Good afternoon Dr. Spagna, I guess I’m writing to address your request for Alumni
information. It’s nice to know that there is some concern for what we do to generate
the donations and not just how much the donation will be this year. I’m glad you
are taking this step to build a network of contacts.
I started working for Bear Island Paper a few weeks after finishing in December
1989. I worked in the production labs running tests on various feed stocks and finished
product characteristics. The realization, that a mistake in test results at 2:00
am could costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in the space of an hour, got me
out of the college mode pretty quickly. In 1992 tired of shift work and looking
for more opportunity, I started at Virginia Abrasives to help them install a beta
gauging system to measure add on coat weights in the production of sandpaper. I
was also tasked with developing a company wide quality control program to include
process monitoring and training. From there, I developed the company’s first safety
program. Developing those two company wide programs gave me a broad understanding
of the process and ultimately led to me running the operation from raw materials
through initial jumbo production. My move into marketing was not exactly planned
but has been very rewarding. In 2001, Virginia Abrasives purchased another manufacturer
and due to my experience constructing the products I was tapped to head up their
more technical sales. This put me in constant contact with the entire sales team
and with marketing. Within a year, I was asked to take over marketing in addition
to my technical sales. I’m currently working on my third 44-page catalog and will
start updating our website to include a full shopping cart by the end of the year.
The biggest challenge I constantly face is the fact that customer behavior is anything
but “Physics” rational. In 1996, I married my wife Tara and we have two boys, Jared
and Matt. Our free time is fairly non-existent since we own a dance school that
my wife started in 2004.
That’s as brief as I can be about the last 17-years. Please let me know if you have
any questions. Thanks again for putting this together.
Virginia Abrasives Corporation
2851 Service Road
Petersburg, VA 23805