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Employee Bios

Bruce Gillilan - Owner/President - Onboard Since: 1977
Bruce has been a part of Simmons since 1977. Initially as sales manager but soon became general manager and then president in 1989. Bruce and his wife, Marta, acquired ownership of Simmons in 2007. As parents of three children, Brett, Kara, and Lindsay, Bruce and Marta were always active in their activities while they were growing up. Now they relish spending time with their 4 grandsons. In his spare time, in addition to spending time with the grandboys, Bruce enjoys shooting skeet, boating, hiking with the dogs, traveling, and spending quality time with Marta.

 

Colin Murphy - Vice President/General Manager - Onboard Since: 2011
Colin has responsibility for the day to day operations of Simmons Knife & Saw. This includes Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, Human Resources, and Finance/Accounting. Colin’s favorite movie is Braveheart and his favorite band is U2 whom he has seen in concert more than 10 times. He is married and has twin sons who were born in 2007 and keep him and his wife quite busy. He is an avid sports fan and coaches many of his sons’ teams including baseball, soccer, and basketball. Colin grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and has the burden of being a die-hard fan of Cleveland’s continually struggling sports teams. But, as a true optimist, he always thinks that “this year will be the year!”

 

Wally Plywaczewski - Director of Manufacturing/ISO Management Representative - Onboard Since: 1997
Wally is responsible for all manufacturing and ISO related operations at Simmons Knife & Saw's facility. He is married with three relatively adult children. The youngest, now attending college, has allowed him to retire from coaching, fundraising , and other supportive activities and focus on his golf game and league bowling. Wally is still waiting for his first hole in one but has finally bowled a perfect 300 game in 2011. Growing up in Chicago and being a life-long Chicago area resident, he is at peace knowing that the White Sox, Bears, and Blackhawks have all won championships during his adult life.

 

Michele Kuper - Human Resources Manager - Onboard Since: 2000
As the Human Resources Manager, she may be biased, but claims Simmons employs some of the best people in the industry. With an average employee tenure of over 10 ½ years, she has the pleasure every day of keeping these great folks happy & content. Her motto is “an organization that smiles together succeeds together!” “I believe that we have an environment here where people come to work and are energized, have fun, do great work, wow our customers and are proud of what we do! ”

Michele loves pizza and cherishes spending time with her family and friends and making people smile and laugh. Vacation hot spots are aboard a cruise ship or quick getaways to Las Vegas or Napa Valley!

Dan Rauwald - Director of Engineering – Onboard Since: 2014
Dan has responsibility for Engineering and Maintenance.  He is passionate about developing others, and Engineering being a support and solution provider to the company. Dan has a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and is a proud Badger.  He is Married with one daughter born in 2011.  In addition to spending time with his wife and daughter, Dan enjoys running, biking, water skiing, and fishing.  When he can’t get outside, he appreciates film, food, and home improvement projects.

 

Wence Kedzior – Controller – Onboard Since: 2013
Wence is responsible for Accounting/Finance at Simmons. He brings over 20 years of experience in  accounting, international accounting, business intelligence, financial planning and analysis to the Simmons team. Wence is married with two daughters and a son. He grew up in Chicago, as a die-hard Cub fan, he is still hopeful that the Cubs will win the World Series in his life time. He spends most of his free time working out, playing softball, basketball and catching up with family and friends. Travelling with his wife and kids is always on top of the list when it comes to free time.

 

Erin O'Brien - Director of Sales & Marketing - Onboard Since: 2002
Erin leads our domestic and international sales team and coordinates our marketing efforts, including our catalog, website and tradeshow appearances.

Erin grew up in southeastern Iowa. She is an Iowa Hawkeye super fan. She spends most of her free time catching up with family and friends.

Scott Wallgren - Regional Sales Manager - Midwest - Onboard Since: 1978
Scott is responsible for all sales activities in the Midwestern region which includes middle and eastern Canada. Scott enjoys some quiet time through his gardening and enjoys exercising whether it be through a routine workout, a game of tennis or golf. His favorite spectator sport is football, both professional and college. As a die hard Cub fan, he is hoping to see a Cub’s world series championship in his life time. Scott has spent his life in the Chicago area. He is married with three grown daughters, two of whom are married, and has one grandson with another grandchild on the way.

 

Jim Rock - Regional Sales Manager - West - Onboard Since: 1987
Jim has responsibility for sales, service, and management of the Western United States and Western Canada. Jim has 2 sons, Chris and Jonathan, both of whom have graduated from college and, if Jim had his way, would have been named Letz and Gotta; a step daughter Gianina, and a grand daughter Sarah, whom he loves to spoil and help with her homework (as he did all the other children). Jim grew up in DeKalb, Illinois in a family of 10; 7 girls, 3 boys; 1 bathroom; lots of spare underwear; and a zeal for getting to the dinner table on time. Jim loves his Cubs and, once again, it won’t be this year and it’s a good bet not next year either. Jim likes to camp, hike, visit museums, and try to stay in shape so he can continue to do the aforementioned.

 

Angie Price - Regional Sales Manager - East - Onboard Since: 1998
Angie lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with her husband and is mother to 3 sons and 1 daughter. She is also grandmother to 6 grandsons – with another on the way February, 2017  – and 2 granddaughters ranging from 7 years to 7 months. In her down time...which is not much....she enjoys being with family and friends at a local outdoor music venue listening to the rock bands of the 70's and reliving those days. Traveling has always been high on her list of favorite things to do, which is another reason she enjoys her job visiting all her customers and distributors fromMaine to Florida.

 

Morgan Coghill - International Sales Manager - Onboard Since: 2013
Morgan is responsible for export sales at Simmons. Morgan is suited to International Sales in that he has studied abroad, as well as worked in Moscow, Russia and Kyiv, Ukraine. He brings over 10 years of International experience to the Simmons team. Morgan is married with one small daughter along with the makings of a small zoo. Morgan grew up in Maine, which is a part of Red Sox nation, and does his best follow them from Chicago.

Natalie Taylor - Customer Service Manager - Onboard Since: 2008
Natalie is responsible for day-to-day activities in the Customer Service area. She ensures that our customers are met with a prompt, knowledgeable, and friendly response when they contact Simmons. She supports the East Coast territory.

Natalie was born and raised in Chicago. She is married and has three daughters. Natalie’s favorite quote: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!” ~ Audrey Hepburn

 

Mariel Lopez - Customer Service Representative - Onboard Since: 2012
Mariel provides our customers with information about their orders and Simmons’ products. She is bi-lingual, fluent in Spanish. She is also involved in many projects aimed at helping our Sales and Customer Service departments better serve our customers. She supports the West Coast and International territories.

Mariel was born and raised in the United States but lived and attended school in Mexico for 3 years. She loves to spend time with her family and friends.

 

Jessica Ocampo - Customer Service Representative - Onboard Since: 2015
Jessica provides our customers with information about their orders and Simmons’ products. She is bi-lingual, fluent in Spanish. She is also involved in many projects aimed at helping our Sales and Customer Service departments better serve our customers. She supports the Midwest territory.

Jessica likes to spend time with her son and family. She also enjoys traveling and discovering new places.