You're gonna laugh when I tell you this, but my first experience with tools was selling them – out of a van – on job sites," says Chris Dutra, vice president of U.S. sales for Bostitch and Stanley. "I immediately connected with the guys who used the tools to make their living, and maybe the most important conversation I had in those days revolved around a core frustration. The guys grilled me: 'When they made this tool why didn't they do this or add that?' I swore that if I got into product development I would make tools that answered these guys."

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Chris Dutra

Credit: Photo: Eric Foley Photography

Dutra got his chance at Bostitch, working first in channel marketing and then in product development before landing in business development. Eventually he moved to a competitor, where he essentially reinvented the entire pneumatics industry. The innovative product and manufacturing strategies he implemented generated a bevy of feature-rich, affordable products and put more nailers in more hands than ever before. The pneumatic fastening industry has been playing catch-up ever since.

Ultimately, Dutra returned to his roots at Bostitch, re-energizing the brand's leadership and commitment to innovation. And with his additional leadership role at Stanley Hand Tools, he's expanding his focus to power up an even broader spectrum of tools and products – and, in the process, answer those tool-users' questions he's kept in mind all these years. That Rhode Island kid selling tools out of his van is making good on a longtime promise after all.

– Mark Clement