Published on February 25th, 2018 | by Chad T.0
Ronnie Fowlkes came to the industry the hard way. As a marine and later a team leader in the St. Louis SWAT team, Ronnie understands the importance of equipment and quality tactical product. Fowlkes also gained experience working as Military products Sales and Business Development Manager at ITW and has also served as a Manager of Business Development at Eagle Industries.
The team at FirstSpear has high expectations of Ronald Fowlkes because of his vast experience in the security sector and his addition is expected to assist FirstSpear in the growth of their innovative products in this highly competitive sector.
How did you first become interested in FirstSpear?
I came across my interest in the military young. As a ten-year-old, I knew that I wanted to be a Marine and when I graduated high school that is the first thing I did.
Throughout my career, both in the military as a Marine and in the St Louis Police Department I kept on encountering FirstSpear equipment. It was extremely well made and I could see that it was gear that was highly regarded by everyone that used it.
How do you schedule your normal days?
I have a team of four and I find it’s important to sit with them regularly and get an idea of their challenges and issues. Together we are able to come up with strategies for dealing with any fires.
I also focus on any larger production orders – we currently have a contract with the US Marshalls’ which have a 60-day requirement for delivery, so we cannot be late. Also, 35% of our business is International with NATO so I’m involved in a lot of long distance calls.
Our business development teams work closely with DOD, local and State law enforcement and we take requirements from our users based on real-world needs. Our kit is designed around the Tier 1 Operator – US Special Forces – and their requirements are paramount.
Once we know what the user needs, our internal R&D team create or modify a product to meet their requirements. I like to think that “we get it into the 8 or 9 ring most of the time and then work with the user to get it right into the bullseye”.
Which trend in the market do you pay a lot of attention to?
A new trend is where Molle webbing is replaced with laser cutting on a laminated nylon and that helps in reducing the load of the product.
In the military, we use the phrase “pounds = pain”. With this method, we’ve managed to reduce and lighten the load by close to 40% which is a huge benefit for the soldiers.
What strategy makes First Spear successful?
At FirstSpear we believe that the customer comes first. While customers are not always happy, as long as you truly endeavor to solve their problems then you are on the right track.