There’s a new man at the helm in the Technical Services Department at AMSOIL, but it’s business as usual at the Superior, WI, plant.
In July 2001, Ed Kellerman, 43, took over the director’s position following in the capable footsteps of Byron Selbrede, who led the department for more than 15 years.
Kellerman and Selbrede discussed the change in a recent interview.
“With Byron’s departure I have some big, huge shoes to fill,” Kellerman acknowledged.
Kellerman came to AMSOIL from Minneapolis, MN, where he was a jet mechanic in the United States Air Force for nine years and had several years’ experience in automotive technology and management. “My background makes AMSOIL a good fit for me,” Kellerman said.
His graceful fit into those big shoes was aided by Selbrede – and a seasoned, five-member staff of experts – for a seamless transition and uninterrupted communication with Dealers and customers.
Technical Services personnel know what product to recommend, how it works, how it matches with other products, how it meets industry standards and specifications, which product is best for specific vehicles and applications. They conduct product analysis and provide technical expertise in the creation of brochures, data bulletins and training programs.
The team always is available to answer questions, and receives more than 4,000 telephone calls every month. “We have four avenues of communication for people to reach us,” Kellerman said, “telephone, fax, regular mail and e-mail.”
However, Dealers are encouraged to seek answers through manuals, or contact Sponsors or Direct Jobbers before calling Technical Services, Kellerman said. “Dealers are the frontline, especially the experienced Dealers, and they are capable of answering the majority of questions,” he said.
A growing number of inquiries come in through e-mail, as many as 60 a day, Kellerman said. E-mails generally are answered within a day. It’s highly efficient communication because technicians have time to concentrate and research clear answers without the distractions of fielding too many calls at once, he explained. “We encourage e-mail,” Kellerman said. “My goal is to offer answers in the most direct and concise manner possible to our Dealers and customers.”
Staff members have access to a full library, manuals, oil analysis results, close communications with on-site laboratory researchers and ongoing education.
Technical Services also performs analysis on failed engines or parts. “Our philosophy is not ‘AMSOIL couldn’t or didn’t cause the problem,’ our philosophy is ‘AMSOIL will help find the actual cause of the problem,’” Selbrede said.
After more than 20 years, Selbrede is officially “retired,” but shows little interest in leaving the company.
He works part time at the corporate office, where he puts those years of expertise into special projects.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the Dealers over the years, helping them with questions, helping with training, meeting them over the years,” Selbrede said. “And I miss a lot of that personal contact.”
He recommended Kellerman’s hire, Selbrede said. “Ed has been doing a fine job since he came on board. I feel confident he’ll continue to take the department in the right direction in the future,” he said.
Dave Nimmo is new to the Information Technology Department at AMSOIL in Superior, WI, but he cut his career eye teeth on computers.
Nimmo, 49, became manager of the Information Technology Department at AMSOIL in September.
Nimmo left Duluth, MN, 28 years ago, and, except for a short stint in Mexico doing missions work, held several positions in the world of computers.
He was a computer operator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1979-1985.
After 10 more years working with computers and two years earning a computer programming certificate at Northeast Metro Community College at White Bear Lake, MN, he became network analyst for Chisago Health Services, Chisago City, MN.
While he was there, the Chisago system merged with the Fairview Health System network, a Minneapolis, MN-based regional health care provider.
When Fairview opened a new hospital in Wyoming, MN, in 1998, Nimmo was the computer wizard for a merger that included three hospitals. He connected the three hospitals and ironed out the kinks of getting them online. “That was lots of stress,” Nimmo said in a recent interview. “It was challenging, but I like the challenge.”
At AMSOIL, Nimmo oversees a computer staff and all of the company’s computer programs. “I understand and can speak ‘programmer language,’” he said.
He spent time getting to know the company, meeting employees and familiarizing himself with the computer system. “I’m trying to bring a sense of unity to the department so that we can serve the rest of the employee population,” Nimmo said.
Routinely, he oversees and monitors day-to-day operations of the company’s computer system, recommends computer software purchases, develops company security and Internet use policies, and advises administrators when there’s a need for enforcement.
AMSOIL soon will implement a new computer system that will revolutionize the company’s ability to serve Dealers and customers alike, and entail every aspect of the business.
“It’s a huge system,” Nimmo said. “It’s a big project to get my arms around, but I like the challenge. I’m happy to be in AMSOIL and can see nothing but strength and growth in the quality and use of AMSOIL products.”