Q&A with Brett Hironimus: We aim to be the easy button for our customers.
Director of Sales Brett Hironimus has nearly 19 years of experience leading sales teams for Clip Express, while also playing a crucial role in introducing new products to market. Driven by a customer-first mentality, Brett sets the pace for his team and ensures every customer has an outstanding experience each time they do business with ClarkDietrich.
We recently sat down with Brett to get a pulse on the clips and connectors market and find out what opportunities are on the horizon for the category.
Q: What’s new in the clips and connectors market?
A: The clips and connectors market is growing rapidly. Right now, Information Technology (IT) is driving the industry by helping to facilitate communication and transactions with customers. Now more than ever, it is critical that manufacturers offer digital tools like intuitive websites and customer ordering portals to streamline key information and help customers find answers to their questions on demand.
Q: What issues are most important to your customers right now?
A: Customers desire trusted advisors who can address their questions and everyday needs. They want help reviewing spec plan details, learning what clip to use in a particular application and advice on how to buy the proper connector. Customers look for a source that can help them with everything from solving framing connector issues and explaining product offerings, to pricing, packaging and general tech questions. We aim to be the easy button for our customers.
Q: Are there any new building codes affecting the category?
A: We’re not seeing new building codes at this time. However, incorporating existing or new connectors into product evaluation reports like ICC is an ongoing trend across residential and commercial categories. Contractors and owners should be proactive in requesting evaluation reports when they specify a clip. At ClarkDietrich, we typically use uniform evaluation services to provide assurance that the code, which sets the bar for the building component’s acceptability, has been satisfied.
Q: What other factors are driving innovation in this segment?
A: The latest trend in product innovation are universal clips, which are a combination of existing rigid and deflection product lines. ClarkDietrich recently introduced a universal Drift Rail and Clip system that allows for drift, deflection and rigid connection all in one. This innovation is important for customers and contractors because it eliminates one of the SKUs and allows for flexibility from a contractor standpoint. We are also on the verge of releasing an expanded product line of that universal product into the marketplace.
Q: How are ClarkDietrich’s newest clip and connector products addressing the industry’s pain points?
A: Until recently, it was common practice on cold-formed steel framing projects for installers to fabricate clips and connectors in the field using whatever scrap or stud material available. In the past few years, however, the shift to pre-engineered and pre-manufactured connectors has been gaining momentum due to performance concerns with non-tested products. As a way to provide the highest level of confidence to our customers, we provide test data on our clips and connectors. The Pony Wall is one way we’ve solved the problem because customers can get the product through ClarkDietrich with no concerns about acceptability.
Q: What do you think the future looks like for the industry?
A: The future of the industry is bright and competitive. There’s a large segment of the commercial side of our business that is custom made. With evaluation reports becoming more of a trend, it will be interesting to see how that practice will affect the segment.