CEDAR RAPIDS, IA — On Oct. 21, electrical products distributor Van Meter Inc. announced the upcoming retirement of two key sales leaders along with an organizational succession plan and new go-to-market strategy.
Mike Gassmann, Van Meter’s chief growth officer and Todd Ettleman, regional vice president of sales, will retire in early 2021. The two have a combined 45 years of service to Van Meter and the electrical distribution industry.
"Mike and Todd are long term sales leaders who have been instrumental in Van Meter’s success over the years. We are thankful to them for graciously giving us the time necessary to smoothly transition our sales operation for continued success," said Lura McBride, Van Meter president and CEO. "They are true examples of what it means to be an employee-owner.”
Brian Bytnar, an industry professional with more than 20 years of experience and a long-time Van Meter employee-owner, has been identified as Gassmann’s successor. Brian will assume the position of chief sales officer effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Van Meter also plans to transition from being a geography-based sales organization structured around branches and regions, to one organized around customer segments – contractor, industrial and new business development. With the new organizational structure in place, Rob Olney, Jeff Spadaro, Chad Wiltz and Tim McClimon will report to Bytnar, serving in vice president roles leading contractor sales, industrial sales, new business development, and sales operations, respectively.
According to McBride, the organizational changes are prompted by several factors. She specifically cited the company’s strong commitment to customer-centricity, the desire to expand into new markets, alignment with key supplier partners, the anticipated retirements and projected market conditions.
“We’re doing business in unprecedented times, and it is more important than ever before that we align our people to anticipate and meet the evolving needs of our customers and markets,” McBride said. “There is also incredible opportunity to leverage technology. We’ve learned so much from the pandemic. It has challenged us to connect with one another and our customers in new ways. Our business is evolving.”
“Van Meter was founded in 1928 and over the years has repeatedly innovated and reinvented itself for the future. We’re built on having a culture that challenges what’s possible and people who constantly seek to create value in new ways,” McBride concluded. “That’s what it takes to remain relevant and be a market leader.”