In August, Brasscraft announced Thomas Assante had been named president, and though he is new to Brasscraft, he has been part of the Masco family for the better part of two decades, serving most recently as chief information officer for Delta Faucet Co.
PM caught up with Assante during his first few weeks at the company’s Novi, Michigan, headquarters to see how he was settling in and ask about his plans for the company’s future.
PM: How do you feel about being chosen to lead Brasscraft?
TA: I'm definitely honored to be joining Brasscraft. It has a long legacy of quality, innovation and service, and I think that's something we can build upon. Understanding that legacy is important to me, and I'm really excited about the opportunity to be able to build upon that legacy and drive it forward in the future to understand what we can do to meet the needs of both our customers — the plumbers and consumers.
PM: What do you like most about being a part of the plumbing industry?
TA: It's good people who really know each other — there are a lot of relationships that are long-term. I remember the first time I hired somebody in market research who had worked in consumer products for a long time. I was recruiting them to come over to Delta to lead market research, and the person said: "This isn't... I don't want to work here. This is boring. This isn't going to keep my busy." He said, "Consumer products are more interesting." But as I was leaving Delta to come up here [to Brasscraft], he came by and said, "I just want to tell you again that, you couldn't have been more right about this. This is so interesting. Every day I learn something different."
It’s great people, great relationships. PMI [Plumbing Manufacturers International] is a great organization I've been a part of before and look to continue to be a part of at Brasscraft. I'm interested to engage with them and build up that relationship.
PM: You said company culture is part of what drew you over to Delta and Masco as a whole. Can you elaborate?
TA: I like the fact it is a place that gives people opportunities to grow and develop their careers. It has been, and is going to continue to be, even more of a focus going forward — Masco is trying to be very deliberate about driving that career and talent development and growth. Being a part of a company like that, that has that legacy but then also is adapting and looking forward to how they can work with the future workforce and provide an overall environment of diversity, inclusion, and growth for their talent development, is a company I want to be a part of. That's why I've stayed here for 17 years.
PM: How is Brasscraft approaching the proposed tariffs on imported goods from China?
TA: Masco's very engaged with that through PMI and through their own efforts, and there's definitely a lot of work going on there to understand what's going on and what the impact's going to be, what's going to happen. We're still kind of analyzing that and trying to figure out the impact because they just released that information not that long ago. We have our initial analysis done, but we still have more work to do. We're definitely focused on understanding what the impact is and then working on mitigation strategies that can help offset any impact so we don't have to pass anything on to our end users, and there are many ways to do that.
PM: What are you going to do to ensure Brasscraft continues its good relationship with plumbers?
TA: We need to understand the plumber — to be there and understand what their needs are. At Delta, I was in charge of market research, so I've got a good feel for what we need to do to really understand what the plumbers’ needs are. That’s something I'm looking forward to bringing here to Brasscraft.