Name: Chris Baker
Position: General Manager – North American Sales
Years with the company: 7 Years
1) What was your childhood like?
Extremely blessed. Dad was coaching my baseball team, and I could look over to see Mom and my brother Austin watching us on the field. I didn’t know exactly how much I’d appreciate it later, but my grandfather was at every game. He videotaped every game, along with every Christmas, birthday party, and random Tuesday evening that we were in the front yard playing. I still have every one.
2) Who was a hero to you growing up? Why?
My parents were and are heroes to me. Austin was born four years after me. Shortly after he was born, we found out that he was physically handicapped; he would never be able to walk or talk. This meant Mom would spend the next 11 years of her life taking care of him around the clock. Since she couldn’t have a career, Dad was the sole provider for our family. He asked for the hardest route that our local UPS facility had, so that he could get the most overtime to provide for us. Despite the long hours, heavy packages, two plates & four screws in his spine, I never heard Dad complain. In fact, he’d often go straight to the baseball field with me, still in his UPS uniform, and throw me batting practice until the lights cut off (11:07pm). There’s no better example of true love, selflessness, and hard work than Kenny and Joni Baker.
3) What are your hobbies?
That’s an excellent question. Living my life out of a suitcase (or three) has given me a wide range of experiences. These experiences take the place of traditional hobbies. No matter if I’m in New York City or Davenport, IA, I’m always sure to find whatever makes the locals stay local. It’s almost always something that you would never read about or see on TV, but it makes that place unique. When I’m home, there’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time with the people that I love. Oh, and I also write poetry.
4) How did you end up in metrology? Did you go to school for it?
I took the same route everyone in metrology took… I was a 23-year-old Sociology major/washed-up college baseball player with multiple knee and shoulder surgeries, convincing people to go on timeshare tours. So, I did the obvious thing and called the baseball coach at The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding. I told him I wanted back on the field, but I didn’t think I was cut-out for welding or pipe-fitting. He responded with something along the lines of “We have some folks that use lasers.” I decided against selling timeshares and commercials for a local TV company and went with the lasers.
5) How did you come to be at API?
Honestly, I can’t tell this story. It’s a pretty good one though. We’ll just say that I’d known the right guy for quite a while. Once he and I both realized this connection, he put in the right word. After a little back-and-forth, I was the NE Regional Manager.
6) What are your roles and responsibilities with API?
About halfway through last year, I accepted the role of General Manager of North American Sales. We’re currently in the process of building what we consider to be the most technically-sound and readily-available team API North America has ever had. My job is to build this team and ensure they have all the resources to properly support our North American customers. API’s main focus has always been supporting our customers, but we’re taking that to a new level. In addition to our six Regional Managers, we’ve added three Inside Sales Support positions and three Sales Engineers to assist the Regional Managers in the field. I’m extremely excited and proud to be a part of this team.
7) What sets API apart from other metrology companies in your mind?
First, it’s very unique to be able to directly interface with a company owned and run by the inventor of one of your industry’s flagship products. API, being a small, privately-owned company, gives the customer that ability with the inventor of the laser tracker, Dr. Kam Lau. API is also very hands-on and personal with customer service. When a customer is in need, they can get in touch with our direct sources at API HQ, or any of our other global offices. If that’s not enough, we also offer a full line of metrology assistance, from Products to Services, so the customer’s needs are always met.
8) What API Product or Service are you most excited to tell people about?
API’s people are what I’m most excited to explain to anyone willing to listen. From our R&D team, to our service engineers, to our sales team, API employees are what set API apart from any other metrology provider in the world.
9) What about API’s future excites you?
Dr. Lau allows his creative engineering background to be present with all his employees. This encourages out-of-the-box thinking and the research & development of many projects that can improve the metrology industry. Over the past few years, API has put an intense focus on securing the right people and processes in our marketing, sales, and support teams to ensure that we’re able to get these ideas out to our customer-base and continue to allow them to grow their visions. We’re making a lot of positive changes at API; I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
10) What does “Nothing Beyond Measure” mean to you?
To me, “Nothing Beyond Measure” means that there’s no problem or hurdle that one of our customers could present to us that we are not willing to work with them to overcome. We have one of the most comprehensive collections of metrology solutions, and we are always willing to work hand-in-hand with our customers to develop any new solutions that they may need.