player.
PF: Night owl or early bird?
DW: Early bird.
PF: Favorite place you’ve ever lived?
DW: Roscoe, Illinois.
PF: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?
DW: Doing something with my wife, Gail.
PF: Best way to keep competitive edge?
DW: Stay interested and have an aim.
PF: Personal heroes?
DW: My late wife, Janice, and her mother before her; both of whom showed amazing strength and humor despite losing battles to cancer.
PF: How do you motivate people?
DW: Be kind, supportive, but prod as necessary.
PF: How do you motivate yourself?
DW: Reaching for target accomplishments.
PF: Three greatest passions?
DW: Family, security and fun.
PF: Most unique office décor?
DW: Model trains.
PF: Best business decision?
DW: Coming to UIC 20 years ago.
PF: Worst business decision?
DW: Believing an employer was as successful as they claimed. My shortest work stay and they are long out of business.
PF: Biggest management myth?
DW: The customer is always right.
PF: Word that best describes you?
Get to Know Don
Family: Wife Gail, great children and 11 grandchildren
Favorite hobby: Model trains
Favorite movie: “Last of the Mohicans”
Favorite book: Confederacy of Dunces
What’s playing in your car CD/radio: A wide variety of music
Originally published in the June 2017 issue.