Shane Nitschke, a 19-year veteran of Rough Brothers Inc. (RBI), has been appointed Sales Manager of RBI’s Southeastern region that encompasses Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Beginning in the commercial design department, Nitschke has designed many of the customized retail and production projects for RBI. For the past three years, he has been the Midwest Regional Sales Manager.
“Because of my years in the design group, I have a unique insight into the solutions for the challenges that growers face every day,” Nitschke says. “I ask a lot of questions in order to be an extra set of eyes for the growers I work with.”
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Nitschke and asked him about his new role.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Shane Nitschke: Each new greenhouse project that I have worked on has added to the knowledge that now moves me to my new assignment. There are a number of commercial customers that I will be working with, whose past projects I helped design. My 10 years in the Rough design group exposed me to small, medium, and large projects, as well as some beautiful complex retail projects. As a designer, you know how things are engineered, manufactured, and installed. A good designer is one who has the vision of what that project will look like when it is finished. Finishing it becomes part of your list of life accomplishments.
It was an easy transition to the Rough estimating organization where I learned what it takes to price a quality project and to give the customer the most for their money. It was an even easier transition to move into the sales organization. At that point, I knew how a project went together from beginning to end. My Midwestern customers tell me that they appreciate that I am able to walk them through the process of making their projects come to fruition. When one of my commercial projects is complete, I know that I have provided the level of service that they wanted to have.
GG: What are some of the biggest issues or concerns you’ve heard from the growers you work with, and how do you plan to help them deal with these issues?
Nitschke: No two customers are alike. Each brings a complex set of issues to the drawing board. The land that they own, the government agencies that will guide their build, their financing, deadlines, and the crops that they grow are just a few of the issues that a good salesperson will need to consider and understand. We always hear about a greenhouse owner having to wear many hats. At no time is that more critical than when they are buying a new greenhouse. My experience will help deal with those issues.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? And conversely what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Nitschke: One of the biggest challenges, and there are many, would be our customers’ need to save on costs while being pushed by their own customers and the market to keep costs low while providing a quality product. As a top greenhouse manufacturer, we are always looking for ways to change how a greenhouse can better protect a crop, keep insects out, improve light, provide flexible shipping areas, direct air flow, etc. We are the most important asset a grower can have.
The biggest opportunity for our industry is adapting to modern technologies. We won’t be able to provide the healthy, safe products that consumers want just growing the way that we used to. Nexus/RBI has committed to be aware of and investigate opportunities that I and my peers will be able to explore with our customers. We will find new ways to save on energy, to cut labor costs, etc.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward.
Nitschke: My role will be to have an awareness of new opportunities and changes. I look forward to introducing new growers to the quality product that Nexus/RBI engineers, designs, and manufactures. I am proud to work with people who provide high-quality structures, but are always looking for new ways to innovate and solve problems.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Nitschke: Good question. I am not sure specifically but it would involve problem solving.