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AMM profile: Alan Wilkinson

Keywords: Tags  Marmon Distribution Services, Alan Wilkinson, Lamar Wilkinson, succession planning, employee skills, Corinna Petry

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Alan Wilkinson, who will succeed Norman Gottschalk Jr. as president of Marmon Distribution Services Inc. in February, will continue the company’s succession planning and focus on updating employee skills, improving productivity and growing the company’s various businesses.

Wilkinson is a 35-year veteran of the company, which his father, W. Lamar Wilkinson, ran from 1979 to 1989. The younger Wilkinson started out in the warehouse, performing every job except driving a truck. He is currently vice president.

"Norm has left a great legacy. He has been a great mentor" and created a sound succession plan, Wilkinson told AMM Sept. 10 during the Metals Service Center Institute’s Economic Summit in Schaumburg, Ill.

"We have more people retiring in the next few years but we have a lot of young people coming up. We’ll invest in those people by sending them to MSCI courses and Marmon training. We will push them through the organization, giving them the tools they need to grow and succeed," he said.

Also ingrained in the organization is the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of customers. "We will continue to carefully 80-20 our inventories and maintain them to allow for long-term growth between those customers and our company."

Marmon Distribution will push the value-added processing operation model into its subsidiaries as well. For example, "(Bushwick Metals LLC) is getting far more into value-added and it will be a growth engine for them," Wilkinson said. "We have to find ways to increase productivity, so we’ll continue to upgrade our equipment and research technological improvements that help our people work smarter instead of harder."

Regarding growth prospects, "we will continue to pursue strategic bolt-on acquisitions through all facets of Marmon Distribution. That is something we constantly look at. Bushwick acquired a company last year and that is paying great dividends."

As a leader, Wilkinson will seek to have everybody on the same page. "We are focused on the long term and don’t have a ‘plan of the day.’ If everybody goes their own direction, nothing gets accomplished."

Like Gottschalk, Wilkinson has steel in his blood. "My mother and my father both worked at J.M. Tull (now part of Ryerson Inc.). That’s how they met. My mother was in payroll and my dad was in counter sales. They ran into each other in the hallway one day. Since the day I was born, every meal I’ve ever eaten was furnished by the steel business."

Then there’s the third generation: Wilkinson’s son works at Marmon’s Butler, Pa., warehouse.

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