Great Stories

Meet the Camily: Ken French

Cambro products wouldn’t be what they are today without the people who make them. In our Meet the Camily series, we introduce you to some of the people that make your favorite products possible. From manufacturing to distribution to corporate, every Cambro employee has a story to tell.

For our next story, we’re taking you to Brazil! Meet Ken French, our International Sales Manager for South America and Oceania. Ken lives in Niterói, Brazil and has worked in International Sales for Cambro since 1998.

How did you become interested in working internationally?

“I’ve pretty much done international sales for my entire life since I graduated from school. I grew up in Brazil, as a kid we lived 12 years in Brazil, lived two years in Bolivia. My dad was in the State Department, so I had a couple years in Africa as well. The travel part has always been a bit in my blood. Dealing with international, different cultures and languages, has always been part of my lifestyle.”

What do you love about living in Brazil?  

“The people. I think the Latin style of life is a lot warmer and closer than what you have in the US. The music is good and the food is good. I’ve spent most of my life outside of the US. I can be very much of an American, but very much of my lifestyle and persona is an international person. Portuguese is as easy as English is, Spanish is a very close second. I converse in pretty much all three languages every single day. Generally, much less English than Portuguese or Spanish that has a big impact in terms of making the relationships and understanding what is important for people and how to do business with them.”

You were Cambro’s first dedicated sales representative in South America. What was it like to bring the brand there?

“When I came onboard, it was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun work. I think our distribution network is much bigger now than it was back then. In the time I’ve been with Cambro, we’ve more than doubled, almost tripled, our sales from where we were in that point in time.”

“Cambro is a very well-known and respected brand.”

What challenges did you need to overcome?

“There were distributors that I wanted to work with that weren’t really willing to open the doors. We had one group in Chile that I knocked on their door for literally five years in a row. I think I finally wore them out and they came onboard and now they’re a great distributor for us. In South America, there are very much relationship-based. Each market is its own chess game. Each market has its own challenges, customs and opportunities.”

How would you describe Cambro products?

“We are the blood of the kitchen. You have your organs which would be your cold room, the oven, the dishwasher. What moves everything in that space is Cambro.”

What keeps you with Cambro?

“Cambro is a great company. The dynamics of it are cool. A. I love the products. I just think we are a solution-based product company and it gives me a really good feeling to go in and try and understand what the issues are and then being able to present a solution for that. That gives me a lot of pleasure and enjoyment.”

Describe the Cambro culture.

“We’re a Camily, but we’re all a little bit different from one another and I think we complement one another in terms of our strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoy the team that I work with and at the end of the day I end up working with a lot of the company; manufacturing, engineering, customer service and accounting. There’s a lot of really good people, from the owner on down.”

Read the “Meet the Camily” series of posts – click here!


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