Congratulations to R.J. Reed for being named one of Production Machining Magazine’s 2019 Emerging Leaders: Reed is a third generation machine tool salesman and for him, manufacturing is all about family: R.J. grew up watching his grandfather sell Burgmaster Turret Drills; his uncles ran a machine shop in Las Vegas where his cousin still carries on the family legacy; his mother and father met while both working for a machine shop, Kocsis Brothers Machine Co in Alsip, IL; and most recently, the next generation of his family, a cousin, just graduated and joined Mastercam dealer, as an application engineer. 

“The values I learned from my family shape who I am today. Every day of my life I observed my father sacrifice. Sacrifice is something only a parent can truly teach you,” said Reed.

Reed’s was hand selected by Matsuura USA’s President, Craig St. John to manage machine tool sales for Chicago and the Midwestern Regions. He was recruited because of his years of leadership in CNC Machine Tool Sales, Project Management, Sales Management, along with his desire to solve customers’ manufacturing challenges.

“R.J. is a persuasive and energetic team player who specializes in acquiring new business, while maintaining relationships with a compelling focus on problem solving and partnership. He takes the lead in sales discussions and maintains a total commitment to the customer,” St. John said.

Since Reed graduated from Eastern Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, he has merited many accreditations in professional Sales and Management and was named a Certified Machine Tool Sales Engineer, CMTSE.

R.J. explains that his passion and dedication to the machine tool technology, discovering solutions and helping customers achieve results drives every decision in his life. Reed respected his father’s perseverance. His father was still working as machine tool salesmen until he passed away suddenly in September after working his final IMTS.

“I want help customers by focusing on solutions and make their businesses better. They are all customers, but more importantly, they are all people, friends and neighbors. I think it is critical to our country’s future success to be on the cutting edge of what manufacturing has to offer,” Reed explained.

Over the years, Reed’s parents continually proved that even though work is a priority, you can’t neglect your family. He brags about his wife, Lisa Vitale Reed, his 18-month-old daughter, Charlotte and baby #2 due in August. 

“Lisa is a special education teacher for grades K-8 and she does amazing work with kids from very troubled backgrounds. She is incredibly passionate about helping these children and often works long hours at home while being an amazing mother. Luckily, due to the stability and solid pay our sector provides us, she can remain in the field of her passion and still give her own kids the life she feels they deserve,” Reed said.

Reed also volunteers his time giving back to the community through local organizations and along with his Matsuura colleagues with Vocational Programs, Educational Foundations, local Children’s Hospitals and the Convoy of Hope, responding to disasters throughout the world.

Reed sees the industry transforming in the future as more women enter the industry.

“I find inspiration in and I am thankful for the women who are currently blazing trials in the machine tool industry.  I will encourage my daughter to embrace STEM.  Looking back on my ‘manufacturing family tree,’ there are many brothers, husbands and fathers listed.  When my daughter writes her version of this one day, I want there to be more sisters, wives and mothers right next to all those men.  I just hope that I have worked hard enough and learned enough to be the kind of mentor to her that my father was to me and his father was to him.  My father always said to me, ‘I’ll crack the door for you, but you have to kick it in.’  I plan to be there to “crack the door” just a bit for my children,” Reed concluded.

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Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. delivers unmatched excellence in 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor, multi-tasking CNC machine tools and machines with a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business.