2023 Salesperson of the Year: Joe Kostelnick

Being named 2023 Salesperson of the Year came as a complete surprise to Industrial Water Area Sales Manager Joe Kostelnick, even though he won the same honor two years prior. “It’s out of the blue. I’m happy and honored, but I didn’t see it coming,” he said. “They give it to the salesperson, but it’s really a regional award.”

Kostelnick acknowledges his territory grew significantly during 2023—growing from $4.5 million in sales in 2019 to roughly $26 million is 2023. He sells the product, but he said it takes “an Army of support personnel” to make it happen. “This is the backyard of headquarters,” he said. “There are a lot of people I rely on. You have to bill it, collect it, install it and design it.” He said his proposals are reviewed and he bounces ideas off of Regional Sales Manager Joe Kurzawa and IW Director of Sales Casey Theys.

“I like to be the guy who goes out and finds the business and talks to the customers. I feel like I can present myself to the point where they trust our company. But I have a good product I’m backing,” Kostelnick said. “Through all that hard work our reputation has grown. I’m able to make promises to new customers based on the great work we’ve done previously. It all kind of snowballs.”

Building a company reputation takes time, and Kostelnick credits everyone involved with the Industrial Water process for building the type of reputation that he can sell effectively. “This award is a region award,” he said. “I was able to build off of the reputation we established over the last few years to find new projects.”

If MPW is not able to design, install and maintain high quality equipment that fits the needs of customers, then it is difficult to go into the next site or the same site on a new project and have creditability. “This also requires hiring, billing, accounts receivable and all aspects of the business to be professional and responsive,” Kostelnick said.

Kostelnick credited a significant portion of 2023’s growth to the team that installed and operates the Lightstone Gavin project, as well as all other mobile, DI, BOOM  and power plant start up projects in the region. “Referrals and brand confidence is what helped this territory grow to what it is today,” he said.

“The reason Joe wins this award is because he has zero desire to win it,” Kurzawa said. “All of his motivation is to do the right thing for the customer. He maintains relationships that he started before he joined MPW. He does the right thing for the customer and that’s created an immense level of trust and expectation that he can deliver.”

Kurzawa said Kostelnick doesn’t seek personal accolades or positive affirmations. “He doesn’t shy away from complex problems. Other sales managers lean to him as a senior salesman for help,” Kurzawa said. “It’s a habit and an approach to how he does everything. He has amazing customer retention. He wants to do right by his family and his customers and the byproduct of that is he’s grown his territory exponentially.”

“It’s pretty awesome to be a two-time winner,” said IW General Manager Tim Dondero, adding that Kostelnick posts really remarkable revenue numbers. “I think what’s most impressive about Joe’s work is that he’s significantly grown a very mature territory. He’s continued to find opportunities that are in new areas and not necessarily in our normal business channels.”

Dondero said Kostelnick uses the tools and the resources that MPW provides him. Kostelnick understands utilizing Sales Force—he’s a “super-user”—which he relies on to do his day-to-day work. “He understands the relationships of all the folks on a corporate level. Everybody is aware of what’s going on in this territory and he handles that very well,” Dondero said. “Joe shares probably the most customers with Industrial Services; his territory has a lot of overlap with Industrial Services. He’s able to utilize that to his advantage.”

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