Wambua came to the US from Kenya to study business in 1990. At that time there was only one University in Kenya and he wanted to study abroad. Kansas was ideal as he had a 1st cousin living here and there was a faith based college that caught his attention. Wambua graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with a Business degree, working odd jobs days and nights to pay his way. Lucky for Harlan he worked for a woman named Margie and her husband Dr. Julius Kantor, neighbors of Joyce and Jim Kaplan, and soon worked with our family.
1st National Bank of Kansas was Wambua’s first job in the US, where he was a personal banker. In 2001 he attended DeVry University for computer network management. working from home Wambua sold parts for a New York based company selling after market parts in the Heavy Equipment Construction Industry. This job and his college studies made Wambua an ideal employee for Harlan and he joined us in 2014.
Wambua’s sales focus at Harlan has built up our business in Africa, where he has traveled to meet with customers and offer his personal style of selling. Wambua has traveled to Johannesburg, Cairo, Morocco, Lagos in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, and Uganda to visit customer and see their operations. Visiting customers for Wambua is the best way to build relationships and see the needs-up close and personal. This is his favorite part of the job, and with his natural readiness to please these customers and over the top service, his customers think of Harlan 1st when ordering parts. It doesn’t hurt to speak Swahili and understands the culture in these country, Wambua says it builds trust and it’s easier to build relationships.
So now Wambua is back working from home in these Covid times. He misses his colleagues and would love to be able to personally check on orders and parts, but still is able to connect with his customers and make his sales. He’s optimistic on the future of Harlan and he know we will recover when the airlines start flying more. He looks forward to the days when he can visit the customers again, he says the phone calls just don’t do the job.