Understanding Ups and Downs of Business is a Must
Rob Zuchlewski, COO of Frontier Industrial Corporation, had the kind of problem all companies want to have. A premier dismantling and demolition contractor in the US based in Buffalo, NY, Frontier had more business than it could handle. Much of its revenue comes from salvaging and selling the scrap metal from decommissioned industrial facilities.
By early 2017, Frontier had built up a very large backlog of projects. Without the working capital to support the volume of work and equipment needed to stay on schedule, the company turned first to a bank it had worked with in the past, expecting business as usual. However, that bank saw the previous year’s low scrap metal prices as too much of a red flag.
So Rob turned to Jim Rahill, a commercial lending officer at Community Bank, N.A. They talked. Jim listened. And then, he found a solution.
“Community Bank quickly supplied them with equipment financing and lines of credit to help them start the big contracts. Without it, they could’ve easily defaulted,” Jim said. “Our line of credit provided the working capital so Frontier could double revenues in 2017 and 2018.”
Rob said that not only does he appreciate Jim’s effort, he relates to it as a general way of doing business. Frontier invests a great deal of time with its own clients when considering, planning and executing a job—it was refreshing to see a bank do the same for them. Jim visits job sites throughout the year, meeting with Rob and the owners, David and Dennis Franjoine.
“Jim has gotten to know us personally and how we operate across all facets and departments of our business—finance office, on-site, etc.,” Rob said. “It gives him a perspective that we’ve never encountered through any other banking relationship we’ve had. It’s the single biggest and best thing about working with Jim and CBNA.”
Rob admits that the industry can be tough to navigate and that the price of steel is not something they can control. Knowing he has a partner in Jim who is always willing to customize a solution lets him breathe a little easier.
“We’ve banked places where it’s all about the numbers—very sterile, very black and white, little consideration given for anything other than that. The bottom line was all that what mattered,” Rob said. “But Jim understands the executive team here and has seen our workforce in action. When I talk to him about trying to find solutions to our financial needs, I have great confidence and comfort knowing that if anyone can understand this and our best path forward, it’s going to be Jim. He’s shoulder to shoulder with me. He invests the time to really understand our business.”