Isola Executive Vice Chairman and Acting CEO Travis Kelly on the Upcoming Year


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Matties: When you look at the supply line, you can sell products and be quite confident and capable and provide great products, or you can lead the industry to the future through great leadership and expertise. It sounds like a combination of that is a winning recipe.

Kelly: The product is extremely important, of course, but what will be important in differentiating us from the competition is our ability to deliver that extra service. You want to be known as a supplier that is easy to do business with, which is something that we need to strive for in all of our dealings.

Matties: Being easy to do business with and all that is still great, but being the thought leader drives things in today’s world because if all things are equal and I need a sheet of material, there are 10 places where I can get it. Yes, the quality has to be there. Price is something that’s negotiable across the board. All of those factors are the cost of doing business. What sets you apart?

Kelly: That’s a great question. We have leading products, high-quality service, and competitive pricing, but what sets a company apart is its ability to be an innovative solution provider for customers. It is working with customers on their end product and figuring out a technological solution that integrates their product design. That’s the game we’re all playing. For example, if a company wants to build a certain satellite, a thought leader works with that OEM and solves the problems for them, saying, “We understand what you want, and this is what we can do for you, which is an even better solution for you.” That’s how you become a thought leader and go-to vendor. We are focused on reaching that phase and have already started doing some of that with our customers.

Matties: You’re on to it. When you say you’ve already started, are you building a dedicated team to provide engineering services in that capacity, be it technical sales? I know you’ve worked with Insulectro and others.

Kelly: Yes. We’ve invested in what we call OEM marketing, which is working with the OEM, end user, and end customer on helping design products, integrating our products into that design, and also assisting with some tactical sales. It’s definitely a focus of ours and something we’ve invested capital in; we’ve built up the team. We hired the last person of that team over the last two months, so we’re excited because we believe that is the future.

Matties: The approach of helping an OEM not just improve their product, but also lower their total cost may not mean that you’re selling your product for a lower price, but in the end, they wind up with lower cost. That’s extremely valuable.

Kelly: Absolutely.

Matties: What’s the greatest challenge for you in this role?

Kelly: With any company, the greatest challenge is continuing to drive the culture. I am focused on building on the foundation Jeff established and making sure that we have collaboration, not only within the organization itself but also with the OEMs and our suppliers because that’s something that people always forget to mention. Our vendors are extremely important in our business relationship, so driving collaboration when we want to develop new products is essential. When working with customers, our vendors are at the table too because they have great ideas. All of us working together can launch very successful products. So, that is the biggest challenge—continuing to drive our culture of collaboration across the entire value stream.

Matties: Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you think we should cover today?

Kelly: No, I think we’ve covered the main topics. I appreciate everyone’s time, and we’ll look forward to having a discussion next year where you can see what we’ve been able to execute based on this discussion.

Matties: Great. We certainly appreciate your time today.

Kelly: Thank you.

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