Like the captain at the helm of a large ship, Steve Richman is steering one of the world's largest tool companies towards a new horizon. Richman learned early in his career to focus on end users, and he's made that Bosch's No. 1 priority in his first year as its president. "We've changed our focus," he says. "We've got to make direct contact with our customers to make a difference." Richman believes that combining superior engineering with an understanding of end users' needs will make Bosch the global leader he envisions.

To that end, Bosch has extended its reach to tool users through jobsite and toolstore-oriented demonstrations with its touring Big Blue trailers, and through its cadre of end user application specialists who visit contractors and tradesmen in local markets throughout the country.

But reaching people isn't Richman's only mission. He's driving Bosch to innovate tools that improve peoples' lives, creating something he calls total solutions. "If you believe new products are the lifeblood of a company, which I do, we have to show our commitment [to tool users] by bringing innovative new products to the market," he says. "This is our long-term commitment."

Richman's roots stem from the sales side; he started out calling on lumberyards and tool stores for Black & Decker 22 years ago. But his hands touch all aspects of product development, from chairing monthly program reviews to analyzing market research reports. Senior management goes through every new product on the table to decide which new tools will go forward to production.

And new tools alone don't complete Richman's vision. He's as intent on creating unparalleled service as he is on producing new products. "We want to blow people away with our tools and our service," he says. "That's how we'll become a global leader."