Shawn Benham

SALES REPRESENTATIVE — SWIFT SAW & TOOL SUPPLY

“There are a lot of issues presented and problems solved at IMTS. There's no other place in the world with so many great minds in one place. It really is the greatest show on Earth.”

After running 25 marathons, it’s clear that Shawn Benham of Swift Saw & Tool Supply (Hazel Crest, Ill.) knows how to train for endurance and long distances. He uses those same skills to approach IMTS. Just like when running a marathon, Benham wears comfortable shoes and makes plans to achieve his goals at IMTS so he can be the best in the industry.

As a sales representative for machine tooling, cutting tools, carbide inserts, safety equipment and saw blades for the past 40 years, Benham has worked with hundreds of machine and fabrication shops. In such a competitive market where many shops make purchase decisions strictly on price, Benham sets himself apart by being a reliable informational resource for his customers. Since the 1980s, IMTS has been the prime place where he collects cutting-edge industry information to help his customers succeed.

Shawn Benham

“Our industry is constantly changing, so I need to stay up to date on what’s new,” Benham said. “My job is to find out about the latest tools and technology and then apply that to what customers are doing in their shops. Some of them can't make it to IMTS, so I come on their behalf. They trust me to make the best recommendations based on what I learn.”

Benham’s goals at IMTS are two-fold. In addition to gathering information for his customers, he uses the show as an opportunity to build stronger relationships with customers and suppliers by having face-to-face time with those already attending the show.

“The personal connections are valuable to sustaining long-term relationships in this industry,” Benham said. “IMTS lets me spend time with several vendors during one trip, which is a great investment of my time.”

Even without an immediate need to solve a problem for a customer, Benham puts the knowledge he’s collected in the back of his mind to resolve an issue in the future. For example, one customer was experiencing flash on the back side of a part they were making for drilling rigs using a heat-generated fusion process. Benham helped them solve that problem with a back-face counter bore he’d seen at IMTS, saving them time and money.

Run for a Cause

To enjoy Chicago’s lakefront and support an important industry, Benham will set aside some extra time on Wednesday morning to participate in the Miles for Manufacturing 5K Run/Walk at IMTS 2018. The event has a beautiful course along Lake Michigan and raises funds to assist school and college programs that promote careers in manufacturing.

However, Benham’s focus will remain on spending two full days on the show floor to learn from the industry’s most talented experts.

“There are a lot of issues presented and problems solved at IMTS,” he said. “There's no other place in the world with so many great minds in one place. It really is the greatest show on Earth.”

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