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Get to Know Jeff Post, VP/General Manager of Enduratex


Our VP/General Manager, Jeff Post, sat down with us for an interview about his position at Enduratex and experience in the coated fabrics industry. The first part in this four-part series is dedicated to his industry knowledge and coated fabrics interest. Parts three through four, which will be published throughout the week, will touch on his impact at Enduratex, his leadership style and personal life.

How long have you been in the vinyl industry? Jeff: I’ve been in the vinyl industry for 30+ years. I started off selling resins, PVC resins and recycled resins of PVC. Then, in 1986, I moved into the coated fabrics life of the business.

        

What interested you about this category? Well, I was looking for a job number one and I wanted to branch out. I had been selling consumer products and I wanted to sell something different and more technical in its general aspects. A friend of mine knew of a company that was selling resins and regrind reprocess type products, and connected me with them. From there I moved on to Uniroyal, selling coated fabrics. It was an interesting time because I went from selling the technical aspects of the product to basically color and design, which are these touchy feeling type situations. So the combination of my background in technical selling helped me out quite a bit in understanding the ins and outs of coated fabrics.


What drew you to Enduratex?

Jeff: I didn’t want to move out of California if I could help it, and at that time, and to this date, I think we’re the only California headquartered operation in coated fabrics. I saw the company had some good products and good background on products, the fundamental type products, but they needed help in developing their positions in markets beyond the automotive aftermarket.

You have an extensive knowledge on industry trends and needs, and on production, specifically the technical science behind production and vinyl development. What was your journey to learning the chemistry behind vinyl like? How do you continue to grow your knowledge?

Jeff: I spent a lot of time reading books on polymer and polymerization and specifically PVC coated fabrics. When I started off in the business I had the best training you could possibly ask for with Uniroyal. They equipped me with a lot of information on what coated fabrics are, how they can be used for different applications and different types of backings.

    I think to this day, I continue to seek out and learn as much as I can about other coated fabrics, other than PVC coated fabrics. Learning by asking questions to people of knowledge, not only in our company, but outside of our company becomes important in expanding your technical knowledge so you understand what it is you’re selling.

What was your initial vision for Enduratex? Has Enduratex become what you envisioned it would, or has the vision changed with time?

Jeff: My original vision for Enduratex was to build it as a ‘household name’ in the markets we served. We were known as CGPC back then and I made it a point to make sure that we got the brand Enduratex out there and that over time, we became known as Enduratex. People began to call us Enduratex and I recognized the need to promote that name. I think we have accomplished a tremendous job in re-branding ourselves and making the brand name of ENDURATEX one that is known and respected. Bringing new products to the industry and the process of fabric selection, topcoat research, etc. is a continuous process. What is most engaging of these various processes?

Jeff: I think there are probably two that are most engaging. One is the topcoat process and the various types of topcoats you can use for different applications, as well as advancing cleanable type topcoats and getting them to the point where they’re not as glossy, and don’t have a hard hand to them, which we’ve discovered with Forbid. Those kinds of things can be done but they need to be done better and we need to improve the technique with which we’re making the topcoat to the point where you can actually clean it off with a wet rag or a dry rag. That would probably be at the top of the list I would be looking at.


Tell me about what Enduratex was like when you first came in. What kind of growth have you seen in the company since you joined?


Jeff: Enduratex was facing a challenging situation when I joined the company. Their former Vice President and General Manager had left the company and took with him a number of sales and operations people. That ripped apart the core of the company and it was in survival mode. When I came on board, there was a lot more film being produced and sold by the company, much less in coated fabrics, and yet there was a big difference between the profitability of those two. I quickly made the decision that we were going to focus on coated fabrics, where you can make more profit and more revenue dollars. Over the course of time, we’ve more than doubled our business from that day and it’s been solely in coated fabrics that we’ve done that.


What challenges do you see for the vinyl industry during the next five years?

Jeff: I think most of our challenges will come from environmental regulations. They’re making it much more difficult for us to make products that can meet the standards of need or application with the chemistry that we have. They are pushing us to come up with new chemistries, which are costing much more, and which aren’t even close to being developed to the point where they can say they will work with an application well. It’s becoming much more difficult for us to maintain a face that is respected and will be able to withstand what I consider to be the three most important pillars of coated fabrics: durability, cleanabililty and flammability.

Those are the three areas where coated fabrics shine. When you start taking away the chemistry that helps you reach those three pillars, you end up with two pillars and two pillars, or legs, don’t hold up the stool very well.


Fewer young employees are entering the vinyl industry which has become a concern for industry professionals. What are you doing to address this growing concern?

Jeff: I’m always looking for people who are younger and are looking for challenges and aren’t always looking for the next best thing. It’s harder because as we move through generation to generation, it becomes more evident that technology is moving faster and faster and so the younger generations want to be on the cusp of what’s happening. They want to be in the technology areas. But what we’ve seen is that a lot of young people who end up in the technology areas actually get burned out very quickly or their company gets sold out and they have to sell these stock options. Next thing you know, the companies don’t have anything left to their name. And so you see a lot of that happens with the high tech companies that are being born.

As a corporation, our parent company, really tapped into that marketplace because a lot of those kids end up working for our company, maybe not at our company here in the U.S., but for our company in Taiwan. A good example is that we just finished putting in a calendar line, which is a blue collar job. We have all new employees to run that calendar. It takes about 20 people to run a calendar, over two shifts. Almost all of them are new, young employees and most coming out of tech backgrounds. They’re working blue collar positions now.


What was your initial vision for Enduratex? Has Enduratex become what you envisioned it would, or has the vision changed with time?


Jeff: My original vision for Enduratex was to build it as a ‘household name’ in the markets we served. We were known as CGPC back then and I made it a point to make sure that we got the brand Enduratex out there and that over time, we became known as Enduratex.

People began to call us Enduratex and I recognized the need to promote that name. I think we have accomplished a tremendous job in re-branding ourselves and making the brand name of ENDURATEX one that is known and respected.


What qualities define a ‘dream team’? What constitutes a strong team and how have you tried to develop your team into a ‘dream team’?


Jeff: The qualities of a dream team: persistence, tenacity, a winner takes all attitude and a servants heart- somebody who is willing to do all the work without taking any of the glory.

I think I’ve tried to hire people that exemplify those qualities and by doing that they in turn feed somebody else who feeds the next guy, who feeds the next guy, and so on. That’s what I’ve tried to do. I try to bring out the best of the best.


What leadership values guide you?


Jeff: Number one is integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do and do it without compromise. Then I have to say team-work. I want to see people who don’t just stand in an island or in silos. I want to see them develop and work as a team.

I have to work as part of the team. I can’t just be the guy who makes the decisions all of the time. I try, although I’m not very good at it, to sit back and be quiet and listen more because I think that is a big part of leadership, is that you have to be able to listen and hear everybody out. At the same time you have to be a bold decision maker. You have to be willing to take risks. I think there are times when you have to say a quick no, and other times where you pause and think about it. But decision making is a very important aspect of a good leader.


Were you passionate about vinyl when you first started?


Jeff: From the day I started with the resin business, and because I wanted to learn, I wanted to find out more about it and I wanted to explore its infinite usage. So yes, I became very passionate about it as I got into coated fabrics. It’s a very unique industry.


Where do you dedicate your philanthropic energies?

Jeff: Ah church mostly.


What are your passion(s) outside from working at Enduratex?

Jeff: Haha! That’s pretty easy. Church, fishing, golf and spending time with my family.


Football season is coming up… who’s your team? Will you go to any games this year?    Jeff: Haha! Ohio State Buckeyes and no I won’t be going to any games this year…but maybe next year!

Additional Thoughts:      Going back to one thing I touched on towards the end is that passion for the business. I think more than anything it is what we lack in our industry as more and more companies become corporately held. You can see the difference between companies that are run by people with passion for their business as companies that are just there for the stockholders. We’re in a unique position here because while our operation is here in North America, it is fundamentally operated on our own; you can see the passion from people in our business here. But if you go back to our corporate offices, and you can see that the passion isn’t there; it’s all about the numbers, it’s all about making quarterly reports. And that, I think, is a big distraction to our industry. When it comes down to it, we’re about color and design, and those things are emotional and require passion. People stick around this business because they have a passion for the business. I mean we have people, like me, that have been through five different companies in our industry. I don’t want to leave this industry. It’s not about leaving the company; it’s about leaving the industry. I’m not alone in that. There are a number of guys in our industry who feel the same way and if an opportunity comes up for them, they don’t want to leave the industry because they have a passion for this business. That’s what you’ve got to find, a passion for the business. Not necessarily a business that you would pick as your ultimate working environment, but you have to develop a passion for what you do.