Material Handling Specialist, Brian Hester, brings expertise to the table.
Advanced Equipment Company Material Handling Specialist, Brian Hester, likes solving the big problems. As an electrical engineer with 13 years of experience working in the automated guided vehicle (AGV) industry prior to joining the AEC team, Brian already had a wide range of experience that could be applied to challenges particular to the material handling world.
Always on the go, whether for work or in his free time as a cyclist and triathlete, Brian was still able to take a few minutes to talk to us about his 20 years of material handling and storage solutions experience.
Tell me a little about your background. How did you get started in
I trained in electrical engineering, and once I got out of school at UNC Charlotte I joined a local AGV company. That led into me becoming a project engineer over a 13-year span; I was a project manager for about 9 of those 13 years doing project management work for automated guided vehicle systems.
So what brought you to Advanced Equipment Company?
It was quite honestly the travel. In my previous career, the travel was pretty extensive, and we had just had our first child. Moving to AEC allowed me to get away from the “road life,” so to speak.
I really have come to appreciate the family oriented environment at AEC; we’re really close-knit people. I value that everyone is welcome to discuss projects and share ideas.
If we have a question, we’ll sit and roundtable some discussions about how to best apply solutions, or learn what the other guys have seen in applications they’ve done. It’s a great place to work.
What would you say is unique about you in terms of what you bring to the company?
My background in engineering. I don’t have a sales background; I probably bring more of an engineering and project management perspective than I do a sales perspective to my customers.
Do you have a favorite type of job, or a favorite challenge you like to solve?
I think where I excel the most is in larger-scale projects, rather than what I call “simple conveyor systems.” Larger projects where you have to interface robotic palletizing with other equipment.
Automated solutions is where I bring a lot to the table, because I understand the control side of projects more than most.
I see as one of your project highlights you have merging 5 to 8 conveyor lines into a central palletizing location. I’m trying to draw a mental picture of that… what does something like that entail, and what is your process for a project like that?
To me, it’s understanding what the products are—what the customer has—and then understanding the production rate or whatever they want to achieve.
That particular case turner conveyor project entails trying to understand five products that need to merge into a single trunk line, and then being able to divert those individual lines down to robotic palletizers.
It’s all about understanding what the conveyor system is capable of, and knowing the right pieces to apply to that puzzle to put it all together. From a customer standpoint, there’s also productivity and being cost-effective. By bringing those together we were able to cut costs for the customer.
What’s one thing you wish your customers would know ahead of contacting you or AEC?
The biggest thing is to know that we don’t do one-size-fits-all solutions. We have quite a few tools in our tool bag that we can use, so we look for where they can best be applied to the products they have.
Understanding the big picture and scope of the project is really what I bring to the table more than anything.
Brian Hester specializes in packaging line integration, sortation and accumulation conveyor systems, distribution center conveyor systems, mobile aisle pallet rack systems, automatic storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), ergonomic lift and positioning equipment, heavy material lifts for floor-to-floor applications and mezzanines, modular offices and safety guarding (both custom and standard), and like he mentioned—he loves big projects!