Todd Krupa, 34
Regional Sales Manager, Midwest, Printing and Extrusion, Windmöller & Hölscher
Todd Krupa was born in Welland, Ontario, and came to the United States to attend school and play hockey. He graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a bachelor's degree in business management.
Career highlights for Krupa include global account manager for Colordyne Technologies, regional sales manager for Enercon Industries and regional sales manager of printing and extrusion for Windmöller & Hölscher. He has also presented at the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry Extrusion Coating Conference.
"My first plastics job was as a regional sales manager for Enercon Industries. There I worked with both converters and film extrusion companies [blown and cast], supporting their treatment needs and providing a better understanding of the relationship between their films and the treatments required," he said. "I enjoyed the variety of application challenges and building relationships while helping identify solutions."
Onboarding at a new company during the pandemic while being remote has been a significant challenge for Krupa.
"Luckily, I had been familiar working from home and was comfortable with the work-life balance required, but it can be hard to learn a new company culture when you can't knock on someone's door and ask them a question," he said. "Thankfully the team was great, and we got really good at virtual meetings really fast."
His challenge now is "meeting customers' demands and balancing a wide variety of press and extrusion projects at once" on top of "managing COVID while traveling and visiting customers."
Krupa participates in the Flexographic Technical Association, Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute, Flexible Packaging Association and TAPPI. He attends trade shows such as K show, NPE, FTA shows, TLMI conferences, Plastics Technology Expo, AIMCAL and PMMI Pack Expo.
"At W&H, our customers are pushing technology to its limits and are challenging us to work together on finding long-term solutions to their quality and performance and sustainability goals," he said. "Our customers are excellent manufacturers who want equipment that's going to help secure their future not just meet their legacy needs. This is why we make a concerted effort to engage in industry groups, associations and publications so that we can continue to be a flexible packaging equipment industry leader."
Krupa was nominated by Kasie Fairbarn, product sales manager for Windmöller & Hölscher.
"The industry-leading technology, customer support reputation and incredibly strong team has made joining Windmöller & Hölscher my greatest career achievement to date," Krupa said. "I'm truly proud to be a part of this great company."
Q: What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Krupa: When you're in sales, the thing you don't want to have happen is to lose an order. But it's inevitable sometimes. The first sale I lost taught me a lot about my abilities to persevere and about the customer relationship process. These are tough lessons, but I'm thankful for the experience to learn from them.
Q: What steps have you taken to advance in your career?
Krupa: I've always sought out training classes and information sessions whenever I have an opportunity. I have also made key connections with various subject matter experts. Every time I speak to them, it's a chance to learn something and gain an edge. Also, asking customers questions about why and how they do certain things has been incredibly valuable in growing my knowledge which in turn has helped me advance my career."
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Krupa: I have been fortunate to work with and learn extensively from some of the smartest and well-rounded professionals in the packaging and plastics industry. Denny McGee (MPS) taught me how to take care of my customers and that if I was supportive of them, I would grow a vast network of indispensable relationships. Tom Gilbertson (Enercon) brought me into the film world and guided me in application support areas for our customers that helped build a strong foundation for my professional growth. And most recently, Andrew Wheeler's (W&H) guidance and customer relationship principles around doing the right thing have been providing the ultimate playbook for success.