2016 Person of the Year: Glenn L. Mosack, CEO, Conbraco
Danielle Galian: What does the growth and success of Conbraco mean to you? Glenn Mosack: We are continually growing through two avenues: Organically and Inorganically as Apollo Flow Controls. For us to continue to maintain our 88+ year legacy as a family business, we must meet the challenges of both growth and customer satisfaction through investing in our organization to be the best in the industry. It means that the legacy of my grandfather and father will be continued. Our family and Conbraco have been synonymous for over 88 years. The success of Conbraco also means that the people who have been with us have opportunities to improve their lives by having increased opportunities, and career paths. Our average tenure is 15+ years which speaks volumes of how Conbraco is a great place to work. I am humbled everyday to see Conbraco succeed in innovation, sales, and the best personnel in the industry.
DG: Share your personal and professional background
GM: I began my employment with Conbraco Industries, Inc. in 1986 after graduating from The University of South Carolina in 1982 with a degree in Business Administration and Political Science. The company was founded in 1928 by Clarence C. Mosack grandfather to Glenn Mosack, and for 88 years the Mosack family has managed (now in the third generation) the day-to-day production, distribution, and manufacturing operations of Conbraco. Recognized as a world leader in the production of the Apollo® brand ball valves and flow control products for industrial, residential, and commercial applications.
I served as a member of the Board of Directors from 1988 to 2010. In 1990 I was appointed Vice President of Operations, and in May 2003 assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer and President. I currently serve in an expanded role as CEO of Conbraco and all respective product divisions under the Aalberts North American Flow Control group; Conbraco, Elkhart Products and LASCO Fittings, as well as Executive Director of Aalberts Industries.
I am a member of the American Foundry Society, Inc., the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Supply Association. I am a founder and serve on the Board of Trustees for The Charlotte Children’s Classic Foundation, a non-profit organization whose primary focus is to provide support to non-profit groups operating to benefit deserving children in the Carolinas; as well a member of a Church of Charlotte. Furthermore, my philanthropic endeavors with a focus on education in support of Providence Day School, University of South Carolina, and Appalachian State are in line with my civic responsibility as a business leader in the community.
DG: Describe your management style
GM: I am very involved with most aspects of the businesses. I have worked at Conbraco for over 30 years and learned all aspects of the business from the ground up. I like to understand the processes. I also enjoy talking with our employees and listening to their ideas for improving both their jobs as well as the company.
DG: Talk about some highlights in your career
GM: Maintaining control of the business after earlier challenges. We almost lost control of Conbraco when we went through internal problems and economic troubles in 2001. In 2005-2006, our financial stability was put back in a positive position and we haven’t looked back. Also:
• Named Entrepreneur of the Year by E&Y 2008.
• Doubling the business over a 15 year period.
• Improving earnings every year, with exception of two.
• Been married once to the same saint of a wife Hollie for over 26 years. We have three wonderful children: Braxton, Morgan and Parker.
DG: What are your thoughts on the success of your team?
GM: Our team is two fold. We have the best veterans in our manufacturing and operations. Secondly, we have added new (younger) talent across all areas of our business. In particular, we have added many in our sales area of the business. As our business has changed, especially with new products, our way to market has changed with it. We have added personnel in the field to work alongside our reps to make sure we are getting specified in every job possible. We are extremely focused on increasing our specification position and leveraging our broad product offering of complete system solutions. This is also important as we add strategic acquisitions.
DG: What are your thoughts on leadership? (style, technique, training)
GM: My leadership starts with leading by example. I believe in setting a vision that my team can get behind with enthusiasm. I always look to have my vision to be one that serves the needs of others and not my own needs. After vision, then I try to live out the desired culture in the way I speak, behave, make decisions, and interact with others. I am a true believer in realizing what skills I am lacking, and finding the best folks around me to bring those skillsets to my team.
DG: Let’s talk about Conbraco today, what’s new?
GM: We have invested heavily in our back office and infrastructure to prepare the organization to grow towards our goal of $1.0B in 3 years. We want to make sure that we do not make mistakes by taking on too many new things at once, so a lot of preparation work in all aspects of the business have transpired over the past 2 years. Conbraco is now a part of a larger organization. We now have the challenge of integrating other products and brands into our total customer offering. We are moving from being a supplier of products to being a provider of systems and solutions. We also have the challenge of taking advantage of the synergies available through a larger organization while maintaining the entrepreneurial and family culture that made us successful through the years.
DG: What is the biggest change in the industry from your perspective?
GM: The biggest change in our industry is the rise of ecommerce and how this new platform challenges us to make sure that we can manufacture, pack and deliver our products better than anyone in the industry. We are growing very quickly with the significant capex we put back into the business so that we can always stay out in front of the markets. Using technology and building up your ability to communicate with your customers is one of the greatest focuses as a business. Ecommerce is one of the biggest challenges facing our companies and we are investing heavily in the next 18 months. We have been witness to a steady decline in skilled labor for our manufacturing plants and unfortunately see this trend continuing. I mean this for both our internal skill labor (tool rooms, pattern makers, maintenance) and with the end users (installers) of our products. Many younger workers do not want to learn these skills like they used to and therefore now there is a shortage. We have to change to different joining technology to still be successful. Always continue to evolve based on the ever changing business climate.
DG: What is the proudest moment for you when looking back at Conbraco’s history?
GM: In the early 2000’s we faced extreme challenges on several fronts. Through the support of our customers and associates, we were able to work through those challenges, save over 1,200 jobs and emerge a stronger company. Also, in 1998, we faced a decision to close our brass foundry operation and move it off shore like everyone was doing to chase the lower cost labor, or build a new one. I decided it was best to stay our course of being vertically integrated (and control all aspects of quality and delivery), so we invested $20+ million in a new state of the art facility in Pageland, South Carolina. So today we are very proud to say that 95% of our products are still manufactured right here in the USA.
DG: What continues to motivate you?
GM: I am very competitive. I wake up every day trying to win and find ways to beat the competition. I am very fortunate to be able to do that in a business that my grandfather started, my father built it to higher levels, and now my son (4th generation) will be joining me (in May) to take the business to new heights.