Awards & Engraving

January '18

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46 • A&E JANUARY 2018 A&E: When did you get your start in the awards and engraving industry? Veteto: I have been around the trophy business since 1962. I worked for a large sporting goods store in Sacramento, and it had a trophy shop attached to the sports store. Spaulding's Sports Store specialized in team supplies, so our main business came from schools, recreation depart- ments, and little leagues. Naturally, when we were working with these customers, we would recommend Spaulding's Trophy for all their awards. In 1977, my wife Emily and I opened our own trophy shop. Emily did all our engraving on a New Hermes Universal GTX. A&E: When did you start traveling for the job? Veteto: One day, an R.S. Owens salesman told me he was going to quit, and wanted to know if I knew anyone I could recommend to take his place. That night, Emily and I talked it over, and the next day I called him and told him I was interested in the job. After several interviews, I went to work as the Western Region Sales Manager for R.S. Owens. That was in 1989. My territory was the 12 western states, and I absolutely loved calling on the trophy shops and talking with my customers about the awards industry, about how important awards and recognition really is. I was on the road around three weeks out of every month, and the week I was home, I would call on the shops where I could make it back home the same day. A&E: What are some of your most memo- rable moments from your traveling days? Veteto: I've won a few of my own awards. In 1994, I was named the R.S. Owens Sales Ambassador of the Year. In 1997, I received the Best Guest Speaker Award from First Place Inc., in Sunnyvale, California, and there are a few others. I have quite a few favorite memories. Tom Lueken was the national sales man- ager for R.S. Owens and I was the western regional sales manager. Tom had come out to spend some time with me. We had gone to a shopping center one evening, and I couldn't find the exit out of the shopping center. I went around and around and Tom was laughing his head off. I'll also never forget September 11, 2001. I was on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, when an announcement came over the radio that the Denver airport was closed. New York City's Twin Towers had been crashed into by two suicide pas- senger jets and all airports were closed for security reasons. In the days following, as I drove from Colorado to Washington, I saw American flags being flown on fire trucks, on a sprinkler system in the middle of a field, way out in the middle of nowhere, and on boats of all sizes on the Columbia River. I remember being glad to get home and finding everything was ok there. ROAD WARRIORS Otis Veteto, retired from R.S. Owens, owned multi-line rep business In late 2017, A&E put out a call for submissions for the Road Warriors of the industry— the men and women who have and still do put in countless hours on the road visiting customers and building this industry into what it is today. The response we received was phenomenal. We feel these Road Warriors each deserve some recognition, so throughout 2018, we will feature these people in various issues. This month, learn a little bit about Otis Veteto, retired R.S. Owens salesman and past columnist for A&E.

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