DALLAS — A clairvoyant in the business of polymer matrix composites would anticipate material trends and issues far ahead of the competition. Some believe Richard Holland, executive vice president of sales and marketing for distributor Composite Materials Inc., might qualify for such a designation.
``As a distributor, we have a responsibility to bring new products and processes to our customers to meet their needs,'' Holland said. ``Typically, we try to help our customers make products stronger and lighter, or reduce cost by process improvement and material selection.''
One of his specialties is locating scarce materials, sometimes identifying military surplus that a customer could acquire.
Patrick Money, president of the Composites Fabricators Association, presented the group's highest honor, the President's Award, to Holland at CFA's October conference in Dallas. Holland served on the CFA board for four years and executive committee for two years. Observers added thoughts in interviews.
Holland serves as ``a great sounding board'' in meetings where clients of inventor Norman C. Fawley evaluate vendors. ``Dick is very innovative,'' said Fawley, owner of NCF Industries Inc. in Long Beach, Calif.
``He has an uncanny ability to know about new applications and always has an idea for me, whether [or not] I am going to buy anything from him,'' said Mike Gordon, chief executive officer of Gordon Plastics Inc., a producer of high-strength laminates and bar stocks in Montrose, Colo.
Holland ``knows more than anyone else in the composites business,'' said Skip Hamilton, regional sales manager in New Braunfels, Texas, for material supplier DIAB Group.
He is ``always looking to future applications on composites and working with his customer base to develop new markets,'' said Carole Monheim, western regional sales manager in Santa Ana, Calif., for Vetrotex CertainTeed Corp.'s fiberglass reinforcements division.
Holland earned a bachelor's degree in communications and public policy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966 and attended the advanced management program of the Clairmont Graduate School.
He took a sales job with Owens Corning Fiberglas in San Francisco and relocated to Toledo, Ohio, in 1969 as OCF market manager for corrosion-resistant reinforcements. A year later, he returned to California as sales manager with Kaiser Fiber Glass in Azusa and, later, vice president and general manager of Western Reinforcements in San Gabriel. He joined Los Angeles-based distributor Erskine-Johns Co. as executive vice president in 1977 and was president from 1990-1995.
Holland's current company was formed from the March 1995 merger of Erskine-Johns and its principal competitor, Clark-Schwebel Distribution Corp.
The Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based firm adopted the CMI name in July 1995, employs 220 and has annual sales of more than $160 million. Holland reports to CMI President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fuller, formerly Springs Inc.'s mergers-and-acquisitions executive.
CMI has three California plants; one each in Seattle, Portland, Ore., Phoenix and Salt Lake City; two in British Columbia; and others in Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Florida. CMI distributes resins, catalysts, polyurethanes, releases, chemicals, solvents and specialty products such as gel coats and putties, fillers, core materials, equipment and laminating aids.