Lisa Flach can't help but think good thoughts of the people she meets while doing her job. And she has experienced the concrete industry from many angles.
Flach is a distributor for Concrete Slurry Solutions of Ontario, Calif. The start-up company manufactures a mixer washout system that helps producers solve onsite concrete environmental issues. Flach just started calling on producers describing the new system in May. Even so, her customers have discovered that Flach is not some fast-talker; she knows concrete. She also knows hard work.
Consider her background. Flach first learned about hard work as a light-wheel vehicle mechanic while in the U.S. Army. She moved onto construction after a short stint in the retail auto parts business.
Her view of the concrete industry was from the bottom up. Flach worked as a union laborer, holding a variety of positions during her five-year tenure. She had the opportunity to work on exciting jobsites, such as the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas. After some time, Flach realized the laborer job wasn't going anywhere, so she started looking for a new challenge.
When she read the advertisement for a sales opening at McNeilus, she knew the concrete industry was for her. She kept calling until she convinced the mixer drum manufacturer that she could handle sales.
The manufacturer agreed, and Flach began selling parts in the McNeilus sales department. “When I sold parts I really cared. I babied my customers,” she says. “I've always believed if you give 100% and get 50% back, you're doing real good.”
Her favorite part of the job was selling the mixer parts, and she loved the mixer end of the business. “I loved what I was doing, but after awhile I did start wondering where it was going to lead me,” says Flach.
A new job
She then met Tim Sullivan. Sullivan was in the process of patenting a mixer drum washout system with his partner, Les Connard. With her background in mixers and her interest in the environment, Flach knew the system was going to be a great product for the concrete industry.
This May, Flach began work for Concrete Slurry Solutions, immediately selling three systems. She kept her contacts over the years by staying in touch and visiting people, even if they weren't buying from her. “I really enjoy people and the good relationships I've made through the years,” she says.
But the job isn't just about connections. “I'm passionate about what I do,” she says. “They say if you really love what you do, you'll do it well. It's true.”
Maybe growing up with three brothers and serving in the army gave her a tough skin, but Flach really doesn't have problems as a woman working in the concrete industry.
“I don't take things to heart,” she explains. “And most of the people I meet are professional, polite, and kind. As long as you aren't worried about getting dirty, you're okay.”
That was never a problem for Flach. She never hesitates to climb up on a truck to check things out.
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