TS: For such a youthful guy it is incredible that you have been with the same fastener company, Metric & Multistandard, for 42 years (give or take). That is almost unheard of, especially today. So, let’s talk a bit about how you got started and the path that has led to you being the National Sales Manager of Metric & Multistandard.
Rich: Between my sophomore and junior year in college a family member asked if I needed a summer job and since I answered the phone (I have three other brothers)…I took it. Started in the warehouse and told the manager that I would find someone to work when I went back to school and jump back after my junior year. The manager liked me, so he told the owners I might be someone to hire after graduation, so they flew me to NY to interview for a sales job at MMCC (summer of 1980). They offered me a job on that trip, so going back for my senior year with a job in hand felt pretty good. Worked in sales for about 5 years, then became the assistant branch manager in 1985 (I think), when the manager of the Burr Ridge branch retired in 1996, I was given that job. Became National Sales Mgr. in 2007 and haven’t looked back!!!
TS: And you are still very actively involved at Metric & Multistandard. You handle a lot of national accounts and are always in attendance at the trade show. You have good energy. What keeps you going at this pace?
Rich: It’s always good to travel to a fun destinations. Vegas, Orlando, Long Beach, Denver, Ohio… Vegas is always fun, since I can cover two vices (golf, gambling) in one location. I know there are more vices there but let’s stick with those two. I also like hanging with people in the fastener industry. I’ve met people from all over the US, Canada, Mexico along with Europe & Far East. I have made some very good personal friends through the industry.
TS: Talk a little about the management team at Metric & Multistandard. I know it has been a family operation for years and still continues to be.
Rich: When I originally started there were three families who owned Metric & Multi, then in 2007 one of the families was bought out. The Peske & Hacaj families are on the 2nd generation of ownership and I have a great relationship with both. Me being in IL and the owners in NY could also be a reason I’ve lasted this long.
We also own a company in Germany (MCG-Metric Components Germany) who supplies us with product throughout Europe for items like, cutting tools, wrenches, pins and harder to find metric items. I’ve taken a few trips to Hamburg to visit our team, and travel around Germany to visit some of their suppliers. They send weekly air freights and 2-3 sea containers a month, so we can give our customers that outstanding customer service. Our management team in the US is also very strong, with most managers being at Metric & Multi from 20 to 40 years, which tells you it’s a very good company to work for…
TS: Let’s talk about the metric market overall. You have seen it from when most people did not know what a DIN spec was to where almost every company has some metric offering. What have you seen change in the metric market and what changes have you seen at Metric & Multistandard?
Rich: When I first started you could count on one hand the number of distributors/imports who sold metric…now like you said, everyone gets a call for something metric sooner or later. Biggest changes would be technology…when I first started we didn’t have a computer and we’d have to check stock by going to the warehouse to physically checking stock. Another change is DIN vs. ISO. DIN is being replaced by ISO slowly but surely and the transition, albeit slow, is happening for most of the metric items we see.
TS: You have been involved with the Midwest Fastener Association and was president for a couple terms. And you attend a lot of other associations events on behalf of your company. What changes do you notice in fastener associations across the country?
Rich: The different associations would have local tabletop shows or conferences which I was invited to attend as our company representative. And since we have five locations across the US we belonged to a lot of different groups. Lucky for me, most of them had golf included, which you know, would be hard for me to pass up. Now with Covid a lot of the associations are doing Zoom meeting, which I’ve attended and seem to be a big hit.
TS: What are the biggest changes in the industry you have seen over the years and, in particular over the last few years.
Rich: Acquisition of companies being bought out to form larger/stronger companies, which gives those companies a bigger variety of products/services to offer. Having an online presence should be a no brainer. Newer/younger people to our industry don’t want to call for stock checks & pricing, they want to see it on your website, then send the order directly to your computer.
TS: What’s the future of our industry look like in your estimation?
Rich: The fastener industry is very strong. We need to make sure the next generation jumps in with both feet and develop those professional relationships with people, not just become robots emailing back & forth. They need to get out to shows and conferences to meet people they deal with on a daily basis
TS: What is something that none of us know about Rich Cavoto?
Rich: MMCC – golf, ping-pong, dart, bocce ball, Texas hold’em CHAMP – 10 years running…maybe longer!!