As H.B. Fuller’s market manager, Garrett Price is the technical expert on adhesive technology, customer applications, customer needs, and industry trends in the End of Line (EoL) Packaging and Container Labeling markets for the U.S. and Canada. He collaborates with R&D, the company’s commercial team, marketing, top strategic customers, and equipment suppliers daily to understand market needs and develop solutions. Moving forward, Price plans to further develop his leadership skills in business by taking on roles in sales and strategic account management. Long term, his goal is to be a business director overseeing a global market segment.
How did you make your way into this industry?
I started in the packaging industry after accepting a position with H.B. Fuller out of college as an area technical specialist for the south west territory of the U.S. In this role, I provided technical support to our commercial team for product demonstrations, complaint investigation, and process improvement projects at our customers’ manufacturing sites. This was an excellent way for me to gain exposure to the industry, see a large variety of different manufacturing processes, and better understand our customers’ needs.
How does your company support you as an emerging leader?
Working for H.B. Fuller has been and continues to be a rewarding experience. Throughout my career with them, I have had the opportunity to learn, develop new skills, and grow personally and professionally. H.B. Fuller has always been actively engaged in my career development and has provided me with the tools needed to excel and advance. I have been promoted several times in the field technical role. I also had the opportunity to gain management experience by leading the field technical team in our multisite account division. H.B. Fuller has also been very supportive of my continued education. I have been working toward an M.B.A. for the last three years, and H.B. Fuller has given me projects to tap into the knowledge I have gained. This allowed me to step into my current role, which is a combination of technical and marketing. I have frequent conversations with my manager about my career goals and what we can do to achieve them. Because of this, I have been given the opportunity to lead several large projects within H.B. Fuller outside of my normal job function. These include a project to redefine how we quantify and capture customer value, a project to design a new process to increase our customers’ product quality, and a project to standardize a global process.
What do you love most about your job?
I am constantly amazed by the sense of scale and the large variety of production processes in the packaging industry. I get the opportunity to travel to customer manufacturing sites on a weekly basis and see how food, beverages, books, envelopes, and paper are made. I like to think of it as going on a field trip every week where I get to learn firsthand from the people on the manufacturing floor using our products.
In your role, how do you ensure H.B. Fuller continues to innovate?
I meet with our customers on the plant floor and in the corporate offices to better understand their market, trends, challenges, and goals. I take this information back to our marketing and R&D teams to identify gaps in our product line and to initiate projects to develop new products and services to solve our customers’ current and future problems. Depending on the project, I am also either a project manager or a team participate for the development of new products. I also participate in regular communication with our European division to understand how trends in the European market may impact those in North America.
As an emerging leader, what were some obstacles you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
Certainly, one of the bigger obstacles I confronted was being put in a highly technical, customer-facing position right out of college. While I had relatively little experience in the industry, I routinely interfaced with experienced engineers at manufacturing sites. I didn’t shy away from my inexperience. Instead, I made sure to ask as many questions as possible to further my understanding. I also took advantage of formal and informal mentors through H.B. Fuller’s mentorship program. The advice and knowledge I received by working with extremely talented and experienced individuals allowed me to succeed early in my career.
What advice do you have for other emerging leaders?
My advice would be to approach every situation with genuine curiosity, ask as many questions as you can think of, and always seek help from formal and informal mentors. Everyone wants to succeed, and we can do so by helping each other and working together.
What are some industry trends currently on your mind?
There have been major shifts in sustainable packaging solutions over the past few years. More and more, consumers and corporations are thinking out their impact on our planet. This megatrend has resulted in numerous innovations to reduce single-use plastic, improve package recyclability, create reusable containers, and reduce manufacturing waste. The challenge that we all face is how we can improve our processes, packaging, and materials in a sustainable way while also improving profitability. I’m proud to be part of an organization like H.B. Fuller, which has taken this problem head on to help our customers operate more sustainably through the creative and strategic use of adhesives.
How do you feel the manufacturing industry could do a better job at accommodating millennials or supporting the growth of emerging leaders?
In general, I think it is important that managers have regular discussions with their employees about their career goals and help them look for projects and opportunities outside their current role to achieve those goals. However, this is a two-way street. It is important to spend time thinking about your career aspirations and communicating them to your organization.