Inside Daniels: Sales Experts, David Skinner & Eric Himes
With over 36 years of combined experience at Daniels Health, David Skinner and Eric Himes are two of our longest standing employees...and for good reason! Their dedication to the business, their team members, and especially their customers is nothing short of admirable. These two exemplify our readiness over 15+ years to deliver support to US healthcare in its greatest time of need.
In this interview we ask David and Eric:
01 / How have your roles at Daniels changed over time?
David: I started coming to the US in 2002 with our founder, Dan Daniels, to help start the business up. My original job with Daniels was negotiating joint venture relationships with local and medical waste companies and starting to sell to major customers like Stanford, UCLA…Over the years I think I’ve had just about every role in the company. I’ve installed containers (not that I did it very well but I installed them), I’ve worked on the Washsmart, I moved containers at our processing plants, negotiated all sorts of contracts, sold to customers, etc.
My role has evolved to where I am now leading our national Sales team. I feel very fortunate to support this group of individuals committed to connecting US healthcare with modern waste management solutions, safer ones. All of team Daniels takes great pride in service to our customers, we build lasting relationships and provide continual guidance on waste handling strategy. Even with 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and all everything else that's transpired of the last year, we've continued to grow our partnerships and act as a bouy of support to healthcare facilities in a year when they needed it most.
Even with 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and everything that’s been going on, we’ve continued to grow the business and boost our support to healthcare facilities.
Eric: I had the lovely opportunity of meeting David in 2004. He hired me on as a Client Care Manager in the business at the time; my first role was looking after one customer in Chicago. As time passed, I had the privledge of working more closely with David and learned how to spread awareness about Daniels Health - eventually I was able to support with some of the Midwest partnerships we were developing. That experience gave me the tools to grow into my next role in Operations, overseeing client care and seeking out improvements to our organization. From there I moved into a Sales role and started to sell. That evolved from Sales training, to Sales leadership, to Business Development, to regional management, and into the role I have today as a Director in the business. I’ve had a variety of roles - a great opportunity to wear different hats and grow. I don’t know of any other organization where I would had the opportunity to do so.
02 / Our unique approach to healthcare waste management can be tricky to explain - what is your Daniels Health elevator pitch? Make it good!
David: There’s so many ways you can describe that. I explain that we provide a service within healthcare that improves the risk profile and safety profile for healthcare workers. And the next question is, “So how do you do that?” and then I talk through the way that the Sharpsmart container has been engineered as a safety engineered device, how there was research carried out around the world, how it was actually designed by healthcare workers for healthcare workers, and how we have irrefutable evidence that if you put our system in, you know that you will make it safer for someone. That then generates all sorts of conversations as to how does it work, and you could say that's when the magic happens. I get to expalin our unique, Inside the Four Walls, approach to healthcare waste management. Daniels Health offers a uniquely clinical take on medical waste management with proven impact on safety, and that's what makes our solutions so exciting.
But it's been an evolution. When we first started, all we sold were sharps containers. So that’s what we spoke about. And then when we started opening up medical waste processing plants around the country that further broadened our possibilties. With stronger infrastructure and oeprational capacity, we were able to evolve beyond only sharps containers; we were poised to identify other areas of healthcare waste management where our innovation could make an impact. We grew from sharps containers to, regulated medical waste, pharma, etc. We became full-fledged providers for all healthcare waste, all healthcare facilities, irrespective of size, from doctors up to the largest acute care centers. It’s just been an evolution over time. And it continues to evolve.
Eric: It’s kind of tricky because the pitch is the same thing as David from the standpoint, you get an opening line and the conversation can go in so many different directions. One of the things I look at is Daniels Health as an innovative organization that brings a customized approach to each one of our customers. We partner to create the safest most efficient outcomes when it comes to managing healthcare waste streams, providing a triple bottom line impact.
03 / What is a significant customer moment that you like to look back on?
David: Without our customer base, we wouldn’t have the 64 series, because if you remember Eric that came out of you working with that customer in Michigan that kept saying “We need a bigger container.”
Eric: I do remember that, they needed it for laparoscopic instruments.
David: There you go. We didn’t have a 64 container until the marketplace told us “You need a big container.” From that, the 64 container was developed. It was researched, it was designed, it was manufactured, it was launched. Out of that grew the 64 sharps container, out of that grew the Medismart, and the Chemosmart. But that came from a customer. That’s a great example of listening to the customer. When we first came to the US, we had a plastic bracket, I think we had a floor stand, a CS1 and maybe a CS2. That was it. That’s four accessories. Today we’ve got over 40. And all of those accessories in many cases came from listening to the customer.
One example of a customer-driven product that we created is the soft-close Accessmart. While this solution may no thave been on our intial plans, when a customer approached us with the ask, we immediately saw the value. We invest in what our customer's want because we understand if it is solving a problem, a pain for one clinican - it likely will for many others. Our ability to listen to our customers, and create unique solutions, is a really strong message, and that’s why we are growing. We listen to them; we add capabilities which helps us grow the business.
Eric: There’s one that comes to mind in particular, but I wouldn’t say emotional, they’ve all been painful *laughs* in one way or another. But I think the one that really was totally outside of the box in my own capacity to try to come up with a solution was for a partner in Indianapolis. We were doing an install, I was a Client Care Manager at the time, and we had this challenge presented to us in their brand-new state of the art NICU. The noise level of the sharps dropping into the sharps container would set off alarms. Part of their outcome in performance in this NICU was staying below a certain decibel requirement. We were trying to install this new customer and win the agreement, and this has become a challenge to why we couldn't move forward - but we perservered. We ended up purchasing a decibel reader, getting other sharps containers, and measuring the noise of use and comparing it the levels of a Daniels Sharpsmart container - proving that ours was not any louder than the current system that they had in place. We’ve only had to do that once, but that was crazy.
04 / David, what is your favorite part about working with Eric? Eric, what’s your favorite part of working with David?
David: He’s always on. He’s the energizer bunny. Eric and I have been to Vegas together – I think that was your first trip to Vegas, Eric…
Eric: It was!
David: And I saw Eric’s happy feet dancing on the dance floor, we played roulette and won, we went out to different bars, we went to conferences, we stayed up late but still got up early and ready to go. That’s Eric, the energizer bunny, continues to go, doesn’t matter if we win or lose an account, he keeps that positive mindset. It's important to have people like that around you, especially on your team at work - people who help you stay motivated and maintain your vision. He’s just always constantly go-go-go-go. And that’s what’s driven the business, and the results are there for everyone to see, it’s irrefutable evidence. And that’s the fun part about it. Plus, Eric you must make a note when you go to sleep and download all these ideas. Every morning he’s like “Hey David, I have this idea!” And he comes up with more ideas, it’s unbelievable. So that’s the fun part.
Eric: My favorite part about working with David…there’s so many parts. In a couple different ways David has been not only a mentor in a major capacity, but also somewhat of a father figure for me too. I really appreciate David investing in me the way that I really didn’t get invested to by my own dad. David is willing to listen to my crazy ideas all the time, and I can bring things to him in trust and in confidence. We kick it around, and he doesn’t really push anything down, you know. He’s open to a variety of things and I can be open with David. David’s just given me the opportunity to serve this business well. I appreciate every opportunity that you have given me, David. Because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be sitting here today in the capacity that I am. You’ve allowed my creative mind to be creative, frankly.
David: And trust me, he’s very creative.
And there you have it - an insight into the passion that drives two of our longest serving team members!
David and Eric are two folks who truly believe our mission of Making Healthcare Safer. Their drive and belief are part of what helped us grow to have the operational capcaity of today. All Daniels Health team members share this foundational trust that we are making a positive difference in the lives of healthcare workers and in the sustainability of waste management.
You have just read a snapshot of massive growth over 15+ years, if you're ready to explore a career path with Daniels and begin your own adventure with us, explore our open roles: