Skip to Main Content

Essential Infrastructure: The Backbone of National Fabrication

With a plethora of completed and ongoing projects all over the US, CEI Materials has emerged in the industry as a national fabricator. In order to achieve its nation-wide status, CEI Materials has not only built its internal infrastructure from a production and technological perspective, but also in how it has formulated and built an effective sales force.


Currently, CEI Materials has two fully equipped production facilities in both Michigan and Utah. From these facilities, CEI Materials can easily produce fabricated material and ship it to the entire US. In order to understand the sales structure, we recently interviewed Chris Kimball (our National Sales Manager), as well as several independent rep companies from key markets within the US.


1916 Boren Ave, CEI Materials R4000, Collins Woerman, McKinstry

1916 Boren Ave in Seattle, WA


Chris, along with senior managers from CEI Materials, shared their perspectives regarding the overall vision and philosophy in constructing an effective sales force to maximize their goals.


How do you view the overall Architectural Market in North America and what do you see as the key markets and market segments?


“The overall Architectural Market in North America is thriving. We see a lot of growth in the Education, Healthcare, Multi-Family and Corporate Identity segments; also new emerging markets such as Data Centers, Storage and warehouse facilities.”


How does this affect the structure of your sales team?


“We need to build a network of independent reps that mirror our expansive plans and emerging market trends. I look to hire reps that are located in large metropolitan cities throughout the country to allow us to be a viable resource for the AEC community. "


Have the fabricators and independent rep firms in focus been local?


“CEI Materials has upended the status quo with its innovative national sales approach. Our sales strategy is one of offering a unique portfolio of proprietary attachment systems, automated panel design processes, flexibility and no product bias, as well as expertise and services on a national basis.”


415 Colorado Street, Ziegler Cooper Architects, Harvey-Cleary Builders, Baker Triangle, R4000

415 Colorado Street in Austin, TX


What are the key factors and qualifications you are looking for in a rep firm?


“I look for rep firms that have the same personal and business goals as us/me. The other qualification I look for is that the reps have to have complimentary lines like gyp board, AVB, or sub girt line. If our rep firm can provide one-stop shopping for our customer then that is ideal and is a recipe for success.”


In any meaningful partnership, both parties should demand a parity of success and this is no different with CEI Materials and its Independent Representative sales force. We spoke with two of our independent reps that embody our unique philosophy and sales mantra.


Barbara Smith (DC, MD, DE, PA, VA) shared what makes CEI Materials’ partnership with her own company so successful. 

“The teamwork from the owners to the sales team to the estimators and then finally the PM's when the project is solid. Everyone is accessible; with a quick response time which is huge when we are selling out in the field. The fabrication facility is amazing with the equipment and cleanliness. The variety of options to offer our customers is impressive also. CEI is always willing to do whatever it takes to handle the project with our client, which makes me look good. I am only as good as my supplier performs in the marketplace. I look for suppliers who can do this.”


The Elm, 7272 Wisconsin Ave, Shalom & Baranes Associates (SBA), Clark Construction, R4000The Elm in Bethesda, MD


At the other end of the country, Aaron Wood of Kovacs (TX, OK) shared:


“At Kovacs, we have a team of five reps that cover the whole of Texas and Oklahoma. We live by the mantra of ‘delivering a controllable outcome’. I think one of the main strengths of CEI materials for us is that everyone at CEI understands the process, there's no internal silos, everyone knows their mission, from Jeff and Chris to the guys in design, estimating, and production. CEI to me has a culture of internal know-how. We find that the younger architects that are now specifying a lot of projects are looking for trusted partners with expertise and a good track record. We certainly think CEI Materials fits those demands in our market.”


Chris concluded, “As our business continues to grow, then so will our sales force coverage. We are intending to add more rep firms in both the short and long term.”


Interested in receiving
AIA credit?

Sign up for Our Lunch and Learn