Velo3D Employee Spotlight: Xavier Fruh – Sales Director, EMEA West

April 18, 2023

For this Velo3D Employee Spotlight, we chatted with Xavier Fruh, Sales Director for EMEA West, to learn more about his professional experience working in the welding industry, his eventual transition to the world of metal AM, the difference between “educating a customer” and “convincing a customer”, and his love for repairing vintage Swiss watches.

Please tell us about your professional background.

I have a background in electrical engineering, specifically embedded systems, and an MBA. My career has been globally divided into different periods. The first one was in the welding industry, where I started as a FSE [field service engineer]. After that, I jumped slowly to sales and team management, where I managed a welding machines department for the French subsidiary of a UK group.

After 10 years in the welding industry, I wanted to jump into the startup world, so I joined a small company that was not AM-related, but then shortly after, I joined a DED (Directed Energy Deposition) AM company, which was later acquired by a French LPBF company. My role at this AM company was focused on business development and sales in Europe.

What brought you to Velo3D?

My previous AM experience helped me to understand what blocks the development and adoption of AM, and I really liked how Velo3D is disrupting the industry and tackling these challenges. The dynamic of the company is different to anything I’ve experienced before. I’ve also seen, working for a competitor, [Velo3D’s] momentum, and how it has grown from this smaller company into a serious player.

Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day at Velo3D?

My main role is to help prospective customers and develop business for Velo3D in Europe, specifically EMEA West. The way I approach my job is to create trust with prospective customers. I’m trying to help them solve very tough challenges. In that regard, it’s important to be honest and up front about what our technology can do, but it’s equally important to let them know when we might not be a good fit.

How would you describe the culture at Velo3D?

Collaborative. People are encouraged to share their opinion and ask questions. But more than that, they are encouraged to act. Velo3D also has a culture where I will say ego is secondary. And where people are highly committed to the success of the company. I would also say that we all have a lot of respect for each other regardless of where you are located.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

In the professionally world I love to solve problems and identify solutions for customers. I do that by discovering the world of my customer. Which environments are they working in? What are they doing? What their challenges? From this, I like to find the right path to a solution.

Visiting a customer, a new customer, and helping them achieve their objective; this is what really drives me.

And even more so, I really like to identify challenges that maybe they themselves have not noticed. I’m a salesperson, yes, but I really see myself as a technical solution finder thanks to my engineering background.

And sometimes it’s ok if the solution isn’t right for everyone, yes?

Yeah, sometimes you must stop yourself. My job is not about just convincing someone to buy a machine, it’s about helping them understand what the machine will help them achieve. This is what builds long-term relationships and trust. I also believe this approach will help the AM market to grow the right way. We need to find the right industrial applications for AM.

What in your opinion differentiates Velo3D from other additive manufacturing solutions?

The culture is a big differentiator. We work but we work in a good environment. That’s really key with the challenge of being a fast-growing company.

Technically speaking, I would point to the design freedom our solution provides and the robustness of our technology to help customers scale up production. I would also have to mention Assure, our quality assurance software that provides real-time data monitoring and reporting of a build.

What a lot of customers tell me, though, is that they appreciated that we are highly committed to customer service and support. We don’t just sell a machine and leave them on their own; we help and are highly reactive to any challenges they may face.

What has been your favorite project so far?

I wish I could tell you, but I can’t speak of it just yet! It’s a big OEM in my region but more than that, I cannot say.

What do you like to do for fun? Any interesting hobbies?

People think “I’m only a sales guy” but my real motivation is technical, and that is because of my previous engineering background and time spent as an FSE.

 Outside of work I like to work with my hands. I like building things. Everything from guitars, guitar tube amplifiers to wood furniture. I renovated my home recently, which I really enjoyed.

As for my hobbies, I like to golf, and I love the mountains. I used to be a crevasse and avalanche rescue instructor. Most recently, I’ve taken to repairing vintage Swiss watches. I’m currently working on a 1950 Zenith watch.

That’s very cool! What got you into that?

I really like watches. Not necessarily for how famous the brand is, but really the mechanism and technique that goes into building them. It’s really something very precise and complex, and so it fascinates me, and I really appreciate the technology.

 

That’s all our questions—thanks for chatting with us, Xavier!

You’re welcome!

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Director of Content

Amir Iliaifar is the Director of Content at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.