Florida Sales Region
Terry: In 2010 I received a phone call from a friend that I had known for 10 to 12 years, Ron Simmons, who worked for Walt and was one of the original people that started the company. And still works for FLA technology Sales in the Orlando area.
Ron had worked with me when he was an RF specialist for Arrow Technology several years ago when I was with NEC. Ron asked me, he said, hey TJ would you be interested in joining a rep company? We’re looking for a RF Microwave Specialist to work with a new Product Line, a new principal. I said, Ron, let me think about it. My wife and I talked about and prayed over it for months. Because I was so used to traveling abroad, but it was so attractive to me to be at home in Florida and not catching flights anymore, and working with Ron again. Then when I met Walt and had lunch with him and I liked how real he was and how focused they were.
So a conversation with Ron Simmons in 2010 allowed me or pushed me over the fence to join a Rep company in 2011. I’ve been a part of this family since 2011. We’re pretty much focused on the I-4 Corridor from Tampa, Orlando, Melbourne, and we also cover the Pan handle as Walt said earlier. Most Reps don’t even cover that area anymore, but once again we started doing that 10 years ago. We get up there several times a year.
Walt: The Market has changed dramatically. In the old days, 15 years ago, South Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale) was a big market. It was huge. You had Arrow and Anvet and they had a hundred people in the state of Florida just walking around. Today, that’s not the case. So now it has shifted the I-4 corridor right across the center of the state (Palm Bay, Melbourne, Orlando, Tampa-St. Pete).. Those were where all the big concentration of accounts are and that where a lot of business is.
There’s some people over in the Tampa, Naples area, Fort Myers area. A couple smaller accounts down there that do some quasi military Slip Rings, things like that. Primarily it’s that slot across the state.
Terry: Several of us cover the state of Florida. But one person in particular is Tuck Coffin. His real name is Charles. But when he was young his younger sister couldn’t say his name so he called him Tuck and it stuck with him for x amount of years. But he lives over in West Tampa.
Tuck has been over there for 30+ years and on behalf of FLA technology he covers Southern/Northwest Florida, Naples area, up to Gainesville. His primary focus is Honeywell, Raytheon, and DRS. But, he also covers one or two large industrial accounts down in the Fort Myers area called Shaw Industries. He’s a navy, ex-naval officer. Wharton Business School grad and he’s much smarter than me. We have him over on the West Coast of Florida.
In Central Florida, it’s myself and Ron Simmons. Ron’s an ex-Lockheed Martin Engineer and I say this passionately, the best sales person for Lockheed Martin in the state of Florida. He’s been working that account for 20+ years, as an ex-engineer, knows it. He knows it very well. He understands the different platforms; He’s on all the different platforms. But, again, Ron Simmons is in the Orlando area. And I cover some other accounts in Orlando and I’m going to let Walt speak to the East Coast of Florida.
I essentially cover the Melbourne area; primarily L3 Harris. But also DRS and a few other smaller accounts there. But in South Florida, Gables, I’m using that as an example, in South Florida. Although South Florida doesn’t have the number of accounts it used to. They have virtually no military accounts. They have some contract manufactures down there we usually deal with for example. And Also all the way up to Jacksonville and they have a few RF cable suppliers up there. And we deal with those as well.
Walt: So we deal with a lot of accounts. I don’t want to ever say, “we only do military”. We focused on every account in Florida. When they come to us or we go to them we’re going to take care of it. But the money is in Military, Aerospace, Missile Fire Control, Electronic Warfare etc, like I said earlier. That’s where we spend a lot of our time.
TOLA Sales Region
Terry: FLA Technology has been asked by many principles over the years. Hey, can you guys support us in the Carolinas, Georgia, other states and our answer has always been no because we’re just so focused on Florida. But then last year a guy who I’ve worked with for many years,
Chuck Widhalm, degreed Engineer, PE from Texas. He and I spoke over several weeks and I asked him to join us to represent Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas (TOLA).
Chuck has been covering that market for 30+ years. He was a former Engineer at TI, I believe, back when he first started and got out of school. But we talked to Chuck via phone call, text and also the platforms that Walt mentioned, just to make sure if we needed anything, samples for example and to strategize how to represent our principles in that area he covers.
We’re so glad to have him on board representing us and several of our lines. And they’re very happy with the work he’s done so far. We believe there is a lot of business at L3Harris, Lockheed, and Raytheon for him immediately in the Texas state, but we also think that the other states have business there too for us.
Walt: That market fits our profile; Avionics, Military, Electronic Warfare, Aircraft, F35, Missile Fire Control, which is out in Texas for Lockheed for example. So, again, it fits our profile. Texas is very similar to Florida. We already have quotes in there for very expensive Printed Circuit Boards, Cable assemblies and other products as well. We have several lines in with the Military High Rel, very difficult. If you have a difficult cable assembly that looks like a bowl of spaghetti, that’s the one that we want.
Terry: And then lastly, the last territory in Florida and I cover that, is Northwest Florida, Eglin Air Force base, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre Beach, as far west as Pensacola. Along that way we have a couple accounts in Tallahassee that we also call on. But when I get to Fort Walton Beach, there’s DRS, Crane, BAE, Cradles Defense, and of course Eglin air force base. We’ve been making a concerted effort to travel up to that area 3 or 4 times a year for the last 10 years and many Reps don’t even cover that area.
Walt: No they don’t. The design work there it’s almost all in support of Eglin. F35s are stationed there now. The Raptors, F22s are stationed there. A Lot of it has to do with ground support and sat support..
Terry: Walt tell our story. You gotta share our story.
Walt: Nooo I’m not going to share that story. I will share this much of the story. We’re going out to a Block House, they want to buy some mixers
Terry: Eglin Air Force Base, It’s thousands of acres. It’s not small. It goes into the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico.
Walt: Yeah, so we have to drive out to the Blockhouse, which we got not really good instructions on how to get there, so we’re driving through the woods out there. We don’t know where we’re going. We’re driving and it looks like an old runway. I turn to Terry and say, “Terry this is an old runway”. So we finally get to the blockhouse at the end of the runway and we go in and talk with these guys. It turns out that runway was the runway that the Doolittle Raiders in World War II practice on for the bombing of Tokyo. This was the actual runway. So that was it.
So we went in there, we actually sold them the mixers. They said to us, “You guys gotta go because we’re having a live fire Maverick missile launch. The guy was really funny. It’s actually two guys in the car, two dummies in the car and the cars are remotely activated. So we’re driving out with the windows rolled down, looking out the car and I said, “Terry do you hear that jet”? So we drove faster, fortunately we made it. This is a real story. A true story.
The things we do for sales. The things we do to visit an account!