Meet Our Leaders: Daniel Rinehart – Chief Commercial Officer
As an aspiring businessman our Chief Commercial Officer would study the behaviors and careers of his nation’s great “CEO superstars”, learning from the good, the bad, and the ugly decisions that shaped their legacies.
This fascination with how to successfully lead a major corporation – and perhaps how not to – has shaped Dan Rinehart’s varied career within consultancy, business development, sales and marketing, and project management.
After joining Industrial Physics last year he’s already had a profound influence upon the business. A workforce champion, he seeks to build “psychologically safe workplaces” in which employees are encouraged to speak out and to steer an organization to success. This perfectly aligns with the ethos of Industrial Physics’ new employee ownership program – an initiative that was announced last year in collaboration with new owners, KKR.
A results-focused executive, Dan’s resume covers the complete strategy – from ideation to execution. He has vast experience in mergers and acquisitions as well as commercialization through sales, marketing, and service. This is also combined with a track record of driving profitable growth in multiple industrial sectors from infrastructure to food and beverage.
A born leader
So how did it all begin? Well, Dan grew up in the Baltimore area of Maryland in the USA where he loved mathematics and science. He later decided to study engineering at the University of Virginia.
He said: “In my younger days my aspiration was to become like Brandon Tartikoff, the former president of NBC who transformed TV in the 1980’s. I was also impressed with the likes of Michael Eisner – the first ‘non-Disney’ CEO of Disney who revitalized the corporation, put its abundant assets to work, and expanded their footprint. I would watch these guys on TV and would think to myself – that’s the coolest job ever!”
Dan shared that the lessons he learnt from the bold and brilliant decisions of inspirational business leaders had a lasting impact upon his career.
After graduation, Dan spent his first 5 working years in consulting roles for public sector businesses on behalf of multiple firms – this included PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Booz Allen Hamilton. In these positions he supported government departments of labor, defense, and agriculture. He would observe with fascination the ways in which senior leaders would make decisions. Dan grew to love the process of business acquisitions and the implementation of growth models – in turn creating jobs and opportunities for skilled people. It was also during this time that he made a solid decision to study for an MBA at one of the country’s leading business schools.
He said: “I love the creation aspect of senior roles: creating jobs, opening up opportunities, and giving people meaning and purpose. It offers me a powerful sense of personal fulfillment.”
Following completion of his MBA, Dan landed roles in the private equity world. Here, he keenly observed an “old school” approach in which leadership teams made autocratic business decisions without capitalizing on the expert input of their people.
This sparked a lasting desire to build working environments in which employees are supported, trusted, and given true autonomy within their roles. Before joining Industrial Physics, Dan then went on to enjoy challenging but successful vice president and directorship roles within the fields of water equipment manufacturing and commercial security, where he continued to observe the power of decentralized decision making and autonomy.
Building a bright future
When it comes to his role at Industrial Physics, Dan is especially enthusiastic about ensuring that his team are given the opportunity to make their voice heard. He explained, “Our teams must feel engaged and supported to help in the decision-making processes. As a leadership team we may not always like what we hear, but it’s essential that our subject matter experts and employees – across all different business functions – can speak their minds honestly and directly.”
To achieve this, a global workplace engagement survey was recently carried out to really “take the temperature” of the team. This has allowed Dan and the rest of the Industrial Physics leadership team to gather insights directly from employees regarding the day-to-day activities of their role – this is a vital task when leading a large, international organization with hubs in various locations.
Leading a company with purpose
Dan recently went on a worldwide Gemba Walk – giving him the chance to connect with our people in person. He explained the value of this: “It’s been a true joy to meet our people around the world because they care about this business, they care about their customers, and they want to win. It’s a good place to be. We’re working diligently to make sure any deals we do, and further acquisitions we make, enable more success, propel further growth, and don’t distract or confuse us.
“The more important our tests are to the operational performance of our customers, the more they’re going to lean on us as their partner. We now enjoy relationships with major household name clients in which we serve 29 out of 30 testing parameters. In those scenarios we’re looking at acquisitions that will make us a one-stop-shop, so they have no need to look elsewhere!”
Getting to grips with our products
Asked about his favorite product across our range of specialist testing brands, Dan’s response, on initial reflection, was a little surprising: “I love the simplicity of our tissue tear test machines from Testing Machines Inc.,” he explained. “Why is that? You literally take a little lever, you pull it back, and it cuts the paper while measuring the force required to do so.
“It’s so easy for me to translate into why the customer wants that. Think about paper towels and the times when you tore a square off unnaturally, compared to when it came off perfectly. We’ve all probably had a more pleasurable tear experience with the square that came right off…right? I love seeing how this truly simple device solves a global problem. Seeing how our machines work in the field, and how a customer engages with them to solve their problems – big and small – is what it’s all about for me.”
Dan has been happily married for 22 years to his wife Betsy who he met at university. Together with their beloved three children they enjoy a busy home life complete with lots of skiing and white water rafting in the beautiful Fort Collins area of Colorado.