A Conversation with ... Steve Brown, BroCo Products
Steve Brown is president of Broco Products in Cleveland and was recently named president of the NASF after serving on its national executive committee and board of directors for many years.
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Steve Brown is president of Broco Products in Cleveland, a formulator and manufacturer of metal finishing chemistries. He was recently named president of the National Association for Surface Finishing, and has served on its national executive committee and board of directors for many years. He has also served as president of the Ohio Association of Metal Finishers. We caught up with Steve as he was preparing for SUR/FIN June 3-5 in Chicago.
PF: What goals have you set for the NASF in your first year as president?
SB: Maintain the fiscal strength NASF has achieved over the past decade, and expand efforts to support regulators with sound and impactful environmental legislation through the Government Advisory Committee. Continue to enhance and expand the educational programming through the AESF Foundation such that the organization continues to be the finishing industry’s worldwide benchmark.
PF: How would you describe the health of the finishing industry?
SB: Strong in the U.S., but every year the industry is feeling more of the push and pull of international competition.
PF: When people ask why they should join the NASF, what is your No. 1 reason?
SB: To expand your business knowledge base and, thereby, competitiveness.
PF: How did you get your start in the finishing industry?
SB: I was first employed as a salesman with an interest in becoming an entrepreneur and business owner.
PF: What’s the best piece of advice you were given, either personally or professionally, and who gave it to you?
SB: A river guide told me “Always look past the front of your kayak to avoid the ‘Oh Darn’ moment.”
PF: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
SB: Mowing lawns. That big money to a teenager is very quickly depleted through college tuition.
PF: If you had $100,000 to give to a charity, which one would it be?
SB: The Cleveland Food Bank
PF: What was your first car, and what is your dream car?
SB: Olds Cutlass Supreme. College friends broke the “Cutl” off all the trim.
PF: What leadership traits have helped you along the way?
SB: The ability to verbally communicate difficult technical matters in a clear and understandable manner that empowers others.
PF: When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
SB: An entrepreneur.
PF: Night owl or early bird?
SB: Early bird.
PF: If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be?
SB: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
PF: Best way to keep competitive edge?
SB: Knowledge. The older I get, the more topics I am curious about and the less I seem to know.
PF: Personal heroes?
SB: The late Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
PF: How do you motivate people?
SB: Providing opportunity and responsibility, while remaining available for support.
PF: Best business decision?
SB: Surrounding myself with coworkers who are intelligent, hardworking, consistent, honest and perform with integrity.
PF: Worst business decision?
SB: Not separating fast enough from employees who did not meet our criteria for being a ‘good’ person.
PF: Biggest management myth?
SB: Intellect alone will always provide for greater compensation. It is important to understand your proficiencies and that of those who surround you. Only then can you best address the daily challenges of management.
PF: What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
SB: Patience, patience and patience.
PF: Word that best describes you:
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