Rep Corner: Tina Richter

September 25, 2019

Featured in Repertoire Magazine

On the Run

Tina Richter is passionate about sales, passionate about serving our nation’s veterans.

Tina-Richter

Tina Richter

Here’s Tina Richter on life and living:

  • Stay focused and don’t be afraid to commit to the unknown.
  • Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself and make changes that in the long-term will be of benefit.
  • Do what you like and have fun along the way.
  • Never burn a bridge, because you never know where you may come across that person/company again.

For Richter, director of channel management for AliMed, this is more than a philosophy of life. She lives it.

Her dad, Jerry, worked in the Firestone tire factory in Decatur, Illinois, until he was laid off in his late 60s. It was a scary time for him, recalls Tina. But he recovered and began a second career applying epoxy floor coating, something he did until age 79. “He was a workaholic,” she says. And he remains super busy today, at age 85. (Her mom, Sharon, passed away in 2013.)

His daughter inherited her father’s work ethic and combined it with two passions of her own – sales and entrepreneurship.

Selling by age 12

By age 12, she had her own babysitting company. She mowed lawns. She sold ears of corn along the highway in front of her house. And if there was a candy drive for some cause or other, she usually won. “I’d be out selling after dark,” she recalls. “My dad would tell my mom, ‘Don’t stop her,’ and my mom would say ‘But she could get hurt.’”

By age 16, she was working at The Buckle, a jeans store. While pursuing a degree in fashion merchandising at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, she worked 30 to 40 hours a week at a Dillard’s department store. After graduation in 1996, she moved to Chicago and began working for The Limited Too, an apparel store for young girls and infants. Within six months she was managing a store in Bloomington, Illinois, where she doubled overall sales in eight months and reduced overall loss by 2 percent. After that, she managed a Limited Too in Evansville, Indiana, for 18 months, and bought her first house at age 24. She was transferred to Indianapolis to be a district manager in training.

Medical sales

Tina-Richter and Brian Oosdyke

Richter and her boyfriend Brian Oosdyke.

By then, she knew she wanted to go into outside sales. “In retail, customers come to you. But I’m high energy. I wanted to go out and find customers. I love the hunt and I enjoy winning the business.” Given her appreciation for human anatomy, medical technology and the opportunity to help take care of others, Richter found the prospect of medical sales appealing. In 2000, she became a sales rep for FLA Orthopedics, selling orthopedic soft goods and bracing products to the DME/HME market. She became a regional business manager after one year. In 2003, she moved to Arizona.

She worked for Angiotech for several years, selling such products as suture and biopsy needles, as well as Ottobock, a manufacturer of artificial limbs. In 2013, she joined AliMed as orthopedic sales manager. This entailed growing the orthopedic sales market through the company’s distributors, such as DJO, Cascade and SPS.

“We had nice results in the first full year with a focused plan, and we ultimately started seeing positive sales results,” she says. “Once this happened, the Big Box distributors – Medline, Performance Health and Direct Supply – were added to my responsibility.” In 2015, she was promoted to Western regional manager (while maintaining responsibility for distribution), and ultimately became director of channel management.

“I am continually analyzing our business and looking at areas where we are missing an opportunity and where we need to pay more attention,” she says of her current role. “I am constantly studying competition and finding ways to become more competitive. I have identified what products are winners for us in various markets.”

She works in the field with MTMC sales representatives “to teach them this strategy and how they can increase their overall performance,” she says. “I want them to know that they are constantly supported for success.”

Working with veterans

Today, calling on government accounts – particularly, VA hospitals and DOD hospitals – has become Richter’s passion. While working at Ottobock, she learned a great deal about amputees and artificial limbs. “Helping our veterans was so rewarding,” she says. “I would spend hours working with ladies and gentlemen coming back from Afghanistan at Balboa Navy Medical Center, and it was very humbling. Many were in their early 20s and had lost their limbs fighting for our country. It taught me a lot about being a patriot and seeing what these individuals sacrifice for our country.”

She has continued her work with veterans at AliMed. In 2018, she visited 51 VA hospitals with MTMC sales reps. “It was a humbling experience for all. But the great news is, we increased sales and learned how valued AliMed is in VA hospitals.” She still enjoys traveling to VA facilities with the MTMC reps today.

Richter considers herself lucky to have worked with great people in her career. “Jim Meeker, who I started working for in 2003 at Angiotech, has always been someone I could bounce ideas off and use in challenging times with sales and leadership. Jim is the one who brought me into AliMed, and we have worked closely together since. He has always been consistent, fair, and most of all, he believed in pushing me to the next level.

“John Keady has also been a wonderful mentor for me since joining AliMed,” she continues. “He has supported me with ideas, and I have learned a great deal from him since 2017. His background with Welch Allyn and his ability to bring fresh ideas to our organization are refreshing.”

She has learned a great deal about sales from those she has worked with in the retail and medical industries. Examples:

  • It takes a lot of time to build your reputation and trust. It can all be ruined in seconds if you are not honest.
  • Always do what you can within reason to make the customer satisfied and trust you. Be an advocate for them and exhaust all options, so it’s a win and they are happy with the outcome.
  • Be fair in leadership. EVERYONE deserves an opportunity to do what they are good at, and maybe their current role isn’t the best for their talents. Get to learn your people in both sales and management. Many times, we don’t know what we don’t know…. It’s great to always learn from others.
  • YOUR WORD IS ALL YOU HAVE!!!! Once you break it and trusts dissolves, it’s very hard to get it back.
  • Since she has been in management, she learned to always have her replacement ready – someone to take her place so she could advance to the next level.

Richter lives with her boyfriend, Brian Oosdyke; two English Bulldogs (Church and Daisy); and a 16-year-old Shih tzu (Sadie). She cooks, runs, and regularly takes classes in hot yoga (temperature over 100 degrees and humidity anywhere from 40 to 60 percent.) “When I started, I thought, ‘This is a death wish,’” she says of the hot yoga. “But it has changed my life. It is the only time of day I can disconnect and just be. No phone, computer, distractions.”

Filed Under: Featured-Bottom, Sept 2019

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