09 Jan An Interview with Chris Curtis, RC Industries
RC Industries has been manufacturing quality storage solutions for truck drivers for 25 years. In order to gain a better understanding of the company’s passion for customer satisfaction and quality production, we sought the opportunity to interview the President, Chris Curtis.
The Rebirth of RC Industries
However, before we take a look at what Chris had to say, let’s examine how RC Industries came to be the company it is today.
It was in 1994 that Chris Curtis bought the assets of a dying business. Afterward, through the quality care and treatment of the employees, the spirit and the productivity of the business dramatically improved. Since then, RC has continued to grow by focusing on both the employees as well as the quality of product and service. Tradesmen all around the United States know they can rely on the products and customer care produced by the great team at RC Industries.
Question & Answer Session with Chris Curtis
Q: What sets RC Industries apart from other manufacturers?
RC is willing to produce a custom solution for your needs. Most businesses push you into their standard products, while we want the product solution that works best for you.
Q: How does your team work together?
We are blessed with an excellent team of leaders. They are the real heroes responsible for the continued growth of RC. Once we find team members that are a good fit, they tend to stay at RC for a long time.
Q: What is something particularly interesting about your company?
We are currently testing a project for the Norwegian Special Forces. This box had to withstand a 30-foot drop from a helicopter into the raging North Seas – quite a trial by fire!
Q: Do you have a funny story about one of your projects?
About 20 years ago, RC was developing an energy-absorbing bumper mount. We decided to test the prototype in house. The concept of the test was to load up a flatbed with 10,000 lbs of steel and let it roll down a decline until it crashed into the cement barrier. RC would then measure the compression of our new bumper mount.
JC, our crazy maintenance man, volunteered for the mission. JC put on his white crash helmet, buckled in and proceeded to crash our truck into the cement barrier. The prototype was not a success but led to further product iterations that we still manufacture today. I will never forget the vision of JC grinning maniacally while crashing into the barrier. It was probably his favorite day at work!
Q: What part of the job is the most difficult?
The most difficult part of the job is dealing with issues completely out of your control. When the economy tanked during the Great Recession, RC lost close to 40% of our revenue in weeks. There was very little we could do to get that business back. That scenario was very difficult because we could not sell or market our way out of the slump. Nevertheless, we stuck together and made it through. One area of the business we developed during the recession was our talent pool. Many good people were out of work. RC built much of our management structure during that period.
Q: Which style of toolbox do you sell the most of?
The best selling RC toolbox is our M-series underbody toolbox. The M series box is the most weather-resistant, most durable toolbox in the work truck industry. We have had customers contact us with 15-year-old boxes that they have moved over from four progressive trucks. Our products have impressive longevity in a time when most products only last a few years.
Q: What are the most popular “upgrades/extras” a person can get when purchasing one of your toolboxes?
Q: How is RC Industries involved in the local community?
RC participated in a back to school drive with one of our inner-city grade schools. We were able to provide school supplies to cover nearly all of this year’s needy children. Another beneficiary of RC’s hospitality is Homeward Bound. Our team members provided pet supplies to help fund the effort to place pets in homes rather than euthanizing pets. RC also donates food supplies to our local homeless shelters to help feed the homeless.
The local community is where our team calls home. It is where our children go to school and where our hopes reside. RC is active in the community because we feel the need to give back. The community has blessed RC with their sons and daughters which has directly impacted our success. Therefore, RC supports the community in the hope that our team members will tell others what a great company RC is.
Q: Why is RC so passionate about producing American-made products?
To me, it’s all about the community. Why send products overseas when we have the ability to compete right here in the USA? When we build it, we control the quality, delivery, and design. RC focuses on building better, high-value products. We work in small batch sizes and are willing to take custom orders. RC is proud to provide American made products and we compete with products from all over the world every day.
RC Industries Cares About People!
From our interview with Chris Curtis, we can see that RC Industries is a caring company that values people, relationships, and quality products. Take it from Chris Curtis himself:
“Business is still conducted between people. RC has the most talented people in the business. We truly care about our employees, our customers and our vendors and it shows in our efforts to improve every day.”