While Fratco’s sales team consists of people of all ages, Alan Kruszka is notably the oldest of the bunch, and he is not shy about pointing that out. The western sales rep is coming up on his ten-year work anniversary with Fratco, though his adventures in the drainage industry began 23 years ago.
His history leading up to his introduction to the pipe industry is not a linear one, with his resume including time spent buying livestock, working for a farm-building company and helping out at his parents’ resort. The areas he served over the years range from the entire East Coast to the fringes of Nebraska.
When Kruszka began working at Fratco, his coworkers quickly became family. Shortly after he joined the sales team, his wife was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Through her multi-year fight and eventual passing four years ago, Kruszka leaned on his Fratco family for support, something he says they are exceptionally good at providing.
Offering support is an effort Kruszka excels at himself. Having worked for so many companies over the years, Kruszka has developed an approach to customer service that speaks for itself.
“I’ve always been one who believes in taking care of your customers, getting involved with their lives and taking an interest in their family,” said Kruszka. “I think there are times where I talk with customers more about their family… than business. It’s just part of it.”
With 43 years of agricultural sales under his belt, there is little he has not seen on the job. Many of the younger reps on Fratco’s sales team will reach out to him for insight and advice. And while some may see him as an expert, Kruszka is candid about his desire to continually learn.
“In this business you never stop acquiring knowledge,” said Kruszka. “I refer back to my younger associates and some of my colleagues that have been in the business and I gather information from them as they do from me. You pick things up from the young guys. You just can’t be in this position for as long as I have and say, ‘You know what, I know everything.’ No one ever knows everything.”
It is this attitude that has helped Kruszka build Fratco’s western territory and win the Minnesota LICA Associate of the Year Award in 2018; an accomplishment he says he was very surprised and humbled by.
With such an esteemed history, he does wish he had done one thing differently while working in the drainage industry: That he had started out at Fratco from the beginning.
“What stands out more than anything about Fratco is the family atmosphere and how well they take care of their people,” Kruszka said. “We may not be the largest player, but we are the best when it comes to a company that cares about its own people. You have to be honest and a hard worker and the company will take care of you. They really will.”