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Automation and Safety in the Material Handling Industry With Sal Fateen

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Sal Fateen is the CEO of Seizmic, Inc., an engineering and consulting firm within the material handling industry that has engineers licensed in 50 states for certifying equipment to meet building department requirements. Seizmic assists in the design of equipment for most manufacturers, distributors, and users of material handling equipment across the country.

Sal has served the material handling industry for over 50 years and has a master's degree in structural engineering. He has served the industry through nonprofits, including the Material Handling Institute (MHI), the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA), and the Material Handling Education Foundation (MHEFI). Sal is a thought leader in structural engineering, an inspiring family man, and a world-class amateur golf tournament champion.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Sal Fateen's career background and how he entered the material handling industry

  • Sal's experience working with Canfield Brothers and why he started his own company

  • How the material handling industry has evolved

  • What companies with existing racking systems can do to ensure safety

  • Sal's advice on repairing and replacing damaged racking components

  • Sal talks about his family, his secrets to success, and his favorite podcasts

In this episode…

Many companies in the material handling industry have embraced automation. Robots have become very popular and widely used in warehouses, making work easier and faster.

However, the increasing use of automation and highly sophisticated equipment means that companies must pay close attention to the safety of their employees within the facilities. Old and damaged equipment can be a hazard and cause accidents. So what can companies do to ensure safety within their facilities?

In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson interviews Sal Fateen, the CEO of Seizmic, Inc., about automation and safety in the material handling industry. They also discuss strategies for maintaining racking equipment, how the material handling industry has evolved, and Sal's secrets for success.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide.

So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs Rack, Shelving, Carts, Conveyors, or Mezzanines, we help engineering, installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations.

Sometimes people don’t even realize that we can actually help with permit acquisition services.

We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation.

To learn more, visit or give us a call at (707) 732-3892. One of the best ways to learn more about our products and services is to follow us on Instagram. And there’s a link on our website to do that.

I will even give you my personal email address for podcast listeners, so email me at if you’re ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs, and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:16

So Mark Hiddleson here, host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing, logistics, and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce today's guest, Sal Fateen, this episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions. Listen, I've been in logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse and need racks, shelving carts, conveyors, or mezzanines, we can help with design, engineering, installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. It's funny Sal sometimes people don't even realize we can actually help with permanent acquisition services. We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation. To learn more visit Or give us a call at 707-732-3892. I'll even give my personal email to podcast listeners. It's if you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level. Now Sal 15 has been serving the material handling industry for over 50 years. He has a master's degree in structural engineering. He's registered and practicing in all 50 states. Sal generously served the industry through nonprofits including MHI, the Material Handling Institute, MHEDA, The Material Handling Equipment Distributots Association, and Material Handling Education Foundation. Not only is Sal a thought leader in structural engineering, he's an inspiring family man, great friend, and world class amateur golf tournament champion and superhero extraordinaire. Sal, welcome to The Tao of Pizza.

Sal Fateen 3:07

Thank you.

Mark Hiddleson 2:08

You're the reigning champion.

Sal Fateen 2:11

Well, I am I mean, I have won a few tournaments here and there. There's I'm slowing down the tournaments. Yeah, because of the game being deteriorating, but it's still a lot of fun playing and drought.

Mark Hiddleson 2:27

Well, I'm glad you you make time for us. I know you're busy, because you're still involved in the company. Is Charlie still trying to get plenty of golf in. So I really appreciate that you doing this? This is huge for our audience. I want to kind of give people an idea of how you got into this industry. I know you went to the University of Maryland

Sal Fateen 2:49

right University of Maryland. I did. I got my master's degree at University of Maryland. And I was looking for a job I didn't know where to look. So I'm looking at the papers and things like that. My thesis advisor at the university was hired by a company to review the racking. And they said they were looking for a structural engineer that company's name was Artcore Corporation. They used to make around two Breck and in Petri, Pennsylvania. And I interviewed with them and they offered me a job and I accepted and moved to add food Pennsylvania for for about a year and a half. And then I got another Headhunter contacted me and said that he knows the company that's looking for someone to run the r&d. And the company that I want to see what happened to be in our two industries of software development. And I went to talk to them and they said after we talked and they said do you have a license? I said I have a license in Pennsylvania. But that's only license I have and they they were asking me Do you want to have the job at the r&d in living in Chicago or you want to be the regional engineer in New Jersey for the east coast or the regional engineer in the west coast and California said California Hollywood there was he sent me to California to meet with the manager division manager here and everything was good. And he offered me the job and accepted and the the movie me to California and they weren't my furniture, whatever little furniture where we used to have a one bedroom apartment there in Pennsylvania and I spent about two weeks in Chicago, learning what they were doing what that service does. You're not going to people and all that and then move to California and two years in with your Narco and got to know the dealers that we were handling the there are projects. And whatever I'm happened to be me, you can feel company. And they are the largest material and distributor for the West Coast, they were at the time. So needless to say, I did work with them, and then decided that I wasn't too happy with the not making enough money, that you're not cool. So I got a job with the me Canfield got into the and they gave me a job to be manager of the conveyer department. So I went from rack to conveyor. They asked me what do I know about the various said nothing. But I mean, I can learn what you know about management is nothing, but I can learn. So needless to say, after two years, I became major project director. And the larger projects, and after another three more years, when my buddy Ron Microsoft, decided to move to Phoenix. Now was gonna leave, they offered me a position to be General Sales Manager. So I went from, from engineer to conveyor guy, from rack engineer to conveyor guy to a, to be in charge of major projects to be in charge of sales. And when they did make me General Manager, I left that's how you love him. And went with a company called Clark left of LA. And they had me run their airline division. And they claimed that they wanted to build it up to be as big as we had Canfield. And that was incorrect. They really wanted to sell forklifts. And I was the airline division of the forklift. And if that didn't work out, that's when I left and started site. I can put food on the table, because I have a license, one license, and one became two became three became four. And then I had an employee and then two employees. And now we have about 60 employees, and we have four divisions of the company and, and life is good. And I do business with everybody, for all facets of the industry. I deal with manufacturers, distributors, dealers, end users, government agencies, what have you again, I've been I got my degree in 72. So I've been in the industry since 72. So 51 years now. So nice. And Seizmic has been in business for 20-37 years. So that's good, too. So yeah, I know I know what the skeletons are.

Mark Hiddleson 8:31

Yeah, you most of the time. So we've been doing business with cyber since about 2005. So there's a lot to unpack in that story I love you'd shared with me about me Canfield before but I never realized it was your your advisor for your thesis introduced you to the material how many because most people don't know this business exists really about the racking the shelving and everything that's involved. And, you've been a visionary and making things you know, they've been involved in the codes and changing them anchors the way and so there's a lot to unpack there. But I wanted to talk about Mike because he's he's the one that introduced us. We've done a lot of business with Seizmic most of the years, but I've mostly dealt with Nancy starting in 2005. And that was from the permit acquisition Ron introduced me to Nancy and then I've had Nancy on the on the podcast. I know. Maybe I should have had you first.

Sal Fateen 9:33

No, this is good. Someone who opens the road for it. Yeah, but

Mark Hiddleson 9:39

And she introduced she introduced us to the idea and I really appreciate your doing this. This is huge for our audience because you're such a great resource but so the me Canfield was a distributor of you Narco.

Sal Fateen 9:54

So in our manufacturer, distributor if you're not good distributor of forklift X distributor of conveyors. I mean, there's anything that had to do with material handling. That was, and they were the largest on the West Coast, they they competed with the Raymond dealer. And not the crown dealer was still very new. So they didn't compete as much. But, but they were the largest distributor of rack for, you know, several years in a row.

Mark Hiddleson 10:29

But they were specialized because I think one of the things and you mentioned this is this is a lot of our competition, which for us, it's not really competition, because they don't do the same thing we do. A lot of people are buying their rack from the forklift guys. And there's some great people who sell forklifts. And there's some great people who sell racks. But there's very few distributors that are doing both really well. And I think forklift ended, like you said, Clark, they wanted to sell lifts. Like that's the number they made the IPAS and that drives everything. And then the rock is kind of oh, by the way. We do rap, but ours is different. We focus, we focus on the in, it's called ally, you bro you were the G GM of the Allied side. Or as things had kind of changed, but I wanted you to kind of and then I gotta ask you, so I'm going to do a two part questions is, Mike is is the one that introduced us. And he was one of my, I brought him up. Anytime me asked me, how did you start your company? Or why did you start your company? He's always the first one. Because he says in a bunch of four letter words basically. That that it's time. So he was a great friend. And he taught me so much. And the reason he could talk to me like that is he earned it you know, he was just kind of that kind of guy. But how did you guys how did your friendship in started Camfield? Or was he a distributor when you were working with Marco How did that friendship evolve?

Sal Fateen 12:00

He was the sales manager of Canfield company. And I came in as the only engineer that happens to be knowing about tracks because when I was with sturdy built for you, Narco, I was dealing with them with Canfield and Ron Marcus. When I came into the conveyer department, I didn't forget that I'm in direct business two. And we had a shop, that conveyor shop, that I decided to make it a manufacturing shop. So we started fabricating stuff. So Ron Marcus, and his sales force would find the need for a widget to be made. He talks to me about it, we make it in our shop, we sell, it makes money. And we developed then at some point in time, as we were both in the company long enough, I think he was in it, maybe a year and a half before I got there. So we were there long enough, we get to be friends, we used to compete, he and I who makes the first pot of coffee at the company, that's when we all used to smoke, the office. And our Canfield used to be number two or three to come into the office with us. So at some point in time, when we get seasoned enough, they can feel brothers that own the company decided to see if they can convince us to stay longer. So we ended up buying a piece of gum company a little piece, like 5% of two and a half percent each, or something like that. So that will have interest in the company. We're in continuity and all that. So moving when when Ron Mike decided to leave and go to Phoenix to start his own company with Jim retic. That's when the position of sales manager became available, and they offered it to me. Because they knew that my ego was way, way up there. I needed to be something. So, but they didn't notice that. When I was there, a lot of people used to my door was always open. People would come talk to me and I and I go talk to art Canfield and Bill Canfield and all that and, and at some point in time, I'd say why are they going to you? I said because I listened to them. I mean, even the janitor would come and complain to me about something and I go to anyway, and that's when I realized that I was almost acting as general manager. And I told our can feel that. And he said, but that's my position. I said, I don't care. I mean, that's that's what I'm doing. I'm acting nothing I think just as a sales manager, I'm acting as a general manager. So if you get a key could not give me that position, but usually I'll wave my hand and let's come back on, but maybe I'm getting tired. So, so I became the General Sales Manager. And and after a year or so I didn't feel that they were going the right direction with me anyway. Because I have to be general manager, what am I going to be that one brother was the president, the other brother was general manager. So I'm going to be doing so anyway. So I said, I'm leaving. And I had, I think I keep saying seven offers, or at least seven companies that wanted to talk to me about going to work for him. And I ended up with forklifts, just because they happen to be close proximity physically. And I had the, right words to tell me that they're going to be in the airline business and all that, but they did. And that's when I figured, okay, I don't want to work for anyone anymore. I want to work for myself, I'm in control of my, my destiny, and I will do what I have to and decided that the time that I need to service my customers, I need to service the end user. That's why we had started with engineering and we then went to submitting plans to the city go into fabricating whatever components that are needed and and just things and then now we have the testing lab. So for all four divisions that we have now are intended to service to be a one stop shop for any of the customers whether the end users or whether they're distributors dealers, systems integrators, whatever it may be, we service all their needs. So n squared squared because my environment with the MHI and the RMI and and he there are days I get to meet all my customers and my customers are my friends 90% of my personal customers are my friends. Now the company has customers that I don't know about but I sign their plans and give them calculations and all that but a lot of them don't don't know me personally and I don't know personally but we know each other by reputation mostly by reputation.

Mark Hiddleson 17:51

Since since we've done business the but we've done business with all three divisions, obviously, we used you for pulling permits, we try to use the almost exclusively for any kind of platforms that we need, or like you said, never realized that you did that that long you go with it was you NorCal where you are The me Canfield, he built the shop that did the custom, you know, whether it was column protectors or rack components or?

Jesse Nocon 18:19

Yes. Yeah, we start with this started. I mean, I, I do a lot of products at home we used to anyway. And so I have the tools and in order to do the tool, so I have sharp guys and and my boss or Canfield used to yell at me and say, when he sees me grinding something or doing something in the shop, he said, Why do you do that? We have people to do that. I said, I know but I need to do it. So I know how long it takes we don't do and I tell someone to do it. I say it's not my job and I can do it in this time. It's your job, you better do it quicker and better. So just knowing so it's always learning by doing it myself. Everything that everything that we've done. I did it I started first project I had was Seizmic was for safe way to cut an opening in the pick module so that they can pull the conveyor from the second level to the first level. This so I didn't do anything with conveyor at the time. I just got the opening. The second project I had was to build a bridge between manufacturing and distribution warehouse of a company and installed double deck conveyor, which I did so you hire one guy here one and a lot of my my employees were part time employees that used to work for somebody else because most of my work was on weekends. So I do it on weekends and I have anyway it's it was a good ride. Just that and learning all the pieces of material hang So that's that's when people say what we have there are other engineers that are in the business. Yes, they are engineers, engineers are available everywhere they graduate every year. It's like attorneys, you can have a lot of good. Yeah, but do they have the knowledge? Do they have the experience or they have the background, and that's the one thing that they say, is as valuable as can be. And that's what's keeping us ahead of the curve ahead of everybody. I mean,

some people that leave me and go start engineers that leave and start their own company, they do the same thing. Some survive and some fuck, and it doesn't bother me one bit. Either way. I said, You know what, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm not going to worry about what they do, like we do. Good. And that's what Nancy's doing. Nancy, is taking this company to a more scientific level, because she has she has a business degree. I did have a business degree. I'm just not knowing things by Cheeto, the past, so to speak, kinda like you might do. Whatever is right. We do. Okay, forever. Looks back.

Mark Hiddleson 21:18

Yeah. When he talked about hiring people, there's a lot of the way we build our jobs where we have even our warehouses before we've had our clients, because our clients are in the third party warehouse, they run a warehouse for somebody else. So a lot of time when we kept our inventory at a third party warehouse, and we didn't even have our own employees running the warehouse, we're using a third party logistics, and not a full time employee. It's just we might need them 10 hours one week, we might need them 30 The other or 25. And we're sending both of Cody and Drake are both going to fabrication school in January. So yeah, I like the I might be asking for some advice on what kind of because there is an opportunity in that a you reminded me when you're talking about the special projects we used you guys a few years ago, it's probably been eight, maybe 10 years ago, we had to build a conveyor maintenance platforms. And this was a I think it was CBS. They had a conveyor, they were always having the service and it was over a DEA cage. And so the cage kind of blocked access to the conveyors of services, but they wanted to build a platform. And you design something that the other thing is we had to build this thing over the DEA cage couldn't penetrate, because they have to leave this thing locked. I mean, it's crazy, the laws, they have these alarms and everything. So you design something that we installed and all the dimensions were perfect, we just set it right on top. So all the spans that had to be the span in all the dimensions so that those are those are fun projects to get involved in when we could build something that custom.

Sal Fateen 23:04

What ends up happening is happens a lot. And one of the first projects I got involved with was was the gap in in prison or the Fresno area. And they built a warehouse, that conveyors everywhere and then they keep enlarging the warehouse and putting more conveyors and before they know it, they looked and figured out they can't access the conveyors way up there to maintain them. So now what we're going to do, and that's what we got involved in, in looking at it and they said, well, actually an installer is the one that told us about the server went and said, Okay, we can do it. You install it Sedona, you install it, you can handle the project. So we did we just designed something we went installed it and then got us into the maintenance, catwalks, platforms and all that. Yeah, granted, we do larger projects when we have good customers that deal with us. But we don't compete with the mega SSI, which is Steve solutions, or will deck. I mean, these are companies that I didn't want to grow up that big in the manufacturing because engineering is still a company. So we have 60 employees is fine, great. We go bigger than that. And now I have to get involved and have to work harder and I don't want to work hard anymore. I'm at my like prime now. I gotta enjoy it.

Mark Hiddleson 24:43

Nice. So what are some of the trends that you're seeing in an industry? I mean, you guys have been given really on the forefront with the permanent acquisition only. Nancy started that in 2005. I asked her and then check out everyone has to check out Nancy's episode still the most popular One on there she is great. I mean, I've always looked up to this business person, anything I needed something done a Seizmic, even if it wasn't her job than before. Before she was the CEO she was she's always been the CEO for me. He should get things done, you know? So they definitely do you gotta wave your I gotta keep you awake. Yeah, it's asleep. So check out the Nancy one. And yeah, yeah, yeah. So what's really what's the trends that you're seeing, you know how things that kind of change.

Sal Fateen 25:39

So, the key is that everything is becoming more automated, more electronic. And we in this country, we're on the, at the lower end of the scale. So European companies are coming, we're doing a lot of business with new European companies, they come in, and they have whatever, it could be a started with robots. And now you have the fully automated rack supported building, you have the something like our store, which is a storage system, this again, fully automated, attenders material. And there are, like three or four companies that have similar storage devices, that are shuttle systems that go up, put it stores, throw it away, keep it when the time comes, push a button, and it brings it back down. So all of that was in this country on a smaller scale. We had carousels, okay. And carousels became automated carousels where you push a button, and it gives you the, the section to pick from now, robots are picking stuff and the machine bringing the stuff to the robot. So the robot picks it up, puts it on a packet, the conveyor takes it to another location that robot, and Rosa, so all that is very new, you don't need as many people to run it confuses the heck out of the guys that are building departments because they haven't seen that. And Fire Department says what I ended up at five, well, there are no people there to protect from fire.

So all you have to do is protect the building from having to fire but it's not protecting the people egress, it doesn't become an issue when you have a non occupied warehouse. So a lot of warehouses. They may not all be unoccupied, but they have a lot of sections that are very unoccupied. And they just product goes in product goes out, gets packaged and all that and gets sealed automatically and then ends up again. So that is that is definitely the trend. And if people don't if if dealers, distributors, systems integrators, manufacturers don't get into that it becomes a problem when when the Chinese wreck started coming into the states, a lot of the American manufacturers of racks decided they wanted to prevent them from being able to sell it by having restrictions and all that, well. It's stuck at work for a while. And then they change interest and then arrive at American companies that make products here. They said, Well, you know, we can make a cheap product. And they started making products in China and elsewhere to say, Well, we do the Cadillac here, but if you want to share your a Volkswagen or a smaller car, we have other other models, and here's this so and they've changed, they're becoming more automated. You don't find a lot of the cigarette companies, they're still well by by hand what they have automated welders, right? It goes in and product comes out. And not a lot of hands don't touch it, except when you need to like a base plate or beam to column connections or things like that. So it's it's different. And I'm glad that I saw it when it was archaic and old fashion. And now I see it automated at least I grew with automation. So it's not it's not that novelty. To me. It's just interesting to see how many new companies that come into the United States that contact us typically, they contact MHI and MHI or RMI or whatever they say, well, here's a company that can help you with all that. And so it's been good, it's been it's good and I'd love choice one choice. So I enjoy all the new systems that handles products. If it's fully automated, I need to know, inside and out and all that I need to understand it, because I'm an engineer. So once I understand it, that is I can explain it to somebody else. So it works out for you.

Mark Hiddleson 30:21

Yeah, and you don't miss. So MHI puts there, they do used to be ProMat every other year. And now they do ProMat one year and they do MODEX. That's where all of those new technologies, and I've only, I've probably been to 10 of them in the last 20 years. But they, that's where you see the cutting edge of technology. And we had been, the reason we're behind we're like, I think we're about 20 means never exact, we're about 20 years behind Europe as far as the percentage of automation and warehouses. And because their labor and land costs are so much higher. So the payoff has been there for longer. But these a lot of these systems, they pay for themselves in a year and a half or two years. And that's what I'm seeing with with with automation, because of the just the efficiencies.

Sal Fateen 31:12

Like, like everything else. Things move exponentially. I mean, faster and faster show even though we're 20 years behind. Yeah, now that a lot of the European companies come here to do business, they allied with American companies, American companies go up to speed and do the same. And, and there's a lot of companies, purchasing companies and and just the the whole thing widens up that we're all going to be working for the machine. And

Mark Hiddleson 31:52

yeah, like I just I just read Player Piano, which is a Kurt Vonnegut novel, and it's about the ultimate automated America was written in like the 50s, early 50s. And that we're basically like stuff in that book, we've kind of passed the way it was in the book. Yes, yes, yes, it is gonna let the machines figure it out. And we punch in the data. But there's some Luckily, there's some that the the things that the machines can figure out what it is interesting. I wanted to ask you about these are the tougher, the tougher questions that I promised, He said you'd answer anything, but a lot of our clients, you know, when I go to a client, most of the time if I walk in, if they have racking, it's an existing system. And in people they don't have the documentation on or sometimes they do. You know, we try to help people take care of an existing system. We've had people and I go in there, and I can tell it's not right. So we've engaged with you even to get permits for people after the fact. It's like, if they can't find the racket permit, you need to get it. We can do it after the fact. But what's your what's your advice? For a lot of our clients they have in the existing system? What's your advice on how to treat an existing system, make sure it's safe, make sure work?

Sal Fateen 33:19

What we've been doing what I've been doing a lot recently, is going to an existing facility that most of the time, change hands, someone acquired that company, and whomever acquired that company says, Who was your rep permitted? Is that system safe? Is everything okay? And, again, more than likely, nine out of 10 is we don't know, I've just started here a year ago, and I have no idea. We've been companies here for 20 years. Well, so they hire someone like me to come in, take a look at it. Document the right components. And if they do not know, when the system when the racking, if it's racking was purchased. We cannot say if they bought the system 10 years ago, and they want to know the capacity, I will tell them, I'll tell you the capacity 10 years ago, because that's the vintage of your rack. So you know what it was when you bought it. Okay, I can't say less apply to today because that's not fair. today. We need two anchors per base plate instead of one anchor point basically play for example, because of the code gets stranger. That doesn't mean one anchor point basically it is no good. It just it was good then And you're allowed, if you got it permitted at the time, at least you're allowed to not have to revise it to something different than what says. Now the same that used to happen a long time ago, we always add that the material handling broker material hang society that we had in LA, we used to have meetings talking about coals. One of them is the cyber code. One of them is the fire code. We always used to say the fire department said we don't want to do anything. We don't want anything to do with the building department, the building partner, the one I think it was the fire department, then they got together and said, We're gonna, we can help each other. So Fire Department goes in. Every year, they inspect a warehouse. And they look at something that doesn't look right, they say you need to have high five permit. So the customer will get a high five. And before they give it to him to say, You know what, you need to go to the city and get the building department. And that's been happening a lot. Yeah.

So the fire department talks in the building department, or the building department goes in and says, that doesn't look right, you better talk to the fire department. Because you're you may be in violation. And typically, they are in violation, because typically, you have a lot of companies that do not want to get bigger warehouses. So they, they have products that they store on the floor, sometimes in aisles, so they don't take it away. And if you're in and I and then another forklift comes in, and the aisle is blocked. So we maneuver next to it in the in the aisle, this narrow circuit, and then we clip the rack, for example, and we damage the right. And that's been a lot of the damages because of over congestion. And everybody wants to Neros all they can get so they can put more rack in there. Well narrow eyes mean for maneuvering of the forklift. And if you have to maneuver means, if I want to do job quick because I'm an incentive program that I end up clipping the rack and not telling anybody that I did, and just go away and forget about it. And then the rack can collapse or you get accidents or this other thing that a lot of companies do when again, they're acquired, they need an inspection to verify that the what the find out what the capacity of the records and to find out what damage is there that the effects? If it's if it's a debt that's a quarter of an inch, is that a problem? If the diagonal brace is shown, is that going to be a problem? Or is it redundant enough that we don't need it? And things like that it just so the good news is that with all these acquisitions, all the warehouses getting upgraded, like I see on the freeways we're talking today and all the freeways are being redone now by adding more lanes and cleaning them up and audit, which is something we haven't done.

For the longest time, warehouses are getting cleaned up and getting more safer, because OSHA is not letting go either. I mean, that's another factor that comes in St. Louis, you got to do this, because they weren't you cannot have the Indian eyes more than I don't know if you can block this you can have you can exit from a building if you have a wreck on top of it unless you have decking or something to to cover it prevent people from falling out their heads when they go through an exit. So it's it's good. It's getting better. The RMI is had the latest code change since 2012. That was the last time we had changed. So so one is coming up now. There's going to be I think 2024 Maybe by the time it gets adopted. And it is more testing more upscale technology than what we used to do before. Here's Step nine, you have to take Seizmic into account doesn't matter where you are, if you're on the West Coast and Midwest, the East Coast in the South. Everything has to be designed to take some sort of a Seizmic force. And they haven't gotten to the point of taking into account the damage to forklifts so they can make the eyes a little bit bigger. But where you can do I mean once again

Mark Hiddleson 39:53

So I was that was my other you've been perfectly and my other question is, is on dealing with damage a lot of times It is components that are damaged like a diagonal brace, or, you know, just the front column or just the horizontal. What's the what's your approach for replacing components?

Sal Fateen 40:11

You can replace them, you can reuse them, you can, if something is, let's say, a diagonal got thrown out the place

Mark Hiddleson 40:21

that happens all the time,

Sal Fateen 40:22

If you get another piece of steel that's the same size and put it in its place and bolted in. Nothing wrong with that, because you're restoring it to what it used to be. Just keeping in mind. Now, if you get damaged beyond that, the RMI recommends that you get an engineer involved in selecting the better methodology of how to fix the damage. There are a lot of companies that do repair kits, and repair kits became an old thing to say. Because there is no one repair kit, it becomes different repair kits. So all the good companies, the ones that want to advance in the repair of rack, they have a kit that is 12 inches, high, 24 inches, high 3648 76, up to 144, if they want to, there's a lot of different methods of doing it. And there are sometimes damages that cannot be paid by cash, get repaired by someone that knows what they're doing, or the direct down and get new rack in its place. That's another option. Again, it's good, the rack repair companies want to step up to the plate, they now join the RMI into sitting at the same table and talking about what they have and what they have done. And to show that they are trying to do it the correct way. Same thing or the decking manufacturer that make the wire decks also are in the in the group and they work on the specifications for wire decking. So it used to be Ottawa decks work arrange wire, and then they became maybe 360s. Maybe now it's I don't know, one gauge to gauge them and just go down to shrink a number. So you have, you can keep reducing the capacity of the carrying capacity because customers still want something that would last they don't want something that if I put the palace crooked on a shelf and it tested it, and then the deck falls down and development goes down. Then we have the competition and it tarnishes the reputation of the decade manufacturers. So anyway.

Mark Hiddleson 43:01

And you did see some interesting things that people because it looks like he can build that's one of my jokes, he can build anything out of racking you know, I go to like a waterpark or everything I go basically this whole thing is built out of pallet racking. Yes, you can. You can take these components, you can reuse them, and you get maintenance departments over the years, you know, some of the systems I see I know they're 2530 years old, because that's how long I've been in the business. And they were there when I got in this this systems and we take pride in maintaining them. I mean, I asked you, that's a lot of the questions I asked you were about that, you know, what do we do in the situation. And we have replaced the whole uprights or we have done replacement components. And it's all it's the right thing for the right client. But basically, it's making everything safer for everybody. I mean, I'm seeing a huge and there's more awareness if the racks one of the things I've told my clients that get used to the racks can really take a lot amount I've been in places where you look at the racks are so damaged and tweak. You wonder why it hasn't fallen down in the dome. But when they do, it's catastrophic. You know, I was I was looking for a rack collapse video or picture because I was doing a industry presentation for International Association for Refrigerated Warehouses. Back then it was hard to find a clip of collapse but put the one now now they every time one comes out my clients send it to me say look.

Sal Fateen 44:31

Yeah. And I always say when people say what makes the wreck fall down. I said it's always three things. It's never one. It is rack overloaded. Rack damage. Then we run into it with a forklift or then we have an earthquake and it brings it up, but earthquake does not bring a good rack down unless it's damaged or or enlist is overloaded. And I'm talking about overloaded beyond what what it was designed for. Yeah, because of ignorance, unfortunately. So that's what the big problems of course, forklifts and I was in, when I was with Canfield and, and before I got into Seizmic, and we used to make layouts for clients and all that. And they, they want to save an inch, every eye. So they can have a whole day after after five or six days, you can gain a bay and then do you have so you keep shrinking the hives. And now and you have wider guidance, what if it's wire guided? Great, but if software guide Did you rely on the the employee that rides that forklift? And if he doesn't pay attention, or if the powers are hanging, and the product is overhanging off the pallet, that becomes a problem too. And so when typically, if I go inspect a project, I look at these things, I mean, measure die, why revision guide? You supposed to look at the rack? Because I want to know, do you have a standard proxy that they reach trucks? Or do you ever sit down that guest truck? And if it sit down then that could be I mean, this epic guy that needs a lot of

Mark Hiddleson 46:26

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And they do a lot of damage when they hit the racks to the big forklift does a lot of damage.

Sal Fateen 46:32


Mark Hiddleson 46:36

So, I wanted you to ask, I want to ask you for a few personal questions. I said in the in the introduction that you're inspiring family, man. And you are so obviously you're the again, I was a little embarrassed to because I I wanted Ron to introduce us because like man, I have to know Sal, you know, I gotta go to the movies. Like he's retired. Like, he's mostly hanging out with his friends and everything. I was I was doing it for the wrong reasons. But we had a we developed a friendship. And I forget how long has been a while now but Lulu Larry's in. But you you've been an example for us of just family in the way, you know, business is important and everything like that. But but tell just share a little bit about your approach to I mean, you'd have such a great group of friends and family, and we've been able to spend time with you and vacation. What?

Sal Fateen 47:38

Well, then when we have no family in this country. I mean, Jeannie and I both came from Egypt, and this is us. We have two girls, which is great. Now we have we're a couple with two girls, and then the girls. The oldest wishes Nancy works in the business. And she has two boys and one of them is interning in the business which is good. Sara is in Vista, the youngest and she had the baby. And she also works in the business remote, but she does a lot of the programming and things like that for the company. And we went to before COVID 2019. We went to Egypt with a group of friends. We visited the family and we had everybody that came in, was invited to one of the family homes and we celebrated Sara's wedding. So we family. Family said you have nothing but that I mean you have friends in the FM it is very, I used to talk to a friend of mine. Tom Rogers who was with Western Pacific. I said it is very difficult. I see it's very difficult in this country for people to make friends. Unless your school friends that you grew up with people. They have a lot of acquaintances but not necessarily friends. That's why I consider Ron Marcus was a friend because I could go sit down with Ron Marcus and talk about nothing. Okay, we didn't have to do anything other than sit together and maybe have a drink or sometimes play golf. I do the same thing with Jim Radek. I mean so I have friends that I enjoy having friends for no reason. Other than be friends, which is the same as family coming you have families, your family so that you know you you enjoy him just the same if you don't like him this okay.

Mark Hiddleson 49:58

Now I'm like a foster nephew.

Sal Fateen 50:02

There you go. But that's true. I mean, when we do the CISM, and we have been doing it for three years now. Yeah, I think I invite a lot of, it's not a business deal. It is friends. They happen we happen to do business. But I say I do business with friends. So if I do business with friends, then I invite the friends to come and when we will celebrate whatever it is, or anniversary or a birthday, or just to come and play golf, and, and, and eat and drink and be married. I mean, it's been good. And other people say, How come I'm not invited? Because you're not afraid to invite people just so I can have more people have just.

Mark Hiddleson 50:48

Yeah, by the way, that was me. And then and then Ron introduced us at the Catalina.

Sal Fateen 50:54

We went to Catalina with Ron, and then we went to Catalina together. Yeah, then we became friends. Because that's how it started. Once you become friends, then you're in the fourth. Family.

Mark Hiddleson 51:07

Yeah. And genies awesome. And then Ron, it was his, his memorial you, you call me you were the one that called me. When Ron passed away. It was it was emotional day. But I was really glad that it was you enough really felt that friendship on that day was huge. And then you invited me to speak at his memorial. And if you hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't have prepared. So it made it it was a nice because there's a ton of people that you know, on influence Carlos Vega and add up a doc. I mean, there's a long way. I went to that memorial, and I was thinking ahead of time, you know about the family friends thing, I go, man, this is me, I'm still a businessman. Obviously, this is going to be a who's who of material handling thing. And so I go, I don't Should I leave my business cards at home. I'm going to be passing out cards. And luckily zigman Bala was there. And one of the first people introduced, he came over, he put his shook his hand like this anatomia business card. So I said, Well, I guess some people are handing out cards, but I really appreciate that. But I wanted to ask you what's your Do you have any morning rituals or quirky habits or even secret golf tips that that people might not know about?

Sal Fateen 52:28

I'm an open book. Everybody, I I'd like fairness, in business. I like ethics, people to have ethics and scruples. And don't necessarily screw your customer or your friend or whatever. I mean, it's just life. Life is good. I mean, you just have to enjoy it and do do what you can do, do the best you can do. Without having to write on somebody's shoulders in order to do it and bring them down. That's, and that's not right. When people do that. And they I don't need anything from you, you don't need anything from me, other than business every once in a while. We enjoy sitting and talking after hours, and I go to sleep and you're still talking anyway. But it is it is the enjoyment of hearing with people talking about different topics and, and things like that. And I enjoy talking about business miles, because my business is my hobby. I mean, that's so I mean what I enjoy doing, I enjoy engineering and being a civil structure. This is civil engineering. This is a reason I had an option of becoming an electrical engineer, which was the high level person then at the time when I was two, I hated electricity. I hated chemistry. And I figured structure I can relate to structure. It's, I mean, even even if it's plumbing, it's part of structural engineering, even if irrigation is part of structural engineering, building bridges building homes wherever you build. So mechanical cars a whole that no I'm not. I used to work on my cars lifetime ago to fix them. But now that all the electronics, I just drive until a breakup.

Mark Hiddleson 54:52

And then lease another one. Then you've told me and you've told me this before and you live in your life. As example of budgets, everything's all it's all about relationships. Yeah. You've told me that and you've been a great friend mentor. So we haven't done a lot of business but we have had enjoyed some phone conversations like know that I can call you. This is open door if I need to call you. What sorry. I want to be the first to thank you so much for joining us, and sharing your knowledge and wisdom. This has truly been a pleasure. Thanks for Thanks for joining us.

Sal Fateen 55:33

Thank you. Thank you for having me. And maybe I listened to that podcast and find out.

Mark Hiddleson 55:40

Yeah, I was gonna ask you, what's your favorite podcast? But it's obviously it's this one.

Sal Fateen 55:47

Yeah, it will be this one. I listened to Adam Carolla Okay, for a while, and I listened to what's her name?That used to be with CNN and serves as a podcaster. I can't remember her name. Anyway, not too many. But I do a lot of books on tape or books on for the record books on tape.

Mark Hiddleson 56:19

Yeah, but are audible Audible is? Yeah,

Sal Fateen 56:22

Yeah, I do a lot of things. Yeah. I use them but Eric Adam Carolla is good. And blonde. Actually, she did the movie with the the head of CNN, who used to be a CNN womanizer.

Mark Hiddleson 56:46

Oh, no, the Chris Cuomo. Is that Chris

Sal Fateen 56:50


Mark Hiddleson 56:52

the other CNN. I don't know. There's too many of the CNN on the list. List. Yeah, I was trying to Google it. But I don't even know what to do. Like Google CNN podcast doesn't.

Sal Fateen 57:15

It's audiobooks what it is. Audiobooks? Yeah. I mean, it's an organization podcast, both. Yeah, I can't

Mark Hiddleson 57:24

I'll get in trouble once I tried to Google this. I don't.

Sal Fateen 57:29

Megyn Kelly

Mark Hiddleson 57:30

Megan Kelly. Okay.

Sal Fateen 57:32

So listen together, because she's not too extreme. Right wing and she's not. I mean, she's leaning more right wing than the middle button. Listen to both doesn't matter. It's just like, matter that we talked about. He's talking about my views are things that are on the fence. I mean, it's, I think, what a woman does with her body, it's her business. It's not my business. Okay? You want to have a gun, by all means you can have a gun. It's not my business either. So there are things that you take from both sides, be middle of the road, have the good of things and leave them out of things. That's all it is like, friendship. You're friends with someone because you enjoy what they do. If they screw you, then you just they're no longer your friends.

Mark Hiddleson 58:33

It's that simple.

Outro 58:38

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza Podcast. We'll see you again next time. And be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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