Graham Engineering Corp. Southeast Regional Sales Manager Adam Grier was not recommended just once for Rising Stars. He was nominated by four different individuals: Jamie Jamison of Southeast Polymer Solutions Inc., Brian Reid of Diversified Plastic Solutions LLC, Michael Stark of Arburg Inc. and Bob Deitrick of Graham Engineering.
"Adam started out with us with amazing enthusiasm, a true hunger for knowledge, and he always strives to better himself. … Adam was our Rookie of the Year in his first year on the sales team and continues to be a leading performer," Deitrick said in a statement.
"Throughout our incredible growth from 2016 to today, we have doubled the company in bookings and shipments resulting in many customer delays. Adam has continued to keep a positive attitude and act as the company ambassador and liaison to find the best outcome for both the customer and maintaining the needs of the company," he said.
Grier, 34, graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in business management: entrepreneurship. His first position in the plastics industry was as a quality technician at Accellent Inc. — which acquired Lake Region Medical and then was acquired by Greatbatch Inc. and became Integer Holdings Corp. — in Trenton, Ga., and served as both an internal auditor and supplier auditor.
"During this same time, I was the primary developer of a software solution that helped achieve a key quality improvement objective by providing a robust solution, which reduced both human error and labor costs associated with identifying bad products," Grier said in his Rising Stars survey.
Following Accellent, Grier spent several years at Zumbach Electronics Corp. as a regional sales manager before joining Graham Engineering in February 2016 to "provide extrusion solutions for a wide range of rubber and plastic processes for American Kuhne and Welex brands," he said.
Graham Engineering, which provides wheel and industrial extrusion blow molding solutions, is headquartered in York, Pa. Grier lives in the Chattanooga area.
Grier's current work struggle is dealing with a labor shortage, which in turn creates extended delivery lead times and pressure on pricing. He said that "when you combine the historically strong demand for plastics products and equipment with a historically tight labor market, finding and attracting talented engineers and skilled labor is very difficult."
"If you want a job where you can show up every day and do exactly the same thing, then do not join this industry," he said. "On the other hand, if you like challenging work that requires working with clients, colleagues and vendors across the industry to find or create solutions, then welcome aboard; the industry will be glad to have you."
Grier is involved in the Society of Plastics Engineers, Wire Association International and the National Association of Sales Professionals. He attended NPE2018 in May as well as other professional events and conferences throughout the year.
"Several years ago I came to the realization that I would never find one mentor who will be able to provide the knowledge and support required to be successful in every area of life, so I began making efforts to learn from outstanding individuals in every area of my life, including physical, mental, spiritual, social, family, financial and career," he said.
Grier listed nearly 30 plastics industry leaders he looks up to, including Deitrick of Graham Engineering and Stark of Arburg. Trailblazers from outside the plastics industry that he listed include Dave Ramsey, finance author and businessman; Mark Cuban, businessman and investor on ABC's "Shark Tank"; and Andy Stanley, author and senior pastor of North Point Community Church near Atlanta.
Faith plays an important role in the lives of Grier and his wife, Lorraine, who have been married since October 2011. He said they are committed to using their "time, talents and treasures to generously serve others to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The couple just completed the training and certifications in June required to become foster parents in Tennessee.
"On a bit of a lighter note, we are both adventurous and highly driven individuals who love life," he said.
The two have completed sprint triathlons and 10K races; renovated two houses; traveled to Costa Rica, Italy and Jamaica; and road-tripped across America. At the end of the day, he enjoys listening to podcasts, playing board games, spending time with friends and family, and taking evening strolls.