Gary Fairchild knows that when you’ve got a good thing, you don’t let it go.
Fairchild has been working with L&M Radiator for 48 years. Unlike some folks who job hop every few years, Fairchild realized early on that L&M Radiator was a great place to work. Born and raised on a sheep farm in Hibbing, Minnesota, Fairchild joined L&M Radiator right out of college, where he played hockey. Enamored by his sales position and impressed with the family-like culture, he’s never looked back.
“It’s been a great career,” said Fairchild. “I really enjoy my job, and I’ve grown incredibly close to the people I work with. I always say they treat you like family. That’s why there are several people, not just me, who have stayed with the company for over 40 years.”
As one can imagine, L&M Radiator looks a little different now than it did 48 years ago. When Fairchild first started in 1973, he was one of just 30 employees. Now L&M Radiator has a team of more than 240 employees in Hibbing and 500 worldwide.
“When I first started, we had just moved into the facility, before we remodeled the one now, and everybody did a little bit of everything back then,” said Fairchild. “I originally started out in production, and I would joke with my coworkers that I’d go out and sell Mesabi® heat exchangers and then come back and build them.”
As time went on and Fairchild was continually presented with opportunities to grow, he found a permanent place in sales.
“Eventually we grew and got bigger, and my boss, Alex Chisholm, the president of L&M Radiator, asked me to be a salesman. I said, ‘Where do you want me to go, and what do you want me to do?’ And he said, ‘Well, go get a briefcase and go wherever you want.’ So I went to Florida,” said Fairchild. “I had never even flown in an airplane before starting this position, but almost 3 million miles on Delta, and 48 years later, I’m here. It’s been a great opportunity for me.”
Specializing in OEM Sales, Fairchild spends his weeks traveling the United States selling Mesabi heat exchangers to the largest heavy equipment, haul truck, and drill manufacturers in the mining and oil and gas industries. His prior expertise in production helps him to stay on top of the dynamic technological advancements L&M Radiator is continuously making.
Great Work; Unmatched Opportunity
Fairchild attributes his tenacity and passion for hard work to his days growing up on his family’s hobby farm.
“Though it was a smaller farm, we did put up like 10,000 bales of hay, just us,” said Fairchild. “I showed at livestock shows all over Minnesota, and we won the State Fair several times. We had horses, chickens — a little bit of everything — but we were really well-known for the sheep that we showed.”
His whole life, Fairchild has been grounded in community, which is part of the reason why he feels so at home working in L&M Radiator’s family-like work environment.
“I would say to others thinking of working at L&M, that if you want to work hard, they give you all the chances in the world, and they’re great people to work for,” said Fairchild. “It’s a great industry and we have a great product. And I’ll tell you, the hardest part of the job is to sell the first one, because the rest sell themselves. They’re that good.”
When he’s not flying all over the country, Fairchild still has his boots on the ground, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family.
“I have hunting land up by the Canadian border. It’s about 73 miles north of Grand Rapids, between Hibbing and International Falls, and I spend a lot of time deer hunting there,” said Fairchild. “I live on Sugar Lake, so I also do a lot of walleye fishing, too. I also love being with family. My wife’s family and my family are both pretty big. We host 4th of July parties every year, and more than 100 people usually show up! It’s amazing.”
Fairchild has two children, Kelly, 48, and Gery, 41. He met his wife, Leila, in the eighth grade, when she sat in front of him in class, and they’ve been together pretty much ever since.
Join the World-Class Team
Interested in making a difference with Mesabi? Gary Fairchild’s story is a great example of the opportunities that abound at L&M Radiator. Fairchild started in production and is now L&M Radiator’s OEM sales manager. Visit our company’s Careers page to learn about all of the openings at L&M Radiator and begin your career today!
To read more stories like Gary’s, visit The Mesabi Exchange, here.