Faces of the Industry: Justin Richardson (Sales Manager, Richco Structures)


Faces of the Industry: Justin Richardson (Sales Manager, Richco Structures)

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without all our 
employees. They’re the lifeblood of what we do.”  

What’s your story?

Justin Richardson“I’m the seventh generation involved in the business,” said Justin. “I’ve been involved in the construction industry for about 12 years, and I’ve been in the truss business the last two years.” Richco Structures, the component manufacturing branch of Richardson Industries, started in 1961, adding a new branch to Richardson’s Business Groups. Today, it operates three divisions: Richardson Yacht Interiors, Richardson Contract and Richco Structures. “I always knew I wanted to be involved in the family business,” Justin said, “and Richco is a great fit!”

“We’re one of the largest component manufacturers in the Midwest region,” said Justin. “We have an excellent team, starting with our general manager, Randy Post.” Randy, Justin noted, has been integral to Richco’s success. “I’m a family member, I’m involved in the business, I do a lot of things—but Randy is a big reason why we are where we are today.” The same goes for Craig Korff, added Justin—filling the shoes of the retiring sales manager will be no easy task, and Justin eagerly gave credit to Randy, Craig and the rest of the Richco staff for everything they’ve done to steer the company in the right direction.

It was Randy, in fact, who suggested that Justin start attending SBCA meetings, like last March’s Open Quarterly Meeting (OQM) in Fort Worth. “It was a valuable experience,” Justin said, and he plans to attend the Montana OQM in May as well. The perspective that comes with SBCA involvement is refreshing, Justin explained, “because it’s a macro view on our industry.” It’s a good reminder that, “even if we’re all competitors, we’re all striving for the same thing.”

What’s on your mind when you’re not thinking about components?

“I have two beautiful children with my wife. So that’s a big, big chunk of my life outside of work. I also love golfing and try to get out as much as I can. Our truss plant is located across the street from Whistling Straits Golf Course, which hosts some major tournaments. The Ryder Cup is coming in 2020, which will bring some excitement to the town of Haven, Wisconsin.”

Richco Structures

What’s the best part about what you do?

“It’s our people: everyone that makes this go, from the manufacturing, to the truck drivers, to the component technicians, to our buyers, to our IT. Seeing our success transfer down, that’s what drives us to just keep growing.” Justin’s top priority is providing steady employment and “making a positive environment” for Richco employees. As he pointed out, people spend a huge amount time at work, so providing “a quality experience for employees” is very important. He noted that a lot of Richco staff have been with the company for more than 15 years—which means they’ve stuck through some hard times as well the good.

“Since the recession has ended and everything has come back,” Justin explained, timelines have been drastically shortened. There’s always pressure, he said, for “quicker quotes, quicker layout, quicker turnaround on manufacturing.” It’s what the market is calling for and, therefore, what Richco is committed to providing, but it’s a major challenge. “I wish that there was more time,” Justin said, to get a project all the way from start to finish.

Fortunately, Richco isn’t striving alone. “We really try to collectively go after projects,” Justin explained. The ideal scenario is when everyone involved in a job can focus. For example: “Richco concentrates on roofs and floors, we’ve partnered with Great Lakes—a long-time customer who does wall panels—and we rely on our dealer partners to supply the loose materials.” Justin said that this model has been successful in helping Richco gain market share against their competitors.

Success comes from knowing what you do well and knowing what matters. “We really are trying to be the leading innovator in the truss industry,” Justin said. “We are continually reinvesting back into the business and partnering with our distributors to be on the leading edge.” That said, Justin doesn’t lose sight of the basics. There is nothing without a sale, Justin emphasized, so improving the customer relationship and experience is always top of mind. And, of course, it all comes back to the staff. “We really wouldn’t be where we are today without all our employees. They’re the lifeblood of what we do; they do an excellent job.”