Nine years ago, Steve Steigerwald didn’t know what an employee-owned business was and had never heard of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). But the idea intrigued him, so he decided to join Sentry Equipment as a service technician. Now he profoundly believes in the employee-owner business model, a conviction that was only reinforced through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sentry employees truly make the difference. Even though each of them is working remotely, there’s a sense of teamwork. Each service technician is focused on servicing the customers and making an impact,” he says.
The Face of Sentry Equipment
Steve’s work schedule is split into two segments: office days and customer site days. When he’s in the office, he’s working with the service team to meet internal needs while taking the time to connect with customers and improve their service experience.
As a senior service technician, Steve enjoys working directly with our customers as the “face” of Sentry Equipment, focusing on troubleshooting issues and identifying solutions. “Taking a problem and turning it into something great for our customers gives me a great sense of pride,” he says.
Customer visits involve traveling to sites, assessing customers’ needs, identifying and problem-solving issues, in addition to repairing equipment, and performing routine maintenance. These solutions often go beyond the technical to include giving customers advice on how to improve their processes through upgrades and retrofits or offering training opportunities for staff.
Steve says having an open mind is essential in this role to educate himself on his customers’ needs and to offer out-of-the-box solutions that help them optimize performance. He instills this mentality into the many trainees and new hires he helps educate when they join the company.
“The quicker you learn, the faster you can advance and support your customer,” he explains. “Allow yourself to be an expert in your field – keep eyes and ears open. Always keep your customers in mind, and don’t be afraid to build relationships because it will help you improve.”
Senior Service Technician
Three things he’d take on a deserted island: “A flint and iron to make fire, a good hunting knife (important in any survival situation), and a good book.”
What does he do when he’s not working? “I build hardware systems, and I recently built a computer with my son. I also like to play video games, and I enjoy spending time with my family camping and being outdoors.”
If you could be or do anything else, what would it be? “I’d be a video game developer. I wish I’d gotten into programming and game design when I was younger.”
Focused on the future
The culture of continuous improvement at Sentry Equipment is crucial to this process now and in the future. “Big ideas and improvements are more important than remaining the same,” he says. “By adapting well to environmental impacts, such as the COVID pandemic or oil and gas price changes, and sustaining the level of service and customer satisfaction, we are continuously able to weather any storm.”
Steve originally planned to go into aerospace engineering. But when he joined the Marines, he was tasked with ordnance, instrumentation and electronics. This led to a passion for understanding the “why” behind how things work, a skill for servicing highly technical equipment.
This curiosity has served him well during his time with Sentry Equipment. Over the last nine years, he’s experienced exponential growth in customers’ needs, which has required additional training to execute solo service visits, the need to cover multiple territories, and extra time on the road.
“These growing pains have been worth it for a 100% staffed, fully supported team that empowers our customers to execute their processes,” he says. “The sheer amount of growth and need of service in the last few years has been amazing to be a part of.”
As Sentry Equipment continues to expand the service team, Steve looks forward to having a more significant role that allows him to interact with management teams, gain supervisor responsibilities, and work with the support team.
“Sentry Equipment is here to make life better. We want to improve our customers’ lives, employee-owners lives, and the world for a better future.”
Employee-Owner Profiles is a regular feature that highlights members of our team. As an employee-owned company, Sentry Equipment believes that employee ownership makes a difference. Our employee-owners are dedicated to hard work, positive results and continual improvement and innovation to provide our customers the highest quality products and services.