Baton Rouge Business Report Executive Spotlight - Ken Grantham
September 3, 2013
Crompion International Executive Vice President Ken Grantham was interviewed by the Managing Editor of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report for their bi-weekly "Executive Spotlight" profile.
Call Ken Grantham the metallurgy man. The 49-year-old metals industry stalwart is the face of the global company formerly known as American Utility Metals. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Crompion manufactures specialty stainless steels for and supplies services to the petrochemical, sugarcane and transportation industries. Since joining the firm in 2008, Grantham is noted for expanding the company's scope of sales, boosting client development and adding advanced 3-D modeling and simulation capabilities. "I've been working with metal my entire career, whether it be carbon steel or aluminum or stainless steels," Grantham says. "These are next-generation metals. I've been intrigued to read and learn and study metal so I can become the spokesperson and the educator spreading the word and making customers and engineers aware of their existence and their benefits."
Why do you do what you do?
I'm very passionate about what we have to offer. I love what I do because I believe in what we have to offer, how we're offering it, and the way that we approach business.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
When I took this opportunity, the economy was running at a strong pace, but then the climate began deteriorating. It went south very deep and very fast. That was a challenging period for any business, especially ours. My background of problem solving and overcoming challenges kicked in during a period when our company needed to re-establish its foundation. We came away from that experience stronger than before it happened. My greatest accomplishment has been helping the owners of the company to rebuild it faster and more successful. Our growth and our profits have been unparalleled over the past three years.
What was your first job?
I am from a family of 11 children. We had eight boys and three girls. We had paper routes. They were handed down brother to brother, and by the time I was 9 years old I was working for one of my older brothers, delivering his papers while he was in sports after school. I was an entrepreneur from the time I was about 9 years old, and I had that paper route until I went to college.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Two things resonate with me to this day. One is advice from my father, who, when I was signing up for high school classes as a freshman, said, "Take as much math as you can take for the rest of your life, because you're going to use numbers forever." The other piece of advice that I still use came from one of my early mentors. He told me, "We have to learn to work smarter, not harder." I use those two pieces of advice every day of my life.
Who do you most admire in the local business community and why?
F.C. Schaffer, the father of the Crompion International President George Schaffer. He was a global figure in industry and engineering, and he had his own firm here in Baton Rouge. He kind of took me under his wing and was like a second father figure to me. I just like the way he served his country, lived his life, and worked as a professional, not only in Baton Rouge but in the global sense, and what he meant to emerging economies and the quality of life for others throughout the world.