Mark Berry: ‘Everybody Here Has a Personality’

Mark Berry - Word on the Wire - Allied Wire and Cable

Mark Berry, an account executive who joined Allied Wire & Cable in 1998, is interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

The Bridgeport place was pretty run down and nasty with all kinds of rodents and stuff running around everywhere. Everybody would attest to that. I even stepped on a rat’s tail there and nearly crapped myself! But everybody was awesome. I really became friends with my co-workers. We had a blast. We were very tight, close and did things together. We’d go out after work to happy hours. They’d treat us to lunches. It was smaller back then. Everybody was all in one area. Co-owner and co-president Tim’s office was kind of like his own office with a divider wall. It had a dividing window. I used to open the slider and bust his chops. It was fun.

Phoenixville was great. It was a brand-new building. It was huge compared to the Bridgeport location. They hired new people, and I met new people, who I became friends with. They’re still here, too. It was a fun, family atmosphere.

I was at the groundbreaking for the Collegeville building, and it’s really neat to see where we’ve come from. When we first moved in here, there was a huge area where it was wide open for about two years. Now it’s completely filled. Twenty years is a decent amount of time, but in these 20 years I’ve been here, we’ve grown pretty fast.

I’ve known some of my co-workers, especially Libby Achenbach, Pat Wilson and Jen Byrne, for 20 years. I have seen some come and go who I became friends with and still keep in touch with some of them, too. Which is cool. It’s definitely a family, for sure.

Our Christmas parties have always been fun.One employee during the Bridgeport years showed up as Santa Claus, and nobody knew he was going to do that. We were all blown away.

The secret is a prompt response, getting right back to the customer. Trust is a huge thing, especially with a lot of our competitors. Our Sales team is trustworthy and gets back to customers very quickly. We have competitive pricing and good shipping, usually shipping out within 24 hours.

I think everybody here has a personality. Which makes it more interesting for the customer to deal with you because they’re dealing with vendors all day. Some people are by the book: “Oh, here’s your price. Bye.” We have a relationship with our customers. I’ve had customers since we were in Bridgeport. They’ve been with me for 20 years. I’ve reconnected with customers who have left the business they were in prior. I’m like: “Oh, my God, thanks for remembering me! I appreciate it.” That’s a huge compliment right there.

At the first golf outing I went to, I didn’t golf at the time. Later, I took up golf and was able to experience it for myself. Pat Wilson was very influential in getting me into golf. He’d be like, “We’re going to play,” and I would say: “I don’t have any clubs. I don’t even play.” And he’d say, “You can borrow some of mine or somebody else’s,” and we’d go. A lot of times, I remember going to the outing, and I didn’t golf, and I’d be like: “Oh, man, I want to play. I could be out here.” And then I remember co-owner and co-president Dan Flynn saying: “You can hit one drive. You can use my clubs.” I did, and it was great. I got addicted to it, and now I just can’t stop playing. I’ve been playing golf for six or seven years now, often with Pat Wilson, Matt O’Reilly and Jim Thivierge, from all different departments.

The golf outings are huge for connecting with customers. We’ve had the golf outing every year since I’ve been here, and a lot of other companies don’t do that. I think Tim Flynn and everybody else knows that it’s very important to reward your customers for being loyal all these years. It’s also important for customers to come out and meet your rep, or salesperson, to be able to spend time with them. We’re really not talking about business; we’re just shooting the sh*t and having fun. Everybody who has ever come to it loves it and comes back all the time. Which is great. It couldn’t be any better than that.

With customers, we’re friends more than having a traditional customer-vendor relationship.

I still love coming to work every day, and the people I work with are great. I couldn’t ask for anything better right now. I’ve actually seen my whole life happen here. I got out of school and met the mother of my boys through here. We bought a house when I was here. We had our boys when I was here. Everything’s happened in 20 years for me since I’ve been with this company, and they’ve seen it all. It’s definitely a big family.

Dan Flynn: ‘Nobody Takes Better Care of Their Customers Than We Do’

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Dan Flynn (pictured above) joined Allied Wire & Cable in 1990 and serves as co-owner and co-president, was interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

My brothers, Tim and Mike, started Allied before I got involved. I was working for Texaco in South Florida, and Tim kept saying: “Come on up! Come on up! Let’s make this go.” I started when I was with Texaco, actually, doing outside sales and helping them get some sales down there. After about a year of that, I decided in 1990 to come up here [home to Pennsylvania] and … try to make a go at this thing.

Hand to mouth is the only way to describe it. Literally, I was making $200 a week. Tim was making $250 a week. We were both married. I had to live at my parents’ home for a year just to live off my ex-wife’s salary. We would get up, cold call all day and my parents would usually make us dinner. Then we’d go back down and do any billing. We’d go out to the garage, where we’d have a hand spooler on which we had to put a vice grip on the end of the thing, and that thing would be spinning at a couple thousand revolutions. Every one of us—me, Tim and co-owner Chris [Burke]—had bruises and welts all over our hands because that thing would smack you. If you get hit by a metal vice grip going 60 miles an hour, it hurts. We’d send out line cards, and then we’d get back at it in the morning.

The only day we did not work was on Sundays. We were working from 8 in the morning till 10 at night five days a week. We were working Saturdays from 9 to 3 or 4. You’d wake up in the middle of the night and start jotting down ideas next to your bed. It was literally never off; it was always on 24/7.

We were young, stupid and full of piss and vinegar and were willing to sacrifice to try, but we never envisioned what we’d build. Our philosophy—Tim, Chris and myself—was very simple. We knew we were sacrificing at that time in our lives, when we could, before kids came along and other things came along with the hope that we could build something. The thought always was, “If we take care of the company, eventually the company will be in a position to take care of us.” We had no idea what that entailed. … My first year, we did $400,000 in sales. The next year, we did $1 million. The next year, we did $2 million. And then $4 million. Then $6 million. $10 million. That was the goal: We wanted to beat last year’s numbers. We wanted to grow at a 25-percent-plus rate. We would always have a celebration on Cash Day. Cash Day to us was when we finally got to be cash-positive against taxes from the year before. It was literally December 20. It was that tight. It was for years because we were putting everything back into growth.

One of the worst nightmares of Allied’s existence was when banks started requiring us to have a physical inventory done. At our Bridgeport building, we’d have massive—at the time, 10,000 square feet—warehouse space filled with material, and we didn’t know what it was. We didn’t put value on it, but the banks wanted to know what it was. We had to do a physical inventory every year on that stuff. [The] Bridgeport [facility] was a 120-year-old munitions factory from World War I and World War II. It was dirty and nasty. We had stuff everywhere. We asked the sales representatives to give us two nights a week. We would start around Halloween, and it went through Christmas—sometime New Year’s—with everyone giving us two nights a week. Tim, Chris and I were doing four nights a week. We’d … physically count every item. You would be black from dirt and soot. You’d be blowing black boogies. It was disgusting.

We loved each other. At that time, I can honestly say, you were working with your best friends and people you loved. We laugh about a lot of this stuff—the rats and the dirt and stuff like that—but we did it. It was part of the price you were paying. We didn’t know any better. We had a blast. A lot of times, sales representatives Pat [Wilson], Mark [Berry] and Libby [Achenbach] and I will still talk about that. We miss a lot of that time—the camaraderie that we had and how much fun that we could have. I still say to people: “I used to know everybody who worked for us—their story, who they were, their family. I knew it all.” We knew everybody and everything about them. We could joke and do stuff. … The bigger you got, the less intimate it got.

We hit our stride pretty good in Bridgeport [in the early 1990s]. It was great for us because there was this huge old plant, spread over buildings and floors, so when we needed an extra 5,000 square feet, we’d just get it. When we left there, we had 40,000 square feet, but it was in four different buildings and five floors. So when we got into Phoenixville, under one building, it exploded—and we knew it would. That enabled us to get a better eye on everything that was going on.

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When we walked into [the] Phoenixville [building], it was 35,000 square feet, and we’re like, “We’ll never fill this up.” Four years later, we had to start building [the existing headquarters in Collegeville, Pennsylvania]. This was 80,000 square feet. “How long is it going to take to fill this?” A few years later, we had to put [a 21,000-square-foot] addition on. And then we had to buy another building and are renting another one. Plus, we bought [other offices and warehouses across the country]. What kind of cracks me up is when I step out of the conference room or kitchen and look down and see nothing but cubicles. Or when I go upstairs, which used to be pretty much empty except for IT, and see people everywhere. That really hits you. It’s like, “Wow!”

We’ve all heard stories about how other places are. I’ve been in hundreds of factories—both customers’ and vendors’—and you see cultures that you like and think you’d like to emulate and other cultures where people don’t look like they’re having any fun or enjoyment. One thing I want [the Allied culture to have is for employees’] work and personal life to mix. It’s just as important to people to be as happy at home as they are here. If they’re happy at home, they’re going to be happy here. When we can mix in some fun, some light times—it’s all for the better. We’ve all got to be here longer than we’re with our families, so why make it staid and depressing? I’d rather people have fun, talk and have friendships.

Four of the first 10 customer accounts I opened up still buy from us today. That was in 1990, and two of them are in our top 100 customers. We’re all about relationships. Anybody can take an order. Anybody can just talk to somebody. We’ve always believed that what can differentiate us from anybody else is to have a relationship with the customer. Not just: “I’m servicing your account.” We try very hard to teach [our sales representatives] to be personal, to find personal information and to be as friendly as they can. … If you ever heard some sales conversations, it was about: “How’d your grandkid do in the game?”, “How was the hunting trip?”, “How was the fishing trip?”, “Did your wife have the baby?” The last 30 seconds is about: “Oh, what do you need to get?” … Email and computers have killed relationships, to some extent.

We service the shit out of our customers. Nobody takes better care of their customers than we do. We give them faster turnaround times and more accuracy. We’re at 99.9991 percent accuracy. … Our goal is to be the best service company out there.

If there’s a job that has to be done around here, Tim and I have done it at one time or another. My job has evolved majorly from the point of having to be the disciplinarian for the company and running—not on an intimate basis—IT, Accounting and doing all the legal stuff. At this point, I’m still intimately involved in Operations, Reviewing, Accounting, Purchasing and still handle 25 to 30 Sales accounts that have been with me forever. I get my hands in everything but don’t do any one thing.

The one thing that I’ve learned more than anything else is that you’re never done learning. The minute you think you know it, guess what? Somebody’s going to come along and knock you off your perch. If there’s one life lesson, that’s probably it. You’re never done learning.

Chris Burke: ‘Just Be Yourself’

WOTW-ChrisBurkeChris Burke (center in top image), a co-owner and vice president who joined Allied Wire & Cable in April 1990, is interviewed for Word on the Wire, a series celebrating Allied Wire & Cable’s 30ish anniversary.

I played professional basketball for about six years over in Europe and here [with the Philadelphia 76ers] and used to deal with the clubs in negotiating contracts. I had an agent but just learned to deal with people. I’ve always been a people person. Being on your own at a young age over in Europe with no support system, you learn how to get what you need to get done and to protect yourself. That prepared me for coming back here.

I thought I was finished with my basketball career and was looking to get on with the next phase of my life. My brother’s wife reached out to me and said there were two brothers selling wire and cable out of their basement. She set up a meeting for me to go out and meet Tim [Flynn] and Mike [Flynn] at their house along with their father and mother. There were two desks and two phones in a basement, and I looked around and said, “This could work.”

A funny story that I like to tell often happened about a week in for me, in April 1990. I’m just learning the ropes, learning how to get on the phone and do all that kind of stuff. Tim tells me that their brother Danny is getting married down in Florida. Danny was still in Florida, selling industrial lube at the time, I think. He says, “We’re going to go to the wedding.” I say, “Great!” He says, “Well, we’re all going to the wedding, and you’re going to be here by yourself.” [Laughter.] So two weeks into my tenure there, they’re all leaving for Florida, and I’m sitting in the basement by myself, fielding phone calls. At one point, I tell Tim, “Hey, I have to get lunch,” and he says, “Put them on hold.” So I put the phones on hold and quickly got lunch and came back.

We were doing everything on our own. A customer would call, and we’d take an order. We would literally have to go wait for it to come in from the factory, we would repackage it, put a UPS label on it and wait for the UPS guy to come. We did everything. At night, we’d invoice items. We did whatever it took.

Early on, we would call anybody. I was calling people at Bombardier Learjet, a billion-dollar company, and we were selling them wire and cable. What was funny was when they’d say: “So where are you guys located out of? Where’s your warehouse?” If they had Google Maps back then—[laughter]—and they saw our address, they’d be like, “That’s a house!” I always laugh about that now. The funny thing was, they never knew. We’d service them and got them what they needed and got them out of their jams and kept their production floors running. Thinking about it now, it’s awfully funny to think that these gigantic companies were coming to us and usually to find something that they couldn’t find anywhere else.

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We never ever said no to anybody. Until we looked under every rock. Usually, a lot of the bigger companies back then wouldn’t do that. If they didn’t have it in their stock, if it wasn’t on their screen, they’d say, “We don’t have it.” But we’d go find it, and that’s how you get in the door with a lot of these guys. You’re solving their pain; you’re getting them something that they can’t find; and you’re making them look good.

Just be yourself. I tell a lot of the young guys, “You know what, people always tell me my greatest attribute as a salesperson is that I sound genuine and am somebody they can trust.” That’s just being yourself. That’s the way I am. I always say, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” It’s pretty simple.

Recently, we had an event and were taking a picture as a company family, and we had everybody out in the parking lot. I looked around and said, “Oh, my God.” You get a sense when someone says you employ 250 people, but until you actually see it—. … When I go out into our warehouse and look around, I go, “Oh, my God.” We were in a garage with a little motor and a screwdriver. … It’s amazing. It really is.

Allied Encyclopedia: Alpha ThermoThin Wire

What is Alpha ThermoThin?

Alpha ThermoThin is a new line of hook-up wire. This line offers reliable performance in applications where extreme heat is needed due to the high temperature range. The high temperature range makes ThermoThin ideal for military, energy generation and production, semiconductor, oil and gas, and other mission-critical applications. These wires are also designed to save space and weight and are great for usage where space is limited.

Features and Construction

Alpha’s ThermoThin line features small and lightweight wires. The wires have a nickel-plated copper conductor and ECA fluoropolymer insulation. ThermoThin is available in conductor sizes 36 AWG to 16 AWG with 600V performance. The feature that sets ThermoThin wire apart is the broad temperature range and the ability of these wires to save space and weight.  ThermoThin wires have a temperature range of -150˚C to +300˚C which allows it to be used for many strenuous applications. These wires are RoHS2 and REACH compliant. Sizes 30 AWG and larger are UL AWM 11540 compliant and pass UL horizontal flame qualifications. ThermoThin hook-up wire also comes in a variety of colors.

 

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Alpha ThermoThin

If you are looking for more information on Alpha Wire, visit our website or check out our Alpha Wire FAQ page.

Allied Encyclopedia: M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing

What is M23053 Heat Shrink Tubing?

M23053 is heat shrink tubing that is used to overall increase the durability of wire and cable. This specific spec is rated to military standards and can be used for military applications. Below this post will discuss some of the specific military lines of M23053 that Allied carries.

M23053 tubing is used to protect wire and cable from external damages. These include chemicals, water, corrosion, and surface abrasion. In addition to protection, heat shrink tubing is also flexible and offers extreme heat resistance. The tubing shrinks to a predetermined size/ratio when heat is applied.

This heat shrink tubing can can be made of various materials. Some of the most popular materials of M23053 heat shrink tubing are Polyolefin, Ethylene-Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), Polytetrafluoroethylene(PTFE), Neoprene, Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF), Kynar, and PVC.

M23053 Applications

Heat shrink tubing can be used in a variety of applications. The most common uses for heat shrink tubing are strain relief, wire bundling, electrical insulation, mechanical protection, environmental protection, and component identification. Heat shrink tubing can also be used for repairs, either temporary or permanent. Different types of heat shrink tubing has different shrink ratios to ensure the proper fit for your application. There are options such as 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1 Your application will determine which shrink ratio to use.

Mil Spec Tubing Options

M23053 is rated to military standards and can be used in military specific applications. Some of the most common M23053 slants are /5 and /6, /11, /13, and Kynar /8.

M23053/5 and M23053/6 are Polyolefin heat shrink tubing. These two slants have excellent resistance to water, fungus and UV light. It can be used in applications for bundling, insulation and protection, water and dust proofing, and shock protection. Shrink ratios for this tubing range from 2:1 to 4:1.

M23053/11 is FEP heat shrink tubing. This slant boasts high heat and non stick components which allows it to make a tight seal around components. It can be used in applications that require excellent chemical resistance, as well as high heat situations. The shrink ration is 1, 3:1.

M23053/13 is Viton heat shrink tubing. This slant is ideal for use where high flexibility is needed in either low or high temperatures. It is also good for use where protection from abrasion, fuels, acids, and solvents are present. The shrink ratio for Viton heat shrink is 2:1.

M23053/8 is Kynar heat shrink tubing. This slant is a semi-rigid and flame retardant, Polyvinylidene Fluoride thin wall tubing. It has great cut through, abrasion, and heat resistance properties. M23053/8 is used for jacketing components, fuse coverings, or where strain relief is needed. The properties of this Kynar tubing allow it to be bent, flexed, or twisted without using its mechanical or electrical strength. It has a 2:1 shrink ratio.

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Heat Shrink Tubing

There are many other options of heat shrink tubing in addition to the ones mentioned above. If you have any questions as to which heat shrink tubing option is good for your application, be sure to check out our Heat Shrink Tubing FAQ page or visit our main Heat Shrink Tubing page to browse on your own. As always, if you have any questions, call us at 800-472-4655.

Allied Encyclopedia: Cat 8 Cable

What is Cat 8 Cable?

Cat 8 cable, or category 8 cable is a shielded, copper twisted-pair communications cable. It is the latest ratification of twisted cable systems, which was implemented under ANSI/TIA 568-C.2-1. The International Organization of Standards (ISO) equivalent is expected to ratify in either 2017 or 2018. Cat 8 cable can be used to link Television, computer data, video, audio, and various other data systems to a given data center. While Cat 8 offers high speeds and strong connections, it is relatively short ranged and designed for use in data centers, not office wiring and connection. To reiterate, Cat 8 can be used to strengthen a data center’s performance levels significantly with a bandwidth four times larger than Cat 6A. On the other hand, it would not be practical to wire an office’s phones or computers due to its length limitations. All other category cables have a length of 100 meters compared with Cat 8’s 30 meter length. Cat 8 is divided between two classes, class I and class II, or Cat 8.1 and Cat 8.2. The differences between the two being shielding types and connector compatibility.

Cat 8 Cable

Cat 8 Specifications

  • 2000MHz or 2GHz bandwidth  
  • Max data rate 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T
  • Cat 8.1 utilizes 8P8C connectors and is backward compatible
  • Cat 8.2 operates with TERA and GG45 connectors
  • Can be used at a range of 30 meters (About 98 feet)
  • Cat 8.1 uses F/UTP or U/FTP shielding
  • Cat 8.2 uses F/FTP or S/FTP shielding
  • Cord gauges come in 22, 23, 24, and 26 AWG
  • Temperature range -10 to 60 degrees Celsius

Allied Encyclopedia: M17/176-00002

What is M17/176-00002 Wire?

M17 is the military standard for coaxial cables which are used to maximize performance in difficult situations that the military might encounter. M17/176-00002 is a variation of M17 coaxial cable called twinax cable. Twinax is similar to coaxial cable, however it has two inner conductors instead of one. This cable is used for high frequency signal transmission.

M17/176-00002 Construction

As stated above, M17/176-00002 is a variation of coaxial cable that is a twinax cable. Its 2 inner conductors are 24 AWG, each 19/.005 silver coated copper alloy. This cable has two solid Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) dielectric cores. These cores are twisted together and filled with two PTFE rod fillers. The outer conductor is a single braid of 38 AWG, silver-coated, high strength alloy. The inner braid has 95.4% coverage and the outer braid has 94.6% coverage. M17/176-00002 has a Perflouroalkoxy (PFA) type XIII jacket with an overall diameter of 0.129 inches.

M17/176-00002 Cable Ratings

  • Temperature Range: -55°C to +200 C
  • Max Operating Voltage (vms): 1,000
  • Impedance (ohms): 77 +/-7
  • Capacitance (pF/ft): 19.0
  • M17 Test Frequency: 10 MHz UnSwept
  • Comments: Use up to 10 MHz maximum

M17/176-00002 Wire

For more information about M17/176-00002 please visit our catalog page on M17/176-00002 cable. To request a quote on M17/176-00002 twinax cable, visit our Quick RFQ form or call one of our experienced sales reps today at 1-800-472-4655.

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