Parsippany, New Jersey-based trophy and awards manufacturer and distributor Freeman-CMA celebrates the 20-year tenure of National Sales Director Gregory Kolenut and Sales Manager Erich Stock. The company celebrated with a small party within the sales department to commemorate the anniversary.
For the past 25 years, Stock and Kolenut have been a dynamic team, the pair says. Five years before joining Freeman-CMA, they both worked at an airplane manufacturing company. Kolenut joined Freeman-CMA as a customer service manager, later bringing Stock along as the customer service supervisor. The new employees were tasked with centralizing the company’s customer service center in New Jersey. “They had customer service representatives all over the country and at different warehouses, so (Kolenut’s) primary mission in the beginning was to help centralize the call center and he brought me in to assist with that,” Stock says, explaining how later, he was promoted to sales manager and Kolenut to national director of sales. “That’s how we started with the organization.”
The initial draw to the industry was the product itself, they explain.
“It’s a fun and rewarding product,” Stock tells A&E magazine. “I guess you could say people are happy because they can fly, but you don’t really get to see the end result. In the awards industry, someone is happy in the end.”
Kolenut agrees, adding, “We were making aircrafts, which is cool, but we liked the awards industry because we liked the product we were selling, so that’s what attracted us. It’s the sensibility of our products. We get to see our kids and our family get trophies—you can see the end result.”
Though much has changed over the past 20 years—the technology, customers’ needs, the internet, the demand for faster turn-around on orders—one thing has kept them in the industry for two decades: the customer.
“The industry and the company has changed over the years, but we have always kept that customer-based focus. I think our relationships with the customers kept us in the industry. Most of our good times over the years have been at trade shows talking to customers and they have become our friends,” Kolenut says.
Stock adds, “It’s like a family.”
Looking to the next 20 years, the “Freeman Boys” plan to stay with the company and improve upon their experience-based skills. “We want to get better at what we do. We will adapt to any changes that come and use our experience to not keep doing what we’re doing, but use it to try new things,” Kolenut notes. “We have the confidence now. We know the customers and can continue to learn from them. Evolve and adapt is our motto going forward. I look forward to a new era and the next 20 years at Freeman-CMA.”
For more information, visit www.freeman-cma.com.