Robert Rovira, president of Energy Pipe & Supply, has plans for his C-suite successors, but that hasn’t always been the case. Rob admits to having missed opportunities to strengthen his organizational structure. Now, he and his management team are preparing the next generation to lead the charge at the New Orleans-based company his family has owned since 1988. Jason chats with Rob about his succession planning blindspots, course-correcting with Millennials in mind, and the benefits of belonging to a buying group.
“I get my hands involved in things to this day that I probably shouldn’t be messing with––all because we were a small business,” laughs Rob. Chalk it up to his training or lack thereof. Folks entering the industry today would be mystified (or possibly appalled) by the immersion processes their Boomer and GenX elders endured in the last century. “There wasn’t a whole lot of training. It was really just here’s some business cards; go sell something.”
The next generation of leaders wants more straightforward access to industry knowledge, and Rob’s happy to provide it. “That millennial generation has gotten a bad rap. We’ve got some really talented younger folks who have joined the team, and they’re full of energy. They’re dedicated to what they do, and it’s been a pleasure to bring them along.” Essential, too, to the company’s continued success. Rob recalibrated his management style after years of drowning under the deluge of day-to-day issues created by his open-door policy. “Shifting some of that [ ] decision-making out of my office has allowed me to concentrate on new avenues.”
Rob also credits membership in Affiliated Distributors, a collaborative of distributors and suppliers who leverage their group size to drive growth, with leveling up his game. “We joined AD primarily thinking about the rebates,” he says. “The rebates are nice, but…you make friends, people that you can pick up the phone and talk through a situation and save yourself a lot of headaches. People there inspire you and humble you because it doesn’t matter what you’re doing and how good you think you are; some are just running circles around you.”
Energy Pipe & Supply is poised to get its laps in.
“You go where the market brings you. You see opportunity, you follow it.”
“We still don’t have a heavy organizational structure. We’ve got a few layers, but it’s made it easy for everyone now to know where to report.”
“The experience, the knowledge of 30 plus years in this business, you know, there’s no reason to take that with me.”
“I really believe that if you’ve been a manager, a leader, and you don’t have that legacy and you haven’t developed anybody, it’s a failure.”
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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth, and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
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