Whether AMMEX President Keyo Gold is looking back to his roots with the company or forward to its future, he sees a common thread.
“People are our most valuable assets,” he says. “That’s why one of our top five goals for this year, and every year moving forward, is going to be people. There’s always going to be a need for great people, great leaders, who can help take the business to the next level.”
A graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Gold was introduced to AMMEX founder Fred Crosetto in the spring of 2004. He had two primary criteria: He wanted to work for a company with an international element, and he wanted to make an impact.
He also had no experience. When Gold joined AMMEX, it was his first real job out of college.
“They created a position for me, I was so green,” he says. “I was a sales associate. I was setting up appointments for sales reps for the most part. But that didn’t last long, because I got pretty impatient. I was thinking, why don’t I just do the presentations myself?”
His ambition and drive served him well. Four months later, he was a national sales rep with a rapidly growing company.
At the time, AMMEX was a tight-knit operation with headquarters in Kent, Washington, and a distribution center in Atlanta. A traditional wholesaler, it imported and distributed disposable gloves and personal protective equipment manufactured in Southeast Asia. The plan was already in place, however, to expand the company’s presence around the globe.
Gold was quickly caught up in the drive to rapid growth. Within two years of his arrival, he was presented with a new opportunity: senior sales manager in the Philippines, where AMMEX was opening an office. He was tasked with building the Manila sales operation from scratch.
For Gold this was a formative experience, from the perspective that the heartbeat of AMMEX’s business is in Asia, where all of the company’s products are manufactured. He was able to learn the essentials of disposable gloves from the raw materials stage to factory to distribution, and apply that knowledge to both the operational and sales processes. Spending time in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines taught him not only how gloves are made, but also crucial cultural lessons about the human side of the equation.
“I think I really got to understand what it took to build something from the ground up,” he says. “My attitude was, I’m going to make it great. I took pride in making the right decisions in growing the business.”
After 13 months, Gold returned to the States and a new role as vice president of sales. His number one responsibility was to foster growth by continually sharpening the sales focus—but the company’s flat organizational structure enabled him to also play significant roles in customer service, marketing, and supply chain.
Such variety of experience served him well in 2014, when he was named AMMEX North America’s first president.
With the company having expanded to China—and Crosetto spending the majority of his time running the operation in Shanghai—there was a need to develop the company’s leadership structure so it would continue to drive the business forward.
In the two and a half years since, he has taken control of the company’s rapid growth while not losing sight of its core ideologies. There are significant differences between the AMMEX of 2004 and 2017: Today’s gloves are produced more efficiently and at lower cost; they are lighter in some cases and heavier in others; and more have texture, especially AMMEX’s raised diamond texture, which has been a game-changer for disposable gloves.
The industry has seen changes as well, Gold says. Consolidation has reduced the number of companies selling gloves as well as the number of factories producing them. For an agile company like AMMEX that can respond quickly to evolving market conditions, the opportunities are there and ready to be seized.
“I think we’re focused on the right things,” Gold says. “It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have some things to overcome. But I feel über-confident in our objectives and where we’re going.”
Gold and his wife, Adrianne, live in Seattle with their three children.