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Andrew Hecker, CEO Of Concept Machine Tool

No two career paths are identical, and it’s up to you to carve that way to your future. Today’s guest went from traveling around the world taking on expat assignments to now becoming the CEO of a small business. Andrew Hecker is the CEO of Concept Machine Tool. Before that, he held management positions in various manufacturing companies and handled a range of M&A situations. Andrew emphasizes the intentionality behind how he came to this point in his career. How? Listen to his conversation with host J.R. Lowry to learn more about how you can take control of your career and create your path to success.

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Andrew Hecker, CEO Of Concept Machine Tool

On A Career That Included 11 Moves, Expat Assignments In 3 Countries, And A Lot Of M&A

My guest is Andrew Hecker who I met when we were seated next to each other in our first year of business school. Andrew is the CEO of Concept Machine Tool. He started his career in a rotational program at Arvin Industries, a manufacturer of automotive parts in Columbus, Indiana. Following business school, he spent several years in the newspaper business, working for Knight Ridder in Southern California. He then returned to Arvin, with assignments in Paris, Manchester, England and Knoxville, Tennessee. He went on to Valspar, where he worked in a variety of roles in Pittsburgh, Zurich and Minneapolis.

Prior to taking his current role, Andrew led commercial and corporate development for LORD Corporation in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, where he engineered LORD’s ultimate sale in 2019. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at Dunwoody College of Technology and also a board member for a startup called ABV and a volunteer in the Boy Scouts. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Philosophy from Wabash College and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Kerrie, live in the Minneapolis area and are the parents of three boys.

Andrew, welcome. It’s great to have you as a guest on the show.

Thanks, J.R.

I’m looking forward to our conversation. Let’s start with one of my favorite Andrew Hecker stories. Tell the readers about the time that you were held hostage by your employees.

It’s great to be here, J.R. Thanks for inviting me. That was a story [from when] I had gone overseas working in France. My job was as a Plant Manager first and then as a Director of Operations. We were going through the 35-hour work week negotiation. There were some discussions with the unions that were happening. This was a blow-up over nothing but ended up with a hostage story. We had a negotiation scheduled for 2:00 PM on a Friday and earlier that day the head of the union said, “We’re going to cancel that discussion.” They came back at 4:00 PM and said, “We need to meet today.” I said, “You canceled the meeting at 2:00 so we’ll meet on Monday.” He says, “You’re not leaving until we meet.”

It then became a standoff. I was in the HR manager or HR director’s office at the time. We ended up staying in there until about 11:00 PM and called the French Consulate. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed. I went home and was very late for a dinner party. We were having friends over. They still remember that time that I showed up close to midnight, late for the party.

Let’s go back to the beginning. You started your career in a rotational program at Arvin. As an Economics and Philosophy major coming out of school, how did you end up choosing a job in the automotive industry?

I always knew that I wanted to have a career in business. I looked at opportunities and two opportunities, in particular, were attractive to me. One was a consulting business that would have had me going into many different companies like you ended up doing after business school. The other one was this manufacturing business, Arvin Industries, that was looking to train general managers. They had a rotational program and would sponsor you for business school. I was probably the 10th, 12th or 15th person in that program.

Many of the people had gone to top-flight business schools and had been through a rotational program. The idea was you’d go through rotations, [go to] business school and then get placed as a general manager. That sounded very attractive to me and the company was based in Indiana, which is where I grew up. It made a lot of sense. I chose that one coming out of undergrad.

You had the rotational program plus the sponsorship for business school. There’s even more to it than what some rotational programs offerRelative to going into a job, where you’d hold it until you found the next job you wanted, what do you think the rotational program gave you in terms of a head start on your career?

Some people know what they want to do. They want to be a CPA, do marketing, be in creative or do some other function, but I didn’t. I had gone to an undergraduate program, which was a liberal arts program. If I had gone to do anything else, I would have gone to be an engineer. I got into several engineering programs but ended up going to a liberal arts college that was training me for a lot of different potential careers. Economics was the closest thing to business probably that I could have chosen in an undergraduate liberal arts program. I did philosophy because it was very interesting to me and exercised different parts of my brain.

When I went into this program at Arvin, it offered me an opportunity to go into different functions and try them out. I went into engineering, customer service and a rotation in the manufacturing plant implementing a Toyota Production System-type of program that Arvin was big in implementing at that time. I worked in the corporate development team, which was a foreshadowing of some of my later involvement in my career. I did financial analysis on competition and people that we might acquire.

Ask for those opportunities, show interest, or go above and beyond your current role. Click To Tweet

It was a great opportunity to try out a lot of different functions and get a flavor for them. It was by far more of an investment in me as an individual than the company got back in return, but in each one of those assignments, I was able to do something meaningful that was providing real value to the company. Those programs aren’t as common as they once were. But for companies that are looking at maybe a demographic issue, with the aging workforce or something like that. they’re saying, “We need people in XYZ function.”

It could even be done within a certain function in a company to populate young people and give them an opportunity to experience different parts of that function or company and then have them choose which one is the best fit. It’s a way of jump-starting a little bit of the talent pool and having people get experience. Once you have experience in different areas of the company, you understand how the other function works and it makes you more effective in whatever function you’re in at the time.

I’ve seen those programs work well. I have also seen them where the people who are in them bail out on them part way through, which is never good. Or the company, when you get to the end of the rotation program, doesn’t necessarily have a role for you, which is also not good. You had a defined time and then the expectation was that you would go off to business school. Not too different from going to work for a consulting firm where the expectation is that you go off to business school after a few years.

That certainly provided an ending to it. It was always a bit organic. It takes more resources at the company to design these types of programs and manage and run them. You do have to have somebody passionate about early career development. It wasn’t always somebody in HR. In one case, we started one of these programs at a later portion of my career at Valspar. It was for sales and marketing associates. We had somebody who was an engineer who was working with those folks to try to get them experienced across the different sides of that business.

After finishing school, you had a standing offer to go back, but you decided to go in a little bit different direction when you took the job at Knight Ridder. What prompted the change in direction?

There were so many changes in my life at the end of business school. My wife and I got engaged at that time. I decided to make a career change. A lot of the things, where the automotive industry was located and my wife had a background in fashion and merchandising, automotive parts manufacturing locations and fashion merchandising locations don’t always happen to be in the same spot.

I wanted to try something other than automotive. I took a role with the Knight Ridder publishing organization and the internet was coming. The company was trying to turn around its business and diversify its revenue streams, so we moved to California. My wife was working in Orange County. I was working in Long Beach. I paid back my business school debt to my first employer and ended up in this role for publishing and working to change the way that the business worked.

We all know how the movie ends with the newspaper business. After a couple of years, for me, in particular, I knew that the news organization had a pretty intensely local focus for a particular newspaper, and I missed the international exposure. I had worked overseas between years of business school. I had done a junior year abroad during my undergraduate time. I missed that broader and international exposure.

The second thing was a big one. I looked at the potential of turning around the net revenue model for the business. It was going to be very difficult. A good portion of their revenue was based on classified advertising. That was what was impacted most by internet-based competition. We’ve seen various successes added in terms of paid subscriptions increasing, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal being particular success stories in that, but most local papers have struggled there.

You went back to Arvin and went over to Paris, the first of three ex-pat assignments that you had. When you did the first one, you had no kids. When you did the last one, you had three kids. You lived in three pretty different places, Paris, Manchester England, and Zurich. How would you describe your time living abroad? What would you say to somebody who’s considering an ex-pat assignment?

It was a very rich and rewarding experience for us. I say, us, for the kids and my wife, Kerrie and me. We had a good experience overall with our ex-pat assignments. For many people that I’ve talked to in my career, they say, “How do you get that assignment?” How do I get an international assignment? For me, I fell into it. I had started networking. I knew that the publishing thing wasn’t something that I was going to stick with long-term.

I networked back with my former bosses at Arvin. I was looking for a reference and they said, “We’ve got a job.” They pursued me to come back and that was gratifying. I had declared that I was interested in an international assignment. They looked for something and had taken a joint venture role. There was an opportunity for me to move over into the management team for that business. That was the catalyst that got me into the international scene.

CSCL 19 | Expat Assignments

Expat Assignments: If that’s what you want to do, how do you set yourself up in that situation where you can be of value to a company? The company needs to get something out of moving you overseas.


I met ex-pats along the way. Some of them were with large companies, and this was very common. Some of them were with consultancies or within banking. It was fairly common for folks to move internationally in those instances. It comes down to saying, “If that’s what you want to do, how do you set yourself up in that situation where you can be of value to a company?” The company gets something out of moving you overseas. It’s a very expensive proposition for a company to do if you’re going to be on an ex-pat package.

In our case, we went over with no kids, so there was no schooling, but schooling, housing and the tax situation get to be expensive. For us, it became very much a very good cultural experience. It stretched me out professionally in new situations, jobs, functions, cultures and languages. I’m certainly glad that I raised my hand and asked for that. It’s been a big part of my career.

As an ex-pat myself, although we did it after our kids were grown, certainly you get a lot of experience and opportunity to meet people that you never otherwise would have met and enjoy the ability to travel, particularly when you’re on an assignment in Europe where everything is so close. It’s a trade-off. You’re far away from your family, and there’s a limited amount of time typically, a little bit similar to those rotational programs. Not all companies are great at getting their ex-pats back into a role that’s the right next role for them. You have to go in with your eyes open on some of the potential trade-offs you make, but for us, it’s been a phenomenal experience.

When you’re in an international assignment, no matter how big the company is, it’s even to a certain extent wherever the headquarters are. I knew folks in France that were working for a French company and were in the headquarters location and then the question is, “How do you get back to the US where you’re going to a satellite?

In my case, I was going to a satellite away from the headquarters. In my first assignment, we went for 3 years to France, which extended to 5 years because I took on different roles. We then reorganized the business along country management lines. We had been organized on functional lines. The business was reorganized under country management. I moved to the UK as the country manager, so that extended our time abroad. We had our second child in the UK. We ended up being overseas for 8 years in a row before we moved back to the US and had our 3rd child in the US.

Effectively, Arvin Industries merged with Meritor, an old Rockwell automotive company and put the light vehicle and heavy vehicle businesses together. I was working in an aftermarket parts business that was selling through distribution. The aftermarket parts business was about $1 billion in revenue out of a $7.5 billion total for the company. The $1 billion in revenue was to be put up for sale.

I moved back to the US with my division, which was part of a sale process. I ran a business that was undergoing a sale. That’s what I came back into from an overseas assignment. It got me to the US, but it then ended up with having a sale process that I was managing along with the team that I inherited.

You came back to sell off that division. At the end of it, you were out of a job, which is always a unique situation in its own way. I’ve had several other friends who’ve gone through that process. Despite the fact that they ended up without a job at the end of it, they still feel like it was a good experience because they learned a lot about M&A from the perspective of the company that’s being sold. They’ve used that later on in their careers. Was your experience the same? Was it something that you felt was a good experience despite the outcome?

It’s not something that you would say, “Let me go do that so I can bolster my experience,” but having done it, there were so many learnings from it. I was managing a team that was going through a great period of uncertainty. I came in knowing the business was for sale. This was happening to the team I was working with and managing. They didn’t have choices in it. They had families, schools and careers going on. We were going through a sale process. The process ended up lasting for a little while. There was some stress in managing the customers and the team through all of that, and then positioning the business for sale in the best way possible.

I did learn quite a bit. We were going through that sale process in 2006 and 2007. Lehman Brothers was our bank. This was pre-2008. It was an interesting process to go through that. We sold to an independent owner-operator who didn’t need me. I wasn’t sure whether there’d be a need for me in this business going forward until we got down to knowing who we were going to sell to.

I realized that there was probably not going to be something for me, which was fine. For my team, it was a question of how many of those folks would be needed. Fewer of them were needed than I had hoped or certainly some of them had hoped, but it turned out to be a pretty good learning process for me.

Before you ended up at Valspar, how did you think about the options and the decision ultimately to go there?

If you're commuting to work in a different city without an ending in sight, it's an extra level of challenge. If you're bringing in some sort of insight, then it becomes something that most people can manage. Click To Tweet

I looked at manufacturing. I had been in manufacturing and done quite a lot of lean manufacturing in different roles. I’d been a Plant Manager and Director of Operations. I got into general management and more on the commercial side as a General Manager. I was looking at what type of situation would be great. The automotive business had gone through a lot of change, especially in that timeframe. It was all about getting costs down. There was a lot of pressure on being the low-cost producer and not a whole lot of innovation going on, frankly. I liked the idea of different industries. I was looking at taking the general management part of my background and applying it in different areas.

Valspar came along as a company that was about a $3 billion company when I joined them, similar in size to Arvin when I had joined the global business. They had a global business unit in automotive refinish paint. I was making auto parts and selling them through distribution. They were making automotive paint selling through distribution.

It’s a slightly different channel and very different technologies, but a similar dynamic going on. They needed somebody to manage that global business. It was a good fit.  They also wanted bench strength for future general management roles, so I joined Valspar and immediately went into a global role. After eighteen months in that role, I was in different businesses, packaging coatings, industrial coatings and other areas within Valspar. It was a good move.

You did time in Pittsburgh and Zurich and then ended up at the headquarters in Minneapolis. You’ve worked for a few very far-flung companies. What do you think about the trade-offs between being at the headquarters and being out in a location where you’re the boss?

I was leading the Europe-Middle East-Africa-India business. I was in the region but I had 6 or 7 bosses. I had the leader of the industrial business, the leader of the decorative or architectural coatings business, the leader of the packaging business, and all of these different global business leaders, where I had a portion of that P&L when I was running the European business.

I was on my own. I was running a business that had seven plants across Europe but none of the businesses was majority based in Europe. They were all a minority for some US-based businesses. Coming back into the headquarters, it was very much like, “This is where the decisions get made and most of the technology and development happens.” We did have technology development in Europe but certain businesses weren’t as well-resourced as was the headquarters.

Getting into the headquarters, you do have a better idea of, “Here’s how the decisions get made. This is where most of the senior leadership is based.” Not all senior leadership, but most of the division leaders were based in Minneapolis, which was where Valspar was headquartered.

In [a remote] region, you’re a little bit more independent, but you have to work harder at staying in touch with what’s going on. [Outside of] headquarters, you’ve to keep tabs on what’s happening there because you don’t see people in the hallway. You’re not hearing, “So-and-so left, joined or got more responsibility, or this organization change happened.”

You had to work a little bit harder in a regional role to stay in touch with some of those changes that were happening at the headquarters. I enjoyed both areas greatly. The headquarters role is more about, “How do I make the most impact?” There’s maybe a little bit more opportunity to figure out what your next role might look like.

When I was over here in London for the first time, I went back to Boston maybe 25 times in that couple of years. It was pretty regular. Even with that level of regularity, being back at our headquarters location, I still felt disconnected from a lot of what was going on there. To your point, it’s harder to stay connected and plugged in when you’re off some place. You trade that off against the day-to-day autonomy that you have.

You did a lot of M&A work in your later roles at Valspar. M&A is one of these areas where people are dying to get experience. What advice would you have for somebody who wants to get that M&A experience?

I was in a role where I was responsible for strategy and the markets that we were in. I had been in Europe as the general manager. When you’re coming back from an ex-pat assignment, sometimes you’re looking at what role you get into. I came back into a functional role that included strategy. I had been in Europe looking at what potential M&A targets we would have. That was a part of my job. It was all about identifying a pipeline, having a process and working that process.

For people that are considering, “How do I start with that?”, I would first understand, what does the M&A process look like for your company and how do you get involved with it? Generally speaking for some companies, even at an individual contributor role, you can say, “Here are a couple of good ideas for competitors that are out there or other players that have capabilities that we don’t have that we might acquire.” It’s being aware of what might make a good acquisition or partnership.

CSCL 19 | Expat Assignments

Expat Assignments: There is certainly some intentionality to how you create those paths and which paths would be most beneficial to you.


For me, it was coming back and looking at, “How do we grow our business?” We were pretty large in the US in the industrial business. We were fairly small in Europe. I discovered an opportunity for an industrial acquisition. There was a business in Italy that I was aware of because I had been in Europe that was coming to market. I was leading strategy so this became something that we were going to go after. We ended up winning that and becoming the acquirer for that business.

I was going through the process of leading it from a division standpoint. Also, my boss at the time had quite a lot of M&A experience and was able to be very instructive on that. Our legal team at Valspar had quite a few experiences with acquisitions. It wasn’t me by any stretch of the imagination. I was learning from a lot of people but we put together a program for that. Not only the acquisition but an integration plan. After acquiring the business, we worked on the integration for a good year and a half, which was a pretty complicated integration into the business.

That was the start that led to my taking over M&A for Valspar as a whole. We did a couple more acquisitions and a divestiture of another business as part of that. All in all, there were 10 or 11 transactions as a part of that. Not nearly as many as you would get in investment banking, but very meaningful to the overall company, whether in a private company or a public company in this case. There are not as many transactions as you would see in an investment banking setting.

You were on the inside so it’s a very different experience. It’s a bit like consulting. It’s very different to be a consultant than it is to work for a company. It’s different to be an investment bank advising a company on a deal relative to the companies that are involved in the process of the acquisition. Not everybody’s going to get to work for an investment bank, but if you are looking for M&A experience, figure out how your company does M&A. That’s a good place to start – if they do M&A.

Some of them don’t. Some of them say, “That’s not your job so don’t worry about it.” My experience was, if you hold your hand up and ask for those opportunities, show interest or go above and beyond your current role, nobody is going to say, “You’re a financial analyst. Ignore your financial analyst responsibilities and spend all your time at M&A. That’s not going to work.” If you are performing well in your analyst capabilities and you can offer some extra help to the M&A team, that is something that would be appreciated and enriching for the individual.

You then went to LORD down in North Carolina. Your family stayed in Minneapolis. How was that process? You were going back and forth pretty much every week, as I remember, and living in an extended stay hotel for a while.

The story is that Valspar ended up selling itself to Sherwin-Williams. I left during that process. The process of looking for what was next became one for me of finding the right fit and the right size company. This was a period where I had maybe two weeks in between my time at Arvin-Meritor and Valspar. I had probably about 8 or 9 months in between my time at Valspar and LORD.

This was an opportunity to join a privately held company that had been a family business for about 60 years and then run under a trust for 30 years. I joined in a CEO succession role. Nothing is guaranteed, but I joined in a commercial development role. I joined at an interesting time for the company. It was a business that was super well-developed from a technology standpoint with great technical minds, a lot of patents, technology development, and innovation. They didn’t have as well of a developed sales process and commercial success process.

I joined in that role by running the commercial side of things like commercial development, working on digital marketing and helping the business with a transformation effort. The company was going through a transformation effort, which we branded LORD Summits, climbing new summits. We were targeting $1 billion in revenue. When I joined, it was about $850 million in revenue. We started the whole company on this transformation effort.

Around the same time the company decided, after almost 30 years under a trustee arrangement, to seek strategic alternatives. That led to us going down the path of selling ourselves. It was a very interesting process. I was fortunate to be leading that deal team. Our CEO knew my background in M&A and we formed a great partnership in helping to work with our board and market the company. We eventually sold to Parker Hannifin. It’s been a good outcome for both the folks at LORD and Parker. It was a good match between the companies.

My intention probably when I joined was maybe to relocate the family after my oldest exited high school but it ended up when we set ourselves on a path to be sold that I did not end up relocating as I thought there might be a potential for my leaving the company at the end of the process. I ended up commuting. It was a different type of experience. I thought I might commute for 9 months to 1 year and I ended up commuting for 3 years. It was a very different situation.

As a family, I’m sure you had to figure out how to make that work.

Hold your hand up, seek out and volunteer for different things. Those are the paths that can lead you in different directions. Get out of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet

I give full credit to my spouse, Kerrie. She had to take on a lot during that time. I was back and forth. The company was very supportive at that time. I was able to make it work, but certainly being away from the family four days a week, not unlike consulting or in some cases banking. It’s not unlike some of those roles, but it was certainly a different role than we had had in my career. I was spending a significant amount of time away from home, working like crazy when I was in North Carolina. I loved that area of the country. It’s a great place, but it was a new experience for us.

It’s hard. I’ve had to counsel people who are contemplating [a commuting situation]. I’ve had people who’ve asked whether they can commute in. I’m always very quick to say to them, “Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.” Getting on a plane every Sunday or early on a Monday can get old. You have to have an extra level of passion for what you’re doing to not get worn down by that.

If you’re doing it without an ending in sight, it’s an extra level of a challenge. If you’re bringing it with some ending in sight, then it becomes something that most people can manage. When I was doing my job search, I had other job opportunities that came up before the LORD opportunity. We’d moved 11 times and my eldest had moved 7 times as a kid. I wanted to get him through high school. We’ve since been in one place for 10 years but I wanted to get my eldest through high school without having another move. Some of the companies were accepting of a commute for some time to get him out and others were not.

One of the recruiters said to me, “Most people can do nine months. Some people can do twelve months. The number of people that can do more than twelve months of commuting is very few.” As a recruiter, they advise their clients against having people do a commute for more than twelve months because stuff happens. A spouse gets sick of the travel. The worker who’s traveling gets sick of the travel. There are issues with medical situations or job performance.

What I learned about that for myself was I developed a lot of muscles that I was able to exercise. I worked independently and worked hard when I was in North Carolina and made sure I connected as much as I could with folks that were there. I did a little bit more deep work on a Friday where I would be not having in-person meetings. This was before Zoom, Teams and other technologies became more commonplace. I would do more of my deep work on those days when I was not traveling. It worked for me. I found that I could do it. I could do it again. It does have a high cost. It’s not that I would never do it again, but I did it and I can do it. But you’re right, it’s not for everybody.

Talk about what you’re doing now. I want to make sure we get to that. You’re in a much smaller situation. You purposely shifted into something where you had the opportunity to help a company grow from a relatively small base.

I’ve switched. I had always wanted to do private equity-based businesses, looking at smaller businesses that are owned by private equity funds and leading the business as a CEO. I had looked at opportunities when I was joining LORD. Nothing was evident at that time. An opportunity came up this time to lead a business. I’m leading a distribution business based in Minneapolis so not as much travel.

We’re in about nine states in the upper Midwest. We distributed machine tools, metrology and additive manufacturing equipment. We have services that support all of those. It was an opportunity for me to get back into a general management role and work in a business where I could pull all of the levers that needed to be pulled that focus on growth. We’re looking at organic growth, but also growth through mergers and acquisitions. That’s an area where I feel like I can help the business out as well.

It was a good fit for me. I built out a team. We’re performing well. What’s next is we’ve got several acquisitions in the works, nothing that’s public or to announce here, but watch this space. As most private equity opportunities present themselves, there’ll be a sale. I’ll look to carry on with a new owner, keep rolling on, and see what the next challenge is down the road after that.

Looking back over the time that you’ve spent, first in Arvin and Knight Ridder, then back to Arvin and onto Valspar and LORD, and where you are at now, Concept, what overall takeaways would you offer to people who are reading in terms of how to think about their career opportunities and some of the things you’ve learned along the way that stick the most with you?

You’ve asked [of other podcast guests], “Was it intentional? Was it opportunistic?” It was a little bit of both for me. It’s like you’re searching for a house. As an ex-pat coming back to the US, I’ve bought 2 or 3 houses where you have to look at what houses are on the market during the week that you happen to be house hunting. You don’t have months and months to do it. You have to come back to the US. You have a week. You pick a house and move.

Finding a job, you could have the perfect job come up, and you’re not ready for it, or you’re looking for a role having taken a severance package and you’re looking for your next challenge. That perfect role doesn’t present itself right then. It might be weeks or months down the line.

CSCL 19 | Expat Assignments

Andrew Hecker: Change yourself and how you work and you’re perceived, so you can advance or achieve your own professional goals.


There’s certainly some intentionality about how you create those paths or which paths would be most useful to you. I went through some guidance with a firm here in Minneapolis, looking at how you create several different paths that you would be happy with and would be fulfilling for you. Work at networking during your job search to find the potential jobs that would be out there. Some folks along the way have had their door knocked on. It’s always good to listen to those types of opportunities and see what’s out there. Sometimes you may intentionally go out and seek something out, but it’s about finding what you think is right for you at the next point in your career.

What works for you and your family? Is your spouse working? Are you wanting to move? Do you want to change industries or functions? All of that stuff is easier the earlier you are in your career. The more you get developed in your career, the more those decisions become harder, because of family situations, or you’re looking to make a big change and somebody is not necessarily willing to make a big bet on you at that point in your career.

It’s a reflection. I’ve reflected a lot on each time I’ve gone through a transition. Looking back, I’ve had very rich and rewarding experiences, and this latest role is a ton of fun working in a very different environment, going from two public companies to a large private company, to a smaller private equity-owned business. That’s worked for me because I seek out variety. It might not work for everybody else but everybody’s got to find their path.

Any final thoughts to share?

No. I appreciate the opportunity. Like some of your other guests, here’s some advice for people. Hold your hand up, seek out and volunteer for different things. Those are the paths that can lead you in different directions. Get out of your comfort zone. There are a lot of cliches here, but keep looking for advancement. Keep listening to stories like this and [those of] others that you’ve had on the show and then network.

Before you need it, make sure you’re asking folks that might be more advanced in their careers that you admire. What can you do to advance your career, change yourself and the way that you work and are perceived, so that you can advance or achieve your professional goals.

All good advice. Although some of those things may be cliches, there’s also a lot of validity in them. Andrew, thanks again for making time. I appreciate you being a guest on the show. Have a good rest of your day.

Thanks, J.R. You too.

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About Andrew Hecker

CSCL 19 | Expat Assignments

Andrew Hecker is the CEO of Concept Machine Tool, which he has led for the past 18+ months.

Andrew started his career in a rotational program at Arvin Industries, a manufacturer of automotive parts, in Columbus Indiana. Following business school, he spent several years in the newspaper business, working for Knight Ridder in southern California. He then returned to Arvin, with assignments in Paris, Manchester England, and Knoxville Tennessee. Andrew then went on to Valspar, where he worked in a variety of roles in Pittsburgh, Zurich, and Minneapolis. Prior to taking his current role, Andrew led Commercial and Corporate Development for Lord Corporation, where he engineered Lord’s ultimate sale in 2019

Andrew is a member of the Board of Trustees at Dunwoody College of Technology. He is also a board member for a start-up called ABV and a volunteer in the Boy Scouts.

Andrew earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy from Wabash College and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Kerrie, live in the Minneapolis area and are the parents of 3 boys.

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