Area manufacturer making connections through Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub

The Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub recently sat down with John Nelson, sales manager at ESCP Corp., a Davenport manufacturer that makes re-usable racks and shipping containers as well as component parts for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in multiple industries.  John, a frequent presence at Hub events, talked to us about why he’s a believer in the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub.

Why did you first become involved in the Hub?

I was first asked to take part by Curt Burnett (former Executive Director and current Director of Technology Innovation) from the Hub.  I have great respect for his experience, his contacts, his heart.  So when he asked me to participate, I trusted him and got on board.

I try to attend a Hub Huddle at least once a month, if not more.  The way I see it, success leaves clues.  When others share what works for them, it helps spur ideas for those listening. And even if the topic is something I’m already familiar with, it’s great networking experience.  I’ve made some valuable contacts just being in the same room. 

What do you see as the value of the Hub?

The Hub is helping you see what you need to do in order to do business in the future.   The great thing is that there’s no ulterior motive other than concern for helping area businesses maintain what they have and grow it. I would rather be educated about it by people who have my best interests in mind versus someone who is trying to sell me something and their intent is to rip my head off. In other words, all they care about is the sale and they don’t really have my best interest in mind.

What have you learned so far?

If you’re not changing, it’s not going to work.  There’s a great book featuring two mice named Sniff and Scurry who have to adapt to change and sniff around to find new cheese when it gets moved (“Who Moved My Cheese”).  Well, technology is moving the cheese on us!  While the stages of the sales process may be the same, the tools are changing and progressing.

For example, I used to go to trade shows where you would do an introduction “belly to belly” and then follow up by phone.  I don’t go to trade shows now; it’s too expensive.  We invest our money into our website.  It’s a very powerful way for us to generate leads.

Why do you think others should get involved?

People will naturally take the path of least resistance, but when the pain of NOT changing is greater than the pain of changing, they will ask for help.  I’m a gadget guy by force, not nature.  I want to do the things that put me out in front like take classes and stay up-to-date on changing technology. The Hub team and their connections through CIRAS and IMEC are a font of knowledge and resources.  Plus, it’s also a great way to meet others who are an asset to your business and gain cooperation between peers.

Speaking of cooperation, why did you join the Hub’s Regional Capabilities Catalog, the new online business directory?

I’m an ex-military guy.  I learned that whenever you’re planning a mission, you always plan your avenues of approach and your avenues of regression.  The catalog is an avenue of approach – it’s yet another way people can find me.  Plus it’s FREE.  I’ve already broken even, and if I gain just one piece of business, then my return on investment is that much greater!

About ESCP Corporation

The Hub is here to help. Want to learn more about how the Hub can help you grow, diversify, and stay competitive?  Attend a Hub event or connect with us at or online at

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