The Interview with Russ Ryland
Russ has seen it all when it comes to dust collectors. If you have a question that no one else can answer, then you go to Russ. Chances are he knows. Russ has been with the company nearly since the beginning. He now leads the Service and Installation side of the company. Usually when you need Russ the most, you can find him on the other side of the country working on a system. When he is not out on business, Russ likes to spend his time with his wife and three daugters. Before Imperial Systems, Russ also served for his country as a Marine.
Q: You were one of Imperial Systems first employees, right?
A: Jeremiah started the company in March of 2003. He had about 4 or 5 people working for him. I came on in September and now all of the original people are no longer with Imperial Systems. So I’m the longest standing employee.
Q: How many different titles have you had while working here?
A: Fabricator, welder, painting, plasma programmer and operator, drafting, shop superintendent, service technician and Support Services Manager now. A little bit of everything.
Q: How did you get into doing the installs?
A: When I got into the service side, at the time I was the plant manager but it became evident that we needed someone to do the service who was knowledgable with the product and I was the only one qualified. So Jeremiah and Chalmer approached me and asked me if I would be willing to move into the service management position to where I can over see and conduct the service and maintenance on our equipment.
Q: You have been all over the country doing installs, where has your favorite place to visit been?
A: I guess the nicest places to see are out west. Oregon is pretty. Its nice to see out there and how its a lot different than here. When you get out to other areas the scenery is a lot different than what we’re used to. Its neat to see.
Q: Not only have you been all over the country for work but you have been all over the world while you were in the Marines. What countries have you been to?
A: When I was in the Marine Corps I did a Mediterranean Sea float, so I went to Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Indonesia. I also spent six months in Okinawa, and during that time we spent almost a month in South Korea.
Q: What made you want to be a Marine?
A: It was just something I always wanted to do when I was a kid. I just decided that being in the Marine Corps Infantry was just something that I wanted to do. I always liked guns and shooting stuff so I thought it would be kind of fun. So I did it, and it was an interesting job. I wanted to do the Marine Corps to be the best. A friend of mine had been talking about going into the Marine Corps at the time, so I think he kind of convinced me as well.
Q: What was your job as a Marine?
A: I was a rifleman and worked in the infantry companies as a soldier. We did various jobs on the side. I was an ammo driver and drove humvees, but the main job revolved around infantry.
Q: You knew Jeremiah even before you were a Marine, right?
A: Yes. When I was about fifteen years old one of my close friends moved to Grove City, and when he started school in Grove City he became friends with Jeremiah and thats how I became friends with Jeremiah.
Q: Do you have a lot of childhood memories or shenanigans?
A: Yeah. We did a few shenanigans over the years.
Q: Tell me the history of how you got hired.
A: At the time I was working for CCX as a driver and I was also going to school at night for mechanical engineering. They had a meeting to discuss changes that involved the loss of my bid start times. It would have interfered with my school schedule. So I called Jeremiah and told him that he needed to hire me and I was ready to start for him in two weeks. And he went with it.
Q: What other hobbies do you have outside of work?
A: These day mostly revolve around my kids. I have three daughters and they take up most of my time and energy. They are six, four, and three. If I ever get free time I do some shooting and hunting.
Q: What do you think about how the company’s has been growth since you’ve been here? You’ve seen the whole thing, right?
A: Just a couple guys in a small shop to where we are now is amazing. The company has evolved so much over the years. It was in like a garage when I first started and now its a well established facility. Its been really neat to see the evolution. When we started at the shop in Grove City, it had wood floors and the weld shop portion of that building was tiny. Some of our components had to be built on the road because they were too big to fit through the doors.