4th-generation Hellwig president keynotes annual industrial summit

The South Valley Industrial Collaborative hosts fourth annual Industrial Summit online

TULARE COUNTY – Titans of South Valley industry are virtually coming together to hone their business prowess. Nov. 13 will be the fourth annual Industrial Summit put on by the South Valley Industrial Collaborative.

“We have been pleased to see our Summit draw more attention each year and offer discussion topics that educate and inform,” SVIC chairman Bruce Nicotero noted. “The virtual aspect is new and challenging, but making the presentations available online means we reach more people at their convenience, which is a plus.”

Attendees will be able to choose from 10 breakout sessions during the event and can watch them online later at their convenience. Break-out session speakers include Assemblyman Devon Mathis; Brett Sutton, managing partner of Sutton Hague Law Corporation; Eric Osterling, general manager of the Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency; and Shelly Little, president of Personnel Solutions Unlimited, discussing best practices of recruiting during COVID.

One of the two keynote speakers this year will be the relatively recently crowned president of Hellwig Products, Melanie Hellwig-White. The first woman president of the company, Melanie took on the job in the spring of 2018. She was promoted from vice president of the company where she implemented an effective marketing strategy for the company and helped solidify its brand.

Melanie, the fourth generation family president forged new paths for the company by actively volunteering time with the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade organization and participating in their businesswomen’s network and light truck accessory alliance. But according to her, a great amount of her early sales experience gave her the chops to set herself apart in the family-owned business.

“I hated [making cold calls], but it set me up for success. It gave me the perseverance you need…and I learned to have thick skin because not everyone is so nice on the phone,” White laughed.

Although, through cold calls, and then outside sales, White figured out how to work with customers to get them what they wanted.

Clearly her low woman on the totem pole routine ran its course as she rose through the ranks, but up until 13 years ago there was no guarantee she would work for the family business. At Chico State, her father’s alma mater, she studied psychology and had a minor in business. When she decided to commit herself to the business she leaned in full force. So much so that she was chomping at the bit for the president job.

White said that she had been talking with her dad about the promotion for some time. She’s proud her family has expressed their confidence in her to run a company of 53 employees, shipping hundreds of thousands of pounds of vehicle suspension products all over the world. And her job now is no small feat. In addition to implementing strategic marketing techniques, White is working on the company’s finances, speaking directly with large scale customers and diving in deep on research and development.

There is no fee for participating via zoom, but organizers are encouraging sponsorships of the sessions to cover expenses. Sponsors will be given the opportunity to speak briefly at the beginning of their sponsored session.

To register, visit www.eventbrite.com/E/south-valley-industrial-summit-tickets-125078181207. For further information about sponsorships, contact Bruce Nicotero at [email protected] or visit www.southvalleyindustrialcollaborative.org.

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