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Episode 12: KTR worldwide - Get to know KTR Corporation in the U.S


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Julia Ures: „Hello and welcome back to our podcast „In Sight KTR “. Today we are taking a little trip to the United States, because we will get to know the American colleagues a bit more. In the future we will introduce as many as the 24 KTR subsidiaries to you as we can and today, we are starting with the KTR corporation in the United States. I have two guests here who are representing the American team today. The first one is Marcelo Marcos, Managing Director at KTR corporation. Welcome Marcelo.“

Marcelo Marcos: „Thank you very much, glad to be here.“

Julia Ures: „And my second guest is Penny Janowski. She is Customer Service Manager at KTR corporation and has been with the company for 26 years. Thank you for joining us today, Penny.“

Penny Janowski: „Thank you.”

Julia Ures: „So, Marcelo, the first question is for you. You have been General Manager for KTR for almost 20 years now. The last 3 years in the U.S. but before that in Brazil. Interesting journey. Can you tell us more about that?“

Marcelo Marcos: „Yes, so I have started with the company 25 years ago here in the United States. I was not the General Manager at that time. So, I spent eight years here in the U.S. as a Marketing Manager and at that time, for a little while, I had the role that Penny has today. In a way we worked together and then in 2002 KTR was interested also in expanding to South America. So, we made a plan to start the company in Brazil. And we did in 2002 and I was there with the company until the end of 2018. The company now is managed by a colleague of ours who was an intern engineering person when he started with the company. So, he’s been with the company for one year after its inception. Now it’s been so from 2003 until today and since 2019 I have been back to the United States. Here at KTR Corporation.”

Julia Ures: „Okay. As we said before there are 24 subsidiaries. Would you still want to work at another one for some time if the possibility came up and which one would it be, Marcelo? “

Marcelo Marcos: „Yes, that’s a very interesting question. I think that working in a different country, it’s not an easy task. For me I don’t think it was such a difficult task, because I was originally from Brazil and so I knew a little bit of the culture. I think that handling a subsidiary…, I think it’s better that the person is from that country at least or at least has a lot of experience in that. So, if I had the opportunity to go to another country, I would have to really think hard about that, because I’m not really sure that I would be able to manage a subsidiary in France or maybe in South Africa, because I don’t know much about those countries. So, I would be a little shy about that. “

Julia Ures: „Okay. As you know we try to answer as many questions as possible in up to 20 minutes and I would like to thank you for all your exciting questions that you have sent us via e-mail to Please continue to do so and follow us on LinkedIn, on facebook or Instagram so you don’t miss out on the news on our podcast. The next question we received is for you, Penny. I heard that you have had quite an interesting start as KTR as well, because you have joined KTR in 1995 on your birthday. “

Penny Janowski: „Yes. “

Julia Ures: „How did that come about? “

Penny Janowski: „It was just luck, I guess. You know I can celebrate my anniversary here at KTR at the same day that I celebrate my birthday. It was just… I remember it was a very cold day too when I started but a very long time ago. “

Julia Ures: „What has happened since then? Could you please tell us a short version of your KTR history? “

Penny Janowski: „Well yes, I mean with there’s been when I started here, Jerry Ellens was the President and we have had three other Presidents and with each one it just gets better. That’s why I, when you asked Marcelo if he was planning on or thinking of going to any other KTR subsidiary, I would say no he’s not! He has to stay here. He’s done a phenomenal job, so that’s what it is. It’s like with every President that we see it just every time it gets better and better.

Julia Ures: „Today we would like to get to know KTR corporation. So, Marcelo, could you tell us a bit more about your company? When was it founded, how many people work there and so on? “

Marcelo Marcos: „Yes so we've been here since the late 80s. We started very small when Jerry Allen's, he was the initial or the founding President of the company and, because we are a corporation, we do have to have a President but it's really a General Manager. In any ways, it was a very small company, we had I think four people when we started, and the idea is to serve the North American market and we do have a machine shop here. So, we do production as well as sales customer service obviously, a little bit of engineering design but most of it is application engineering where we contact a potential customer, and we try to fit the best solution for his mechanical drive. “

Julia Ures: „Of course we would like to get to know the whole team, but we can't do that so easily today. Please Penny, could you describe the American KTR team maybe in 3 words, what you have in mind and why? “

Penny Janowski: „They’re dedicated, very technically tuned into the product line and it’s just a fantastic group of people. Everybody here we work with, every department here, so every team here is very dedicated and everybody... it’s like a family. We all like to work together. “

Julia Ures: „That sounds nice. So, Marcelo, the three words for the American KTR team. What are the three words for you? “

Marcelo Marcos: „Yes, Penny already picked very good ones. I think that we are

unafraid of challenges, I think that we are motivated, and I think that we are truthful to our customers, and I feel that is very important to keep our focus on our markets, our customers, because they are the ones that we are here for and I'm very happy to be here and I reiterate Penny's, what do you say? Comments about our team, that it's a very nice place to work and I would not change it if I had to. “

Julia Ures: „Penny, the next question is for you as a Customer Service Manager. What is it that you like most about your job and what are the challenges associated with it? “

Penny Janowski: „ What I like most is just talking to the customers. Some of them, you know have been our has been with us as long as I've been here. So, it's a challenge on that would just be like everybody observes is just when, you know there's product lines that, you know, that certain things that we run out of stock

on and their demands, you know, but as long as you can work through with the customers and get them what they need it's it all works out. But right now, our customers are just so understanding and phenomenal that even through difficult times they're very understanding. “

Julia Ures: „What would you say, what are the American customers, what are they like? “

Penny Janowski: „What are they Like? They're also dedicated. Some of the people that we talked to, we've like I said, we've been working with for many many years so, and then of course the KTR Germany also has them as customers too, so we fill again like it's one cohesive group so. If you know they're they keep coming back, then we're know we're doing a great job. “

Julia Ures: „Marcelo, I heard about the UL listing and that you’re listed under the UL listing. Could you please explain to us, what does that mean, why is that special?”

Marcelo Marcos: „Yes that's very interesting. Our team a few years ago, the General Manager before me had a very good idea of looking for the market for fire pumps. So, under some loss in insurance regulations when a pump manufacturer sells a fire

pump they have to be listed under the underwriter laboratories which is

the UL and this allow them to sell a system that the end user will be able to insure.

So, it's basically for insurance's purposes and so we had to do a lot of testing with our coupling. We had to hire external auditors and companies that actually tested our

couplings in several hard, aggressive environments and we have our engineering manager Chris Scholes. He was the leader on this whole project. It took him in our team a long time to get this tested and then once the testing was all finished this was all presented to the UL team and then they approved our coupling to be used when a fire pump system is put together by any fire pump manufacturer. This gave us a very good presence in the markets because there aren't too many companies that have this listing. If I'm not mistaken in the U.S., we only have one other company that has this listing on couplings. Yeah, and the other thing is the coupling needs to be produced in the U.S. The listing is our process, and the UL knows that the coupling was designed in Germany, but the listing is under our process so if a colleague in China needs a UL coupling, he has to then give us an order here in U.S. We will ship it to them a finished coupling with the listing marked on it.”

Julia Ures: „Penny, what are the next things on your bucket list and what do you want to achieve next with KTR or maybe also personally, if you would like to share that with us?”

Penny Janowski: „That’s a good question. On my bucket list for KTR is to just have a full staff in all departments. Have everybody just working here, as again, one big happy family which we are. Personally, at home just spend time with my grandchildren as much time as family as I can.”

Julia Ures: „And Marcelo, what is it for you? Next things on your bucket list, with KTR or personally.”

Marcelo Marcos: „ For KTR I think that we still have many projects that we want

to achieve. In all departments we are trying to as hard as much as we can to become all the time a little bit better in what we do. There are many projects that we still want to implement in the next few years. I hope, my wish is, that I can be with the team for you know a few more years until I am ready to retire and that we can implement most of these projects and to find somebody that can also replace me and be the next

leader and mentor for the younger people that we are hired.”

Julia Ures: „So now we are approaching the 20-minute mark, but we can still manage one more question and that is a little less serious and for both of you and it is: If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you still work at KTR or what would you do,


Marcelo Marcos: „I think I would because my wife wouldn't want me at home all day and just because I do too many things and I drive her a little bit insane at times.

I probably would work a little bit less. I would try to make an arrangement with Ms Warning in Germany, that maybe I could work four hours or six hours instead of eight or nine hours, but I still think I would like to achieve what I have set up myself to do.

Julia Ures: „It’s interesting to hear that. Penny, what about you?”

Penny Janowski: „It's interesting because that is something that I have thought about, believe it or not, and my husband and I have talked about it so I would continue to work here because he's at home and retired now so he would drive me insane, and I would have to keep working at KTR. So, I would yes, I would continue but like Marcelo said maybe not eight hours, but I definitely would be dedicated enough to stay here.”

Julia Ures: „I want to thank you very much, Penny and Marcelo, for joining me today and introducing the American KTR team and of course many thanks to you out there for watching and listening to inside KTR, our podcast and our videocast and I hope to see and to hear you again next time. All the best and take care. Bye!”

Penny Janowski: „Bye!”

Marcelo Marcos: „Bye!”

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