Today’s Faces of Alkota features a California native, rock n’ roll drummer, and collector of fish and model railroading.
That’s right, it’s our very own Vice President of Sales, Jeff Burros.
Burros’ Background and Early Career
Burros grew up in Los Angeles, where he lived for 40 years before moving to South Dakota.
In school, Burros studied electrical mechanical engineering, after which he took a job as a lab technician for a manufacturing company, Greer Hydraulics.
Burros worked for Greer for 2 years before being hired as an outside sales representative for Zemarc Corporation in 1979. Zemarc was a distributorship started by former Greer employee, Zeke Zahid.
“I applied for that position, and since he knew me from Greer, he hired me right into outside sales which I knew nothing about,” said Burros. “There was a bit of a learning curve.”
Burros stayed with Zemarc for eight years, eventually working his way up a managerial role. It was then that he decided to take the plunge and start his own company. In 1985, he opened Aries Supply and Equipment, a distributorship for CAT pumps and other high pressure components.
As time went on, clients asked Burros to build some cold water washers, and he eventually began producing so many that the company rebranded as All American Cleaning Systems.
Making the Move: From Los Angeles to South Dakota
It was in 2000 that Alkota approached Burros with an offer to purchase his company and hire him on as Vice President of Sales, the same role he has today.
“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said.
While moving from California to South Dakota might sound a bit backwards to some of us, Burros said the timing couldn’t have been better.
At the time, his oldest son, Jeffrey, was about to start high school, and his younger son and daughter, Jon and Taylar, were in the third grade (the pair are Irish twins).
“Jeffrey would be moving schools anyway, and the other two were young enough that it didn’t matter too much,” he said.
However, Burros’ oldest son required a bit more convincing.
“We found out in South Dakota, you only need to be 15 to get your driver’s license,” said Burros. “After that, he was ready to go.”
So, along with his three children and his wife, Denise, Burros made the move from Los Angeles to Sioux Falls, SD.
He appreciates the Midwestern friendliness, as well as the ability to drive 80 mph on the highway.
“The only thing I miss about California is the weather around January, February and a bit of March,” Burros said.
Burros’ Role with Alkota
As the Vice President of Sales, Burros manages sales for all of Alkota’s brands, as well as overseeing ten outside sales representatives and five inside sales representatives.
He also assists with marketing and product development. Thanks to his background in engineering, Burros is often called upon to help with quoting and design work for Alkota’s numerous custom projects.
“It’s very unique to Alkota that we do the custom builds and designs,” he said. “So many manufacturers are very cookie cutter, but we’re happy to customize whatever you’d like.”
But the most rewarding part of his job comes from working with great people, he says.
“I’ve been in the same business for over 40 years, so I know most of my vendors personally, and they’re good friends of mine,” he said. “It’s the same with my customers, and I really enjoy that.”
Working as a salesman, Burros appreciates the values and kindness of people in the Midwest.
As he likes to say, “I’m just a low pressure salesman selling high pressure equipment.”
When he isn’t working, Burros enjoys spending time with his family, serving as both a Shriner and a Mason, and pursuing several hobbies, including a collection of African cichlids (freshwater fish), model railroading, and music.
“In a previous life, I was a rock n’ roller,” he said.
In fact, as the drummer for several bands, FOB LA and Open Road, Burros played numerous Hollywood clubs.
The next time you see Burros, be sure to ask about his music—he’s still got that drum set.
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