Howard Schultz, Founder and CEO of Starbucks, famously said: “We are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee.” At ECHOtape, we feel exactly the same way… we’re a people business that happens to sell tape. And no one understands that more than Steve Underhill. This light-hearted 44 year old has quite literally grown up with the company, starting as an swaggering, but green behind the ears 21 year old, evolving into a steady, knowledgeable team leader, a brand ambassador and dedicated husband and father to four: two children, Corey and Taylor and two four-legged fur-kids, Lizzie and Ozzy. For more than two decades, Steve worked to create deep connections with hundreds of people across North America, and that’s what is responsible for turning ECHOtape into the experience we know today.
Steve Underhill, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
23 years with ECHOtape
What do you like most about your job? The people. There is such a family atmosphere here, and there is never a boring day. I am always learning new things and meeting new people in different industries, not only locally, but worldwide.
What lessons has your work life taught you? Many things like patience, understanding, how to organize and multi-task; the ability to problem solve and turn negatives into positives.
What’s one of your favorite stories/experiences from your work life? It was one of my very first road trips… I had just taken my biggest order to date with a large conglomerate food company, but when I returned to the office the next day, the vice president asked to see me in his office right away. My heart sank. ‘Oh no, what did I do?’ Mike says, “I just received an earful from the president of one of our competitors over the price you quoted. What was that price exactly?” Thankfully, Mike had a smile on his face, so I knew I wasn’t in terrible trouble, but about halfway through our discussion, Stanley Edelstein — the company president! — walked in. We shared the story with him and after a short pause he says, “So how much lower do we have to go to keep the business?”. Right then I knew I was part of a remarkable team. Stanley always knew how to turn a situation around with just a few words. Not a single day goes by that we don’t rely on his wisdom to make us better at what we do.
What is one thing you’ve always wanted to know about ECHOtape, but have never asked? With 23 years under my belt there isn’t much I don’t know about ECHOtape, however it is still a mystery to me as to how Carol and everyone at the reception desk doesn’t buckle under the pressure! Hundreds of calls coming in all day, every day, even dozens at a time and no one has thrown a phone out the window yet. I don’t know how they do it! What’s the secret?!
What was the most interesting request or project that you ever worked on for a customer? I recently received a call from a gun shop/target range in the US looking for die-cut Kraft tape to cover the bullet holes in corrugated target boards. This way they can reuse the target several time before having to throw it away. It’s not the application itself that was unique; it’s the fact that he goes through several million die cut tabs per year, and that they also use several million colored tabs to identify targets during awareness drills. It’s like those high-action training scenes you see in the movies where trainees have to identify the pop up boards as either good citizens or the bad guys… that was a cool project!