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Up Close And Personal With Nathan Zalewski

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Area Manager NSW & ACT, Simpson Strong-Tie

Which Company Do You Represent?

Simpson Strong-Tie.

Which Region Do You Cover?

Southern half of NSW and ACT.

How Long Have You Been with the Company?

Seven years.

What Do You Like Most About Your Role?

We are always releasing innovative products to the market.

What Was Your Career Path to Your Current Position?

My old man was a plasterer and I helped him out for a few years as a teenager in school holidays. My other early sales roles included working at Virgin Mobile and Tandem Skydives in Wollongong.

I have worked in sales roles since leaving school, mostly with construction fastener companies. This led me to my current role as I did joint site calls with a Quik Drive (Simpson) rep at my previous company. They must have seen some value in me and offered me a position when the company expanded from just Quik Drive to Simpson Strong-Tie.

How Much Work-Related Travel Would You Do in A Typical Month?

Around 4000km. The nature of the role and large territory I manage sees me spend the majority of my workday in the ute (my office).

What’s Been the Highlight Of Your Time With This Company So Far?

Travelling to the USA to attend the company’s International Sales Conference. Mixing with several hundred Simpson Strong-Tie reps and touring the manufacturing, testing and R & D facilities we have was incredible!

What’s been the biggest change, good or bad, you’ve seen in your time in the industry, and why?

I would have to say the introduction of a stud screw to replace stud tie straps. We released our SDWS structural screw to the Australian market showing it to some frame and truss plants and it exploded from there. It’s flattering that the two largest connector companies in the country have now released their own screw to claw back some market share from us.

In What Ways Does Your Company Excel Servicing the Trades and Construction Industries?

There is so much that Simpson Strong-Tie offers the building industry in general.

For starters all our products are tested (not calculated) to failure so we can be certain of recommending the right product for the application. We offer free onsite product demonstrations and tool servicing. Simpson Stong-Tie is also an engineering company with free local engineer support to assist in correct product specification. Fast delivery times anywhere in Australia with guaranteed same day dispatch from our Sydney or Melbourne warehouses if ordered before 1pm. We offer product training to end users, specifiers, trade students and certifiers.

What’s the Standout Product Or Tool On Offer From Your Company?

It was our first and only product when we started in Australia 15 years ago and is still our standout product today! The Quik Drive PRO collated screw system. The most exciting news is we can now offer the system in an 18V cordless option as of this month.

What Makes That Product So Good?

It’s the number one auto-feed screw system for all subfloor and decking applications. With a large range of screws to suit you can be certain we have the right screw for the application, which can be driven while standing upright to a consistent countersink depth. Not only does it save time and your back, the screws comply to Australian standards for fixing sheet flooring to both timber and steel joists while eliminating floor squeaks that lead to costly call backs. Our range of stainless-steel decking screws doesn’t require pre-drilling. With the addition of the deck spacer you can ensure screws are centred over the joist and decking boards are consistently spaced with either a 3mm or 5mm gap. All of this will see you screw off decks in less than half the time of conventional screw fixing.

Which Service do you Offer that you Wish Clients Would Use More?

Consult with us before starting your project. We offer so many innovative building solutions that will not only save time, the building/structure will be much safer and stronger! We offer free onsite demos and samples so you can make sure our product is right for you before purchasing.

What’s the Most Satisfying Aspect Of Your Work?

Saving builders pain and money. One example last year was when we save a commercial builder over $30k in labour from the sub-contractor to install hardwood cladding and 500 sq. metres of hardwood decking. Our stainless fasteners and delivery tool saw them finish several weeks earlier than planned.

Does your company have major goals for the next five years? If so, what are they?

To be the number one timber connector company in Australia, just like we are in North America.

What’s the Funniest Thing You’ve Seen on A Work Site?

The look on the young apprentice’s face when you show him a product that will save him a day’s work nailing off triple grips.

What Is the Scariest Thing You’ve Seen on A Work Site?

Chippies continue to use coil guns to fix connectors without eye/face protection. I held a training session at a TAFE where one student lost his sight in one eye as a result of the nail richocheting off the steel and hitting him in the eye.

What’s Your Favourite Leisure Pastime?

Depending on the season, it’s either surfing or snowboarding.

How Do You Hope to Spend Your Retirement?

In my own craft beer brewery opposite a world-class surf break.

What’s Your Favourite Magazine?

BCM For Tradies of course…

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