Rajvi Mehta, ARC’s Technical Sales Manager, sits down with Rodd Joos, ARC’s newest team member and Chief Operating Officer (COO), to hear about why he’s excited to join ARC and how his background makes him a perfect fit for the team. Enjoy!
Q: Tell me a little about your background and what you’ve been most passionate about throughout your career.
A: I studied Engineering Mechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating I started my career as a product design engineer. My first passion was innovation and designing products. I enjoyed the challenge of solving problems for customers and the personal fulfillment of devising solutions for their needs. As time went by, I became equally interested in better understanding customer needs and the market in general. I discovered that there are many unmet needs in the world and that product development wasn’t just about solving problems that customers knew they had, it was also about understanding needs that were less obvious.
Rodd with Bucky the Badger, his alma mater’s mascot.
At the same time, I learned a ton about manufacturing and operations. I learned about Lean and Six Sigma, supply chains, sales and distribution channels, and management; all the functions that are adjacent to product development. All those adjacent functions fascinated me and led me to pursue an MBA at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business. As my career progressed, I took on roles of greater leadership responsibility which became another passion.
So, to summarize, I have broad and diverse interests and passions, but they are all connected to a core passion for innovation and product development.
Q: What made you want to join ARC?
A: I wanted the opportunity to apply all that I have learned and experienced to a general management role. I also wanted the opportunity to grow a small start-up or emerging business into a large and profitable enterprise that serves its customers, stakeholders, and employees. In my estimation to be really successful an organization needs a true competitive advantage: something that is unique and nearly impossible to duplicate. As I talked to people about my desires, I encountered some opportunities, but not until I met Andrew Jones and ARC did I find an opportunity with that spark of competitive advantage. The microreactors and catalysis behind ARC’s products are groundbreaking.
Q: What are you most excited about accomplishing here?
A: Andrew’s vision for ARC is to make the world a better place. I am super excited about leading the team to achieve that vision. We have the opportunity to have tremendous business success which will allow ARC to grow and to accelerate its launch of new products. I’m excited to execute our strategy and ensure commercial success so that Andrew and the rest of the team can be successful in changing the world. What an amazing opportunity to pursue my passions in a way that results in a positive impact on the world!
Q: What’s the best piece of leadership advice you’ve been given or would give to others?
A: I have been exposed to a number of different leadership styles and philosophies, and I have read many of the popular authors and books and I have been through lots of training sessions and even helped design a leadership training curriculum. I value the literature that is evidence based and I tend to dismiss the stuff that is anecdotal or based on one guru’s experience.
I am a really big fan of Peter Lencioni’s works, e.g. “5 Dysfunctions of a Team”, “Death by Meeting”, and “The Advantage”. I consider myself a Servant Leader who builds Trust among teams so that they can have healthy conflict to come to the best decisions and perform at their best. I believe in the now cliché concept of “right people, right seats”, and in building upon people’s strengths rather than remediating weaknesses.
I must give most of the credit for who I am as a leader to Protolabs and the many mentors I had during my time there. Protolabs taught me that an organization can be highly effective, accountable, and successful yet still be a positive, fun, and rewarding environment for everyone in the organization. I’m proud of the leadership work I did at Protolabs and I aspire to build from that experience and make ARC the best it can be for its customers and employees.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I have this ‘itch’ for creating objects and things, which is what led me to engineering, but at this point in my career a rarely get to be hands-on with making prototypes or products so I scratch that itch by remodeling my home and by designing and building furniture for it. I’ve designed and built most of the cabinetry in my house.
My other hobby is music. I’m a collector of vinyl albums which started in my teenage years with a hand-me-down collection of punk and new wave albums I inherited from my older brother when he moved to college. My wife shares my love of music and we are regulars at First Avenue, The Palace Theater, and other Twin Cities music venues. We also love traveling together and we often schedule vacations around concerts and music festivals.
Rodd and his wife, Emily, at the mural of Bon Iver album art in Eau Claire, WI.
Rodd at the Eaux Claires IV music festival.