This is the second installment in our ongoing ‘Meet the Parklane Team’ Q&A blog series.
Building a family-owned business that holds true to its core values has been a key to our success for nearly 30 years here at Parklane. Sometimes that’s meant inviting some of our team’s family members to lend their expertise to the company. In our latest ‘Meet the Parklane team’ blog, we introduce you to Cole Willis, whose father Trevor Willis has been a key member of our fabrication team for more than 10 years.
Cole began working at our company while still in university and quickly made his presence felt with a willingness to learn and a determination to contribute innovative ideas. We asked Cole to share thoughts on his shifting career path, his hobbies and what life at Parklane means to him:
Team member: Cole Willis
Position: Technical sales representative
Education: Graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelors of Commerce degree, major in law and minor in marketing
When he’s away from the office: An avid golfer, Cole spends as much time as he can during the summer months hitting the links around Southern Ontario. When the temperature dips, he’s busy working out in the gym or watching the Maple Leafs play (and hopefully win) from the comfort of his living room.
Can you tell us about your professional background?
When I graduated from university, my plan was to become a corporate lawyer. I started studying law, but I found that it wasn’t for me. I was passionate about business, specifically marketing, accounting and sales. So, I decided to go in a completely different direction and pursue those interests instead.
What’s your current role on the Parklane team?
As our technical sales representative, I’m responsible for managing and bidding on the majority of our inbound sales inquiries. It can be a challenging job because many of our projects are complex and have a lot of moving parts. And because we provide a turnkey noise and vibration control solution, we analyze a customer’s complete range of needs across their facility, so the scope of our deliverable can quickly expand and needs to be priced accordingly. I help identify project parameters and initial design considerations, and I’m involved in outlining key project deliverables. That means spending a lot of my time working with our estimating tools, managing the standardization of bid sheets and transmittals and working with our marketing team.
From there I set up the initial design meetings with our engineering team, manage bid timelines and close dates and I conduct site visits to collect relevant data throughout the engagement. One of the most important aspects of my role is building client relationships. I’m always working with customers to highlight future opportunities and to make sure they’re fully supported and satisfied with our services.
How does your past experience relate to this current role at Parklane?
I worked in our manufacturing facility for almost four years as a material handler before taking on this role. I had the opportunity to build the noise and vibration control components that I’m now helping to sell. That experience allowed me to gain a very strong understanding of our products and services, to better communicate with our clients and to understand their needs. Because our solutions are so customized, I’d get to come in to work every day and have the opportunity to build something new. You can build 100 different silencers in 100 different ways, so it was always exciting knowing that each day would offer a different challenge.
What drew you to Parklane?
My dad has worked here for years, so I grew up as a part of the extended Parklane family. He always loved going to work and that really stayed with me. Then, when I was in university and started working in our manufacturing facility, I got to learn first-hand just how interesting noise and vibration control solutions could be. I had never worked with my hands before, but I found it fulfilling and it also gave me great insight into every aspect of our business.
There was a practical component, as well, because management offered flexibility when I was in school and they always supported me if I needed extra time off. I fell in love with the environment and it’s been the only place I’ve worked. The amount I’ve learned here in the past four years has completely exceeded my expectations.
What do you think is the most unique feature of Parklane’s culture?
It’s all about the people and our team-focused culture. The company that Greg and Matt [Downey, Parklane’s founder and president, respectively] have created over nearly 30 years is incredible. They’ve worked to make sure that everyone who works here shares our team values, collaborates and supports each other. We work hard, but the work is always rewarding and they’ve created an atmosphere where people feel respected and valued.
As one of the younger team members, I can learn something from everyone I work with—about our industry and life, in general. Not everyone has that opportunity and it’s something I really appreciate.
Need to reach a Parklane team member to discuss your noise and vibration control challenges? Contact us now.