Sitting Down With Arctic’s Western RSM, Bruce Podgur

In a recent conversation, Bruce Podgur, the Western Regional Sales Manager at Arctic Industries, discussed his extensive experience and unique challenges within the walk-in industry. From seismic regulations to technological advancements, Bruce sheds light on Arctic’s approach to customer satisfaction and industry leadership.

Tell us about yourself and how you ended up working in the cold storage industry.

I have been working in the food service business since I was 13 years old. I moved to California in 1991 and started my sales career with a broadliner called SE Rykoff & Company. I was offered an opportunity to join Arctic in 2019 and started in January 2020.

How do you define your role as Western Regional Sales Manager?
It’s a position that encompasses a number of responsibilities. From supporting our rep groups, working directly with dealers to specify Arctic Walk-Ins on client projects, to post-sales support, and strategic planning. What’s great about this role is that every day is different. What I enjoy most is visiting customers in the field, together with our rep group. Whether it is with a new customer or existing clientele, it is better to get face time instead of a Zoom call.

How do you prioritize your days in such a busy territory, and what are the keys to success on the West Coast?
Every day begins with 2 Keurig cappuccinos and addressing emails that came through overnight which may require immediate attention. Some of my time is spent on quote requests from dealers and rep groups, as well as project management for existing jobs. I also like to follow up with dealers on jobs that we have quoted, as well as find out from them when open orders will be ready to be released to production. I think the key to success in the West is responsiveness and making customers’ lives as easy as possible when they do business with Arctic. All of us at Arctic pride ourselves on responding to customers in a timely manner. Project Leaders are usually able to turn quotes around in 24 hours and engineering can produce shop drawings within a day or two.

Could you explain seismic regulations and how Arctic meets these requirements?
The USGS has a map with designated “seismic zones” throughout the country. These are areas where there is always a chance that we will feel the earth move under our feet! Therefore, we have to make sure that the walk-in is engineered, manufactured, and installed to prevent it from tipping over or collapsing during a seismic event. When the client requests a quote, and the location is in a Seismic zone, Arctic automatically provides pricing for Anchoring Provisions, as well as stamped drawings by a professional engineer. The anchoring provisions can include galvanized steel backing that is foamed in place during the manufacturing process of the walk-in.

When a job is considered Seismic, we provide the structural engineering firm with the approval drawings and a Seismic Information Form that includes certain information such as the location of the walk-in, items that are attached to the walk-in (such as an evaporator coil or The structural engineering firm analyzes this information and runs structural calculations. They will also stamp the drawings and this information is ultimately sent to the dealer so they have it available when the inspector visits the job site for the installation of the walk-in.

Any standout or memorable job site visits?
We recently visited a Din Tai Fung in Glendale, California where we installed custom walk-ins. We also participate in events like golf tournaments to connect with customers.

Arctic Installation at Din Tai Fung

How does Arctic stand out regarding lead times, innovation, and design?
We focus on delivering quality products with competitive pricing. Our two-day shipping for select models and free freight for Blue Line products have been well-received.

What changes have you noticed in the walk-in industry over the years?
Since I started with Arctic four years ago, the biggest change I have noticed is the increase in requests to provide supporting documentation that our walk-ins are in compliance with various codes. I am asked frequently for compliance with the International Building Code and International Energy Conservation Code are just a couple of examples. Arctic is able to provide a letter of compliance to help the client with submittals.

What technological advancements do you see benefiting customers in the future?
I think we will see more advancements in the area of temperature monitoring and the ability to control walk-in temperatures remotely with a cell phone and an internet connection. I am starting to see more interest in the ability to provide blast chilling/freezing equipment for walk-ins.

How does Arctic attract and retain the best manufacturing reps?
I believe Arctic’s current rep groups in the West are the best we have in their respective markets. Their product knowledge and enthusiasm in selling Arctic is second to none. To contribute to their success, it is important for Arctic to continue to be flexible and easy to do business with. As our reps grow their sales efforts, our Marketing Department is always available to create a customized marketing piece and provide SWAG for customers, events, and shows.

Where do you see the Arctic West region in two years?
Over the next two years, Arctic will continue to grow by expanding our client base, working with more consultants, and providing high-quality walk-ins at competitive prices.

Thank you, Bruce!