Meet the Team Spotlight: Richard Rodriguez

After racking up an impressive 25 years working in the mines, Outside Sales Rep Richard Rodriguez made the move to Cutting Edge Supply five years ago.


“At my last mining job, I was doing some business with CES and I was really happy with the products and services they offered,” shared Richard. “When an opportunity arose with Cutting Edge in sales, I was really excited to join the team.”


Richard’s territory includes all of Tucson, Arizona, and further south to Douglas, allowing him to still hit his old mining stomping grounds, as well as expand his reach into construction and aggregate sites.


“I hit all locations — even smaller local construction sites where maybe they are just getting started with one backhoe,” said Richard. “I think it’s interesting to stop and talk with them and hopefully be of aid as they grow. Overall, it’s just been very rewarding to provide my new customers and former coworkers with high-quality products that extend wear life or tonnage. I’ve been around with CES long enough now that I have seen some of my early recommendations pay off to where they are getting more life out of certain components that really gave them trouble in the past.”


Mechanically inclined even as a young teen, Richard credits his early career choices to his father, who taught him how to do basic car repairs. Straight out of high school, he then snagged a job as a mechanic for a trucking outfit that hauled cement.


“I learned how to work on semi-trucks, as well as how to do DOT inspections and then I also picked up my CDL license,” said Richard. “Not that I was a truck driver, but it allowed me to test drive the vehicles or transport into town for warranty service as needed.”


When Richard heard that the Asarco Silver Bell Mine was hiring, he jumped at an opportunity to expand his skill set. Although he didn’t have the mechanical background for the large mining equipment, Asarco sent him to school and provided training for welding and custom fabrication.


“It was pretty impressive to see how big and how massive those machines were, and getting to learn how to take them apart and put them back together really intrigued me,” he said. “It was also awesome to be able to see the whole process – from the copper being dug out of the pit to becoming the end product as copper plate.”


Over the years, Richard worked his way from mechanic to maintenance supervisor, before taking a break from the mines to work as a product lead for Caterpillar. Eventually, he returned back to the mines, working at Pinto Valley as a supervisor.  In his current sales position, Richard relies heavily on what he learned from those many years at the mines.


“Having been in the position where I had all these vendors coming in and out of the mines trying to sell me something, I think I understand the customer mindset well,” said Richard. “It really taught me how to read body language and I always remind myself to not be that pushy vendor when the guys are having trouble or just don’t have time for me at the moment. I’ll just leave my card and go if that’s the case. When they do have the time for a conversation, I also think it’s important to get to know my customers and learn about them on a personal level – whether that’s talking about sports or their kids.”


In his personal time off, Richard teaches boxing and enjoys team roping.


“I used to travel all over the country competing on the rodeo scene,” said Richard. “My two girls also competed in junior rodeo so we traveled for many years before they went off to college. I kind of got old and so I had to mostly give it up for myself. Not completely, but not like I used to because if you don’t get bucked off, you are not trying. I’ve definitely been thrown off multiple times.”


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