Dave Ferguson - Senior Technical Manager for Precision Cleaners
There is a stereotype that salespeople are brash, pushy and loud. If that’s true, then soft-spoken David Ferguson is unique. He’s the Senior Business & Technical Manager for Precision Cleaning Products at MicroCare. Although he primarily works in North America, he also supports clients in South America, Europe and Asia. His focus is critical cleaning projects in the aerospace, military, electronics and medical industries.
“I’m very proud of how the industry and MicroCare, in particular, have kicked up their game for worker safety and environmental protection.”
David’s been with MicroCare since 2013. A world-traveler, David has worked in Japan, China, Brazil and in Europe, and all over North America. In the 1990s, he even participated in some of the Montreal Protocol meetings in Europe and Canada.
“Working internationally is enormously hard but enormously satisfying,” he recalled.
“Through my relationship with the UN environmental program, I went to Moscow to work with Russian engineers on replacing CFCs in their aerospace products.”
Early on, Mr. Ferguson attended Long Beach State in Southern California and earned a degree in Marketing. Subsequently, he earned his MBA in International Business. David feels his success internationally was due to his low-key approach. “Because I’m a good listener, I can relate to different opinions and cultures. The diversity of my experiences helps me a lot.”
A Critical Cleaning Expert
David is a true critical cleaning expert: after selling chemicals for over 30 years he truly has seen it all. He appreciates customers who do their homework — to a point. “Often they want to know how we compare to acetone or water or ‘just give me a price.’ Just because you’ve done some internet searches doesn’t make you an expert.”
MicroCare offers more than 40 different cleaning chemicals, David notes. There’s a reason there are so many choices — the chemistry must fit the application perfectly. “We’re not trying to sell chemical, we’re trying to deliver a process that will work the best,” David says. “We don’t want to bring in something that only works half the time. We want to find an answer for the long-term.”
David reports working with any customer, Russian or not, the process is pretty much the same. He listens. He gets the customer to explain what they’re trying to do, what the problem is, and what’s worked in the past. David tries to identify specific concerns or pinch-points. Only when everything is on the table does he offer suggestions on processes or equipment.
Workers and Environmental Safety
“I’m very proud of how the industry and MicroCare in particular have kicked up their game for worker safety and environmental protection. It’s a big change from when I started out,” David recalled. “I remember I had this old chemical foreman who was using hydrofluoric acid in a metal working application. Now, HF is recognized as a serious poison. It’s not a product you use casually. So here I am, a young kid, and I’m trying to teach this guy about safety. He just chuckled and said he was fine, he’s been working with it for years. Then I described the symptoms of HF poisoning. Suddenly he got serious and said ‘Wow, I’ve been having those for years.’ He had rationalized his old-school acceptance of the health risks with these chemistries.”
Learning from this, David is equally proud of the MicroCare Product Stewardship philosophy. “I’ve tried to be even more pro-active with clients, and even more assertive on safety. You’ve got to respect the chemistries you work with,” he concluded.
A Team Player
David feels modern business works best as a team effort. “Most of my greatest successes have been collaborations with engineering and the customers; it’s always a collective win, a team win,” he said.
Most recently, the family of Tergo™ cleaning products is another big group “win” in which David was deeply involved. Many clients have decided they don’t want any solvents containing chlorine but they still need the great cleaning results which chlorine provides. To pull it all together, MicroCare assembled a team of a dozen cleaning and chemistry experts.
“It was remarkable to be working such experienced people, with hundreds of years of combined, hands-on field experience,” David recalled. “We were able to conceptualize a new formulation that works great and met all the regulatory restrictions.” The result is the new Tergo™ CFCF cleaning fluid.
On a Personal Note
Today, David lives in North Carolina, within a few miles of the Atlantic Ocean. “Annemarie has tolerated me for over 25 years,” he said with a laugh. “We have two kids, one of each, all grown up. Sometimes we baby-sit my daughter’s horse — a quarter horse paint, 15 hands — and these day’s she’s ridden just for fun. She’s just a thousand-pound pet.”