What does that position entail?
As a regional sales engineer, I specify, sell, and support our products in Idaho, Montana, Eastern Oregon, and Eastern Washington (East of the Cascade Mountains). I do everything from demonstrating new products, help specify and apply our products, provide technical support and limited startup assistance, and educate customers on our products.
How long have you worked at Olympus, where did you come from?
I’ve been with Olympus Controls since April 2007. Before working at Olympus Controls, I spent 4 years working for a system integrator doing sales, and programming of PLCs, HMIs, Databases, and Web pages. Before that, I worked 8 years for an Allen Bradley/Rockwell distributor selling PLC’s, HMI’s, Software, Drives, and Motion Control. I received my BS in Mechanical Engineering from Gonzaga University in 93’. GO ZAGS!
A little history of how you got involved with Olympus?
What a great story. Anyone that knows our owner/president Scott Hendrickson will be able to visualize this. I met Scott for the first time when he made a sales call on my previous company. He was showing the latest miniature actuator. We didn’t even work on or sell mechanical equipment, but he was passionate and engaging. I think he might have been traveling with someone else, but all I remembered was Scott, his smile, and his engaging personality. About three years later, I was standing in line at a UPS store shipping a package. About three people behind me I hear someone say, “Hey, Jason Brickner, How are you doing”. I turned around to see Scott. I couldn’t remember his name, but I hadn’t forgotten him or his face. He acted like we had just had lunch the day before. I said I was good but he could see the bewilderment on my face. How the hell did this guy remember me or my full name. It had been three years! That’s Scott though. A few months later he asked me to go to lunch, then a few weeks after that dinner, then a few weeks after that asked me to come and meet the rest of the Olympus Family in Portland and the rest is history. What an awesome company of friends to work and have fun with.
What do you like best about working at Olympus?
The people… the support from management… the opportunity to run my territory like it was my own business. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep at Olympus Controls. The leadership is fantastic. The teamwork tight. I consider everyone I work with like a friend I can count on.
How long have you been involved in Factory Automation and describe a little of your past history.
I have been involved in factory automation for almost 20 years. My interests started at university where I focused my studies on microprocessor applications and robotics. When I graduated, I took a job at Morrison Knudsen working in the environmental remediation group. After that, I went to work for an Allen Bradley/Rockwell Automation Distributor selling PLC’s, Drives, Software, and Motion Control for 8 years. After that, I went to work for a System Integrator programming and installing that stuff I used to sell. I’ve been at Olympus Controls for more than 10 years.
Describe some of your hobbies – what do you like to do outside of work?
Helping my children grow into respectful, responsible, and self-sufficient adults, Kiteboarding, Homebrewing Beer, playing guitar, running, mountain biking, snow skiing, and tinkering with electronics
What are some key lessons you have taken from your career thus far?
You have to keep a positive attitude in sales. Your own enthusiasm (or lack of) really shows how much you believe in your product or service. Personally, I can’t sell something I don’t believe in. When I was younger, I tried… it doesn’t work for me. What is great about Olympus Controls is we have many “Best Of Breed “products for Mechatronics, Motion Control, Machine Vision, Robotics, Sensors, Safety, etc. This makes specifying and selling fun. Of course there are discouraging moments, but the words of an old encyclopedia salesman ring in my ear. He said the trick is to ‘Fake it till you make it’. It may sound silly, but I’ve found it helps not only in sales, but in life. You turn the frown upside down, act positive, and pretty soon you’re back on your game”
Do you have a favorite Sports Team?
Yes… My kid’s soccer teams. Two are on competitive teams. When they were younger it was a challenge watching games and running them all over town to their practices, but as they grow older, I look forward to a weekend full of games.
What is one thing your customers might find surprising about you?
I lived in Ghana, West Africa for 4 years while my father worked for Kaiser Aluminum. I was there during 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade. It was an amazing learning experience. While on leave we went on a safari, traveled through Europe, and went to Florida a couple times. One winter, my class sang Christmas carols for the future first lady, Barbara Bush (George-W’s mom. George senior was VP at the time). She was visiting Ghana at the time. I have many found memories of friends, the beach, and school. Despite immense poverty, the Ghanaians were some of the happiest people on earth.