Ryan Kertis, Pricing Manager –Stelfast, Inc.

Ryan started his career in the fastener industry in 2009 when he accepted an Inside Sales position with Porteous Fastener Company’s New Jersey branch. A short time later he was promoted to Branch Manager of PFC- NJ, but it was a short-lived tenure and he soon parted ways with the organization for an exciting opportunity with Stelfast, Inc. At Stelfast, Ryan serves as the Pricing Manager where he is responsible for all pricing for customers and products.
He attended Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ where he received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Finance, graduating with honors in 2009.  Ryan also holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Leon Hess Business School where he graduated in 2012.

Aaron Shushan, Commercial & Aerospace Sales Specialist – Specialty Sales

In 2004, at the age of 17, Aaron started working in the warehouse at Simi Fastening Systems in Simi Valley, CA, where he learned packaging, shipping and receiving. Aaron graduated from Cuesta College earning two associate degrees in business management and marketing. To further his knowledge in the aerospace fastener industry, Aaron worked for Jacon Fasteners & Electronics in Chatsworth, CA, and completed the Product Training Program for the Fastener Training Institute.
Currently, Aaron works for Specialty Sales as a Commercial & Aerospace Sales Specialist. He serves military and industrial fastener distributors and manufacturers throughout California, Arizona, Nevada and the Northern border towns of Mexico.

Melissa Patel, Strategic Sourcing Specialist – Field Fastener

Since 2002 Melissa has been a team member at Field Fastener, located in Machesney Park, Illinois. Her current position is Strategic Sourcing Specialist, where she focuses on fastener procurement for both Field and HRS Logistics; which includes contract negotiations, commodity reviews, cost driver analysis and supply chain optimization. Melissa also has a significant role with Field’s international purchases throughout Asia. With the recent addition of HRS Logistics in Tyler, Texas, Melissa joined the company’s integration team to provide her expertise from a sourcing perspective. 
Melissa recently completed a Leadership Rockford Program thru her community’s Chamber of Commerce and also serves as a member of Ignite Rockford, a Young Professional group in the Rockford Region.  Additionally, she is an Assistant Team Leader for the Analysis Team for Transform Rockford, a community movement to accelerate the attention on Rockford becoming a top tier community by 2025. She lives in Belvidere, Ill., with her husband and children. Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Rockford University and is a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). Additionally, Melissa received training through the Dale Carnegie Leadership and Public Speaking program.

Sara Hill, Marketing Coordinator –Earnest Machine

Sara Hill is the Marketing Coordinator for Earnest Machine, a master distributor of industrial fasteners specializing in large diameter nuts and bolts in coarse and fine thread. She is a 2007 graduate of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, majoring in newspaper journalism with a minor in sociology. Prior to her position at Earnest Machine, Sara served in an administrative position at Westgate Machine Company, also in Cleveland, Ohio, and held reporting and editing positions at two Cleveland publications.
At Earnest Machine, Sara works to shift buyer behavior by targeting customers at all stages of their purchasing journey. She strategizes, creates, executes and manages all of Earnest’s marketing efforts, ranging from targeted email campaigns to promotional videos to product promotion, social media and Earnest’s presence in fastener associations and trade shows. Sara crafts all of Earnest’s outward messaging including marketing messages found within a department’s email signature to the language presented on earnestmachine.com, the ecommerce portal of Earnest Machine, which encompasses 17 percent of Earnest’s annual business and provides access to more than 19,000 fasteners. The site averages 15,000 page views every month. The most exciting aspect of her role at Earnest Machine is determining how the company communicates with customers, which platforms it uses to drive messaging and what specific actions were prompted because of marketing efforts. She lives in North Royalton, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, with her husband, Matt. The couple is expecting their first child, a girl, in January 2015.

Bryan Wheeler, Purchasing –Star Stainless Screw Co.

Bryan joined the fastener industry full-time one year ago upon completion of graduate school.  He is a Purchasing Agent at Star Stainless Screw Co, a master distributor and importer of stainless steel industrial fasteners. He is based out of their Wood Dale, IL location, and his responsibilities include inventory procurement for Star’s 14 branches across the United States and Canada, sourcing from both domestic manufacturers and foreign sources throughout Asia and Europe.  
Recently Bryan completed the Certified Fastener Specialist (CFS) program through Fastener Training Institute (FTI).  In addition to the CFS program, he has also completed the FTI’s Product Training Program.  He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and holds a Masters of Arts in Education from National Louis University in Chicago, IL.