We are thrilled to welcome Steve Freed to the Induron team as our Northeast Regional Sales Manager. While we are sad to see our longstanding Water Tank Manager and industry veteran, Tex Enoch, move toward retirement, we could not be more fortunate to have Steve Freed stepping into his role and territory. For the last few months, Steve has worked alongside Tex to establish a seamless transition.
“Steve was already well-known within the ductile iron portion of Induron’s business,” Tex said. “Before he was hired, he went with me to visit some contractors in the Lancaster, PA area as well as a job site where a 3-million gallon composite tank was being built and painted by Chicago Bridge and Iron Company–two perfect examples of what I have been doing for Induron for the last 13 years. Steve easily translated his knowledge of below-ground coatings to above-ground work in which I specialized. His technical expertise is outstanding, and his basic coating knowledge has only to be refined. I can’t imagine Induron finding a more qualified and capable replacement for me as I walk off into the sunset.”
Learn more about Steve in this Q&A:
Q: Tell us about your background, experience in the paint/coatings industry and how you came to work for Induron.
A: I have an engineering degree as well as an MBA, and I am a Professional Engineer registered in the state of New Jersey. I have worked for both a steel pipe and a ductile iron pipe manufacturer holding various roles ranging from Quality Manager, Product Manager, Sales Engineer, and Regional Sales Manager. Most recently, I worked at a coating applicator in Eastern Pennsylvania from 2012 to 2022, which specialized in factory application of coatings and linings to steel and ductile iron pipe. I started there as Director of Technical Sales and was promoted to Vice President in 2016. Throughout my experiences with pipe and coating companies, Induron products were ever present and key to the success of those companies. As a result,I have been familiar with key Induron products and personnel for more than two decades. Knowing Induron’s people, products, and their overall culture made it an easy decision to come work for Induron.
Q: Why Induron? What’s your favorite thing about working for Induron so far?
A: The people, the culture, the superior product offerings, the industry reputation – all of the above! The fit, at least on paper, couldn’t have been better as far as what I brought to the table, what I was looking for, what Induron was looking for, and what they bring to the table. The best part is that now that I am embedded into the Induron culture and see what it is really like, it has become apparent that the fit is everything I could have asked for and more. My fit with Induron is best summed up by the old saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Q: What are your responsibilities in your new role?
A: Although my role is a sales role in name, I see myself as much more than that. I see my role as being one of a problem solver, innovator, engineer, arbitrator, and most of all, a team player, not just within the organization, but also as it relates to all of the various entities I interact with throughout the business cycle. This includes owners, engineers, consultants, inspectors, and painters–all of whom have their own goals and objectives that need to be met. My background and experience in dealing with each of these stakeholders allows me to see things from each of their perspectives and work with each to find the best solution to their situations.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
A: Learning about the structures themselves and the unique requirements that come with painting water tanks and the various components at treatment plants has been challenging, but very interesting. My past experience is extensive on surface prep and application, but only in the context of applying coatings for below-ground structures. I enjoy and look forward to learning technical nuances seemingly every day from engineers and applicators that work on the complex above ground structures that Induron specializes in coating.
Q: Tell us about a project you’ve worked on that you’re especially proud of.
A: I am not going to name a specific project, but several projects throughout my career that I am most proud of involved situations where something went wrong on a job–an investigation ensued, and without a single “smoking gun” cause or solution, all parties were put in an uncomfortable situation. I have always taken pride in properly handling difficult circumstances involving multiple stakeholders through honest, fair, and transparent communication. It is easy to “do a good job” when everything is going well. But, when people have to get together to solve a problem, that’s when everyone’s true character shows through the brightest. Some of the closest and most meaningful relationships I’ve formed are a direct result of working with others through tough times to find the best possible resolution.
Q: Are you seeing any new trends in the coatings industry? If so, please describe.
A: Although it is not new, the trend to make more environmentally friendly paints continues to be a strong industry force. A newer and more novel approach to being environmentally friendly is looking beyond the paint we sell itself and having engineers and owners look at the big picture, and how we can best protect the environment and serve society by using the best products to protect critical infrastructure rather than the cheapest product that can be bought and used today. This can be done by looking at product life cycle costs. A job done well today will last double or triple the amount of time versus the cheapest alternative method is not only an environmentally friendly choice, but is also a better choice for those responsible for maintaining future infrastructure, and ultimately, for society. While the “right” way may be more expensive in today’s dollars, it is actually more cost efficient and better for the environment in the long run. So in a nutshell, by looking at product life cycle costs and environmental impact over time, we can have it all by using better products today that have BOTH a lower cost over time and a more positive impact on the environment and society in the long run.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: The golden rule – treat others as you would like to be treated.
Q: If you could have dinner with any person living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: This is one of those impossible questions I can’t answer with a single person. No matter whom I choose, I would be leaving out so many others that deserve mentioning. If I had to answer, it would be in the form of a collective. If I am feeling philosophical, my answer might be Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. If I am feeling historical and patriotic, it would be a long list of key members of the Continental Congress, not just George Washington. And with football season approaching, another great example would be the choosing to dine with the entire Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII championship team.
Q: What person has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
A: My wife, without question. She continues to be the biggest influence and biggest joy of my life.
Q: Tell us a little about your family, pets and/or hobbies.
A: I am married to Heather, and we have two children, Nathan (15) and Katherine (13), along with our beagle-mix rescue dog, Cooper, who we’ve had for over 5 years. Giving our support to two teenagers involved in sports and other school activities occupies most of our free time right now.