Adams General Manager Rick Stumpf thrives guiding a team he describes as the “best in the industry.”
Like many Chicagoans, Adams Elevator Equipment Co. General Manager Rick Stumpf is a first-generation descendent of immigrant parents, and now thinks of himself as a Chicago native through and through. Born and raised here, he and his wife, Vicky, make their home in Darien, one of the many charming communities that form the Chicago suburbs. He’s a fan of the White Sox baseball team and Blackhawks ice-hockey team. “It’s pretty much a requirement” to support local sports teams if you hail from Chicago. Stumpf states:
“I’ve lived here my whole life, and have no reason or desire to leave. I love the city, and, as I’ve changed jobs throughout my career, I’ve always found it desirable to stay in the Chicago area. I went to school at Northwestern University in Evanston, [Illinois], and have a lot of family members in the area that keep me anchored, but not to the detriment of spreading my wings occasionally. It’s a great place to live and work.”
Stumpf and his wife enjoy traveling and describe themselves as “beach people rather than mountain people.” They’ve visited beaches throughout Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico, and he said he’ll consider adding Alabama beaches — famous for their sugary white sand and crystal-clear water — to the list. The couple has been to Europe many times and particularly love Paris, where Vicky lived for a year as she finished her undergraduate education.
The couple have a 26-year-old son, Eric, who holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and is applying it at a company in the western suburbs of Chicago. Stumpf and his wife enjoy watching nature shows on PBS. “The animal world is phenomenal to see,” he states. They have a significant number of popular television series on their DVR, such as NCIS and PBS’ Nature, which they hope to get to over the summer.
Stumpf has been leading Adams for 11 years, but he did not start out in the elevator industry. He holds an Electronic Engineering degree from Northwestern and worked for manufacturers in several industries, including writing software and designing electronic systems.
He was awarded two patents during his early stint in the railroad-supply business. During that time, he returned to school to earn an MBA, also from Northwestern. “I transitioned into sales and marketing and have been here ever since,” Stumpf states. “[Since joining the elevator industry], I have never looked back and still rely on my engineering training for things I do every day.”
Stumpf ’s engineering background allows him to speak to customers with knowledge and authority. He remembers:
“When I came to Adams in 2005, even though I wasn’t from the industry, it didn’t take me long to understand how elevators work — all the parts and systems and the subsystems — how they all fit together. My engineering background gave me the technical aptitude I needed to catch on quickly and realize, ‘These are how all the parts fit together to make an elevator or escalator work.’”
Located in the heart of downtown in a skyscraper at 100 South Wacker Drive, Adams has a team of 11 salespeople that Stumpf says “keeps [him] coming to work every day.” He says the team’s average tenure with Adams is more than 26 years. Of his employees, Stumpf says:
“Customers tell us, so it’s not just my view, but I believe they are the best in the industry. Their knowledge and expertise on Adams products, and all the elevator and escalator parts, is second to none. I would put them up against anyone in the industry, and I think they would win. They are the lifeblood and the heart and soul of Adams. They continue to put our customers first and help them identify and get the parts they need.”
Stumpf says Adams’ motto is “The Right Part at the Right
Time,” and he is pleased the company is able to set itself apart from the competition by its ability to have the products a customer needs on the shelf nearly 97% of the time, day in, day out. Distributing all brands and types but specializing in Schindler and Westinghouse parts, Adams’ warehouse is located in Maumee, Ohio, and is convenient to numerous delivery providers, airport, rail and major interstates. “It is a stone’s throw from a major [United Parcel Service] hub,” he notes.
Stumpf envisions himself retiring after 10 years. Until then, he states:
“I will work as long as it’s enjoyable and as long as it brings enjoyment to my employer. I will do everything I can to make sure that happens. This is such a joyful position to be in with the team I have around me that it is always fun and exciting. We here at Adams are quick on our feet and ready to adapt to changes. As things evolve in the industry, I think we’re in a very good position to keep up with it and succeed.”