Meet Our Leaders

Every month we highlight news and information from Heidelberg leaders so we can learn more about their teams and projects they are currently working on to help make the Heidelberg “wheel” roll smoothly!

Duane Wright

Operations Manager Columbus

duane wrightWhat is your background and career path at Heidelberg?

Prior to coming on board with Heidelberg I had 33 years of distribution and sales management experience with Kroger Co., Sika Corporation and I Supply Co. My emphasis was on lean process improvements and team building. My career with HDC started in June 1, 2012, which was the same day the full acquisition of Hill Distributing took place. Our team rallied together and restructured the Columbus division from conveyor picking and loading one truck at a time to a fully functional pick to pallet operation with the ability to pick multiple orders and the ability to load 19 trucks. We completely moved every rack, floor location and added on 65,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space with a 6,800 square foot cooler to support the operation. By Thanksgiving of 2012 we had the addition in full operation and were fully functioning. From that point on, Columbus has grown into the second largest division in sales dollars and case volume.

What are your job responsibilities and priorities?
To lead the Columbus operations team to achieve our goal of delivering the company vision of thriving, adapting and leading the way to be our customers #1 choice. Providing the tools managers and supervisors need to help achieve all of our goals. We strive to work hard and smart every day to meet the demands of our growing operation. Our internal ops team mission is to never fail in getting orders to our customers.

Any recent accomplishments or notable projects from you/your team?
We have a great team in Columbus and have worked hard at upholding our core values. Our team has been fortunate to have had two Associates advance into more leadership positions with the company. Former Driver Supervisor Jerry Borzie was selected as operations manager for Heidelberg Kentucky and Inventory Manager Reed Poulson, has taken on the responsibility of statewide inventory audits. They are both very driven to succeed and have utilized their initiative and our core values to better our operation and earn recognition. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our driver management team with support from recon and admin, have rolled out and trained Associates on our new driver iPad delivery system. Shaun McCleery, Derrick Robson and Harold Smith individually trained all of our drivers to comply the COVID-19 regulations as the lockdown went into place on March 17. We have mid-shift night shift crews taking on the challenges of picking at a 22% increase in case volume from 2019 and day crew receiving and stocking all the incoming products and transfer loads. None of our crews have missed a beat! The attitude has been not buckling but rather saying we can handle it!

Who do you interact with on a regular basis – suppliers, retailers, management, HDC “wheel” teams?
In my humble opinion operations is the axle of our HDC wheel. We touch every department daily. In Columbus I try and visit every department to make sure we are communicating and resolving issues. Continuous improvement is the way Columbus will succeed as we increase sales and customer deliveries in the future.

What alcohol beverage trends are you seeing?
In 2016 White Claw came to town and has been growing ever since. We also have a great supplier partnership with Constellation Brands, who have a tremendous winning portfolio. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing the “Wine with DeWine” and neighborhood driveway parties. Chain volume has soared with the loss of the on premise business.

How has the business and/or company changed since you joined Heidelberg?
The company continues to improve our technology. Driver iPads have helped improve deliveries and recon. We are currently testing “Easy Ops” and “Easy Pick” in Columbus. We look forward to using new technology to improve our operation and service to our customers.

How do you like to spend time when you’re away from work (family/hobbies)?
Spending time with my wife Peggy and our family grilling out, drinking good wine, working on our home and trying to keep fit by hiking and biking and of course the occasional bourbon board meeting!