- This topic has 35 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 11 years, 9 months ago by Anonymous.
March 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm #1261
I was hired by DCS back in 1990 as a drafter (on the table) not because I was good. I was cheap and I lived in Huntington Beach. I resigned right after Brockway, a decade later. I write this thread in the hopes that others will understand what they taught me. A company does not make people, people make a company.
Surjit Kalsi would not give you food. He would show you how to grow a crop. He would not fix anything I broke, he only provided the tools. He once actually told me, as time was precious, to guess the weight of a product for costing (literally guess). I forget how many years later we actually costed it out within a few bucks. He was angry but fair when I was caught designing for competitors (greedy me). Surjit actually told me he respected my ambition…he could have fired me on the spot.
Randy would let you fail, sometimes dangerously and at great expense, as an investment in you. He once told me "never apologize for sucess". I still use his advice with my own staff now. "Your only as good as the people you hire". An obvious one but rang true then as now. He once sent me out to a restaurant to fix my very first designs (a stock pot). To get a first hand feel for what our service techs would face, with drill in hand. He had me camp out under BBQs at AGA until we were certified. He was never too busy to listen to my bitching. He was like a father to me. He invited me to his house. I knew his kids. I regret that I lost his trust because I was immature, looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Randy, I still have the watch, the tools, the books you gave me as a boss and friend. Thank you.
Roberto was a straight-up genious and no one seemed to see it. He and I were friends. He obliterated my stereotypes of Mexicans. He and I went to his home town in Tijuana and I was treated as he was, royalty. Roberto once told me he could design every product on the back of my paycheck. It took me years to really know what he was saying. "Hey whitey, don’t think for one second your better than the guys building your products"
Engineers at DCS did not get inside boxes just to think outside. We did not want a free lunch (stolen drawings). We would look at our competitors as if we needed them (we did) and with and respect (we did). What I learned at DCS was far more that designing metal boxes. I learned many life lessons from 3 guys that let me help raise their child company made up of people.
Although I can not move back to HB, if the guys buy back DCS, I promise to return my Koh-I-Noor.March 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm #1612
We all have a tendency to look back at the 90’s as a time that was prosperous and business came easy as a result of our hard work.I think we all rate ourselves too high. Those days consumers were looking for product and most companies thrived because consumers were buying like crazy. Some of us were good and that helped.But for the most part people walked in and bought product that was available at the high end. Dealer principals and distributors would tell us that first hand. Most companies grew tremendously. It was a matter of timing , some luck and hard work.Good designs helped. Good quality helped and new products helped more. As for DCS. Their main thrust was grills. They had some decent and simple indoor products that never really took off and a commercial line. Surjit was the difference maker there and made the biggest difference with the customer base. A very good man who was not understood by all. Brockway bought them and paid too much . They never really cared about building the brand, sold it for a loss and there you are. You have to remember that someday these will be the good ole’ days.The best company of the 90’s ? Dacor. Solid product , solid team and two solid owners.March 17, 2009 at 7:43 pm #1613
Well Stallion, it’s always fun to reminisce. I agree 100% that new products are key. I thought this forum could use an engineering/design thread as this site seems heavily loaded with S&M. I did, however, get a kick out of Rich Kalsi’s resignation letter. He was a fantastic drummer.
I vomit at the thought of designing another hot box for Target. If anyone wants something unique…nevermind.March 17, 2009 at 8:33 pm #1614
Well…That is Richard. Swaneel did a great job for DCS. Not all of Surjit’s children are cut out for the appliance business. Just like all of our children need to make their own way.The Brockway group who purchased and then sold DCS gives you a primary example of Wall Street today. The thing missing today is that too many private owners are willing to sell out to people who know nothing about and really care very little about the business. With F&P , they just think they know better. Thank God we still have people like Dacor, Sub Zero and Viking who are still run by people passionate about the industry. That is the key. More so than a sweating and nervous wall street type who thinks they know the business but really know nothing but numbers. That is the problem in America today in most businesses. They say to take emotion out of your job, I say that is part of what made America and makes good companies great. People willing to take risks because of their passion for their business.March 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm #1615CohibaParticipant
I have some great memories of the 90’s as well. Consumers were buying products as fast as we could get them off the line. Dealer & Distributor trips, golf outings, expense accounts, bonuses … oops I’m starting to sound like AIG. But, there were some hard times too, remember the "white grate" fiasco? How about the on again – off again relationships created by manufacturers who believed they could pocket the profits by cancelling distributors and going direct? And, you’re right about Dacor, Stallion. Of all the manufacturers that went direct, MJ was the only one that really got it right. (Maybe that’s because he continued to provide the services that distributors were providing, instead of just pocketing the extra points).March 17, 2009 at 11:36 pm #1616
Well we are certainly nothing like AIG. They like most wall streeters are money hawks any way they can.We earned all of what we got through hard work and good products.The golf , the bonuses were added benefits through some very hard work. White grates ? Wow ! The grazing of the porcelain on the caps and grates , the discoloration ,what did customers expect ?You go way back. I think we will never see anything as good as what the 90’s gave us and we helped build. Thanks to Wall Street and the likes of AIG. I do think that distributors helped get some of the product seated quickly but then guys like MJ sought to get really closer to the customer. Do I know you ? By the way , the Cohiba and the dirty Grey Goose was great on Friday. Just what the doctor ordered.March 18, 2009 at 6:41 am #1617
Did not Surya do well (in US Range land, PA) with that quasi-dcs commercial effort? Is that still going now that Surjit retook the Capital reigns?
I liked Sam.March 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm #1618CohibaParticipant
Stallion, I was just kidding about AIG. I earned everyone of my bonuses, and yes, I go way back. Based upon the names you’ve dropped and the issues you’ve addressed, I’m pretty sure that we ran in the same circles, maybe even worked together (or competed with each other) at one time or another. I’m still trying to pin down who you are, keep writing, I’ll figure it out.March 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm #1619
Sam is a pretty good guy. I am sure with Surjit getting involved things will improve once the economy gets better. I don’t know who Surya is. Just Sam and Richard.What are you doing these days ?March 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm #1626
What am I doing now? I’m currently the General Manager of a municipality in Northern CA. A huge fish in a tiny pond. Designing products was much more fun…gotta feed the kids.March 18, 2009 at 7:57 pm #1627
Referring to your belly are you ? Initials R.E by any chance ? Just taking a guess at that. DCS had some very good designers. Too bad Brockway offered so much money. Can’t blame them for taking the money.March 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm #1628
For the life of me, I cannot recall anyone with those initials (in engineering anyway). I was called "See Dee" by some. Chris by everyone else.March 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm #1629
I was thinking of Evangilista. I came to DCS after the buyout but before the guys left. Don’t seem to recall who you are. Sorry. I should know.
Sounds like you are doing great. Stay well.The big fish tasty ?March 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm #1630
Are you English by chance ? Good friends with any suppliers ? At a time that you could be friendly and still get the job done well.March 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm #1631
I remember Mr. Evangilista. I didn’t work very closely with him though. If you came after the buyout, but before the departure you must be…perhaps…Tom Yingst? Markowitz(sp?). Were you in engineering, finance, sales? I was the engineering manager for outdoor products. My office was nestled between Dan N. and Tom Y (when he arrived as VP of Eng.). Both great guys. I may have left before you joined. I think that was in February 2001.
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