March 5, 2024

Tony Grubish is an MVP at Kaeser and Elevated

Kaeser Compressors has high standards. The company and its employees only produce quality compressed air systems. Tony Grubish (sales engineer at Air Center – an Elevated Industrial Solutions Company) has high standards, too. Tony won the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for #1 salesperson in the U.S. from Kaeser (as part of the All Star contest) announced in January 2024.

Kaeser is known for precise German engineering. Like Elevated, Kaeser doesn’t compete on price; the company positions sales around value. What does that mean? The yellow compressors aren’t the cheapest option but are known for their longevity and quality; people choose them for their reliability and trustworthiness.

Tony Grubish came from the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic. Afterward, he worked as a service technician with a major competitor for nine years. At Air Center, he’s spent the past 19 years as a technician, service manager, and now a sales engineer. That time has given Tony a chance to develop a customer-focused strategy – understand his customers’ business and their compressors. In that way, Tony proves he’s reliable and trustworthy. Demonstrating our values is why customers keep coming back.

Kaeser’s All Star contest

There are various rules from Kaeser for the All Star contest based on baseball stats. You need to meet complicated criteria – sell two machines per month and achieve key metrics that include selling specific equipment.

Tony exceeded these metrics, winning the MVP at the year’s midpoint and at the end of the year.

Being an MVP came easy to Tony. One company had a mix of compressors, including some cheap Italian machines, that were failing. Employees there turned to Tony, relying on his expertise and competitive quote. He received a purchase order for 90 units before the end of January 2023.

“I was on a great path,” Tony admitted.

Get the customer, not always the sale

Tony credits his background as a service technician with a Kaeser Master Service Tech/Sales Certification on how he wins with customers. He asks questions to thoroughly understand the customer’s business and checks out the machines. Sometimes, that means he sells a new compressor, but not always. Instead, he’s focused on taking care of the customer to help them meet their goals – recommending service or changes to extend the life of their current compressor … even when he receives a request for quote.

“I’d rather get the customer than a sale.”

He knows he’s building a relationship. Because customers trust Tony, they keep coming back.

Tony said, “Once the relationship is built, selling new equipment, when they need it, is easy.”


Tony was leading as the best salesperson for Kaeser all year, joined by two other salespeople at Air Center: Chris Brown and Tom Kilgore. Although Chris and Tom lost out in December, our Michigan branch nearly had three of the top five Kaeser sales spots!

He also credits the fantastic service technicians; he indicates they’re a big part of how the branch keeps winning. It doesn’t hurt that his wife, Fay Grubish, is the service manager in northwestern Ohio, where he sells compressors.

“At Air Center, we’ve always taken pride in our service, and we have built a great relationship between our sales and service departments.”

Tony’s win as MVP also moves Air Center to the Kaeser designation of “level 5.” Kaeser has a system of levels from 0 – 5, giving deeper discounts on equipment and parts as you move up the scale. At level 5, Air Center earns more profit from sales. Of course that makes general manager, Jim Casey, happy. It helps their branch stay competitive while selling the gold standard in compressors.

But there were some personal rewards, too, for being the MVP besides bragging rights. Tony and his wife are going to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. And Elevated provided an extra award for demonstrating the values and brand.

What’s on for 2024?

When asked if he would win the MVP again, Tony sheepishly noted he has a purchase order for a bunch of compressors. Modestly, he confirmed he has a good chance of staying in the Presidents Club in 2025.

That winning attitude is why Tony’s an MVP at Elevated, too.

Tami Matthews
Author: Tami Matthews
Tami Matthews is the Director of Marketing at Elevated Industrial Solutions. She’s spent 20+ years in marketing, focusing on writing, public relations, digital marketing, and content marketing. Before coming to Elevated in December 2020, she worked for a number of high-tech companies. Writing is one of her favorite pastimes. In her spare time, she volunteers for a number of causes including the Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy working on the PTO. She also hikes with her husband and begrudging daughter.
Related resources
& expert advice
  • Announcing Kaeser’s re-designed BSD series rotary screw compressor
    September 25, 2013

    Announcing Kaeser’s re-designed BSD series rotary screw compressor

    Flows from 157 – 294 cfm Kaeser Compressors, Inc. has yet again pushed the boundaries of compressed air efficiency with the newly redesigned BS…
  • 7 deadly sins of compressed air
    December 2, 2014

    7 deadly sins of compressed air

    When putting together a compressed air system, temptation is all around you. You want the best system, but having the best doesn’t mean grabbing w…
  • Get your compressors ready after the holidays
    January 8, 2015

    Get your compressors ready after the holidays

    The holidays are over and for many plants that mean seasonal shutdowns or lower production demands are also a thing of the past. While everyone is…