January 14, 2021: It is with sadness that Batteries International has to announce that Randy Hanschu — known to almost two generations of US and international batterymen — died on January 3 in Kansas City.
Hanschu, who worked in the battery industry for 40 years, is probably best remembered as The Man From Daramic. For some 30 years he tirelessly crossed and recrossed North America as its sales rep, also representing the separator firm in South America and Europe.
Hanschu was brought up on a farm outside Ramona, Kansas where he attended church from an early age. He later was to attribute his ethos of hard work and practical faith to his early years.
In 1976 he joined General Battery Corporation as a quality control technician. Two years later he married a lady who was to be his wife for 42 years, Jo Malone.
In May 1987 General Battery Corporation was acquired by Exide Technologies, and the following year Hanschu left Exide to join WR Grace — which later was to become Daramic — in a sales position that would eventually become senior technical sales manager. Although formally retiring aged 66 in 2018, he continued to help the firm when needed, until recently.
Tucker Roe, Daramic vice president of sales for the Americas, recalls: “Randy and I joined WR Grace in 1988 as sales account managers. We shared so many adventures over the 30 years working together, both as a peer and as his supervisor.
“It was always a pleasure to travel with Randy as something entertaining was sure to happen along the way. I have never met or worked with anyone that was so dedicated to his customers and had their best interests at heart.
“Randy was one of the kindest individuals you could find and he will be long remembered in the battery community.”
Hal Hawk, owner of Crown Battery, said: “When you look at the job description for Supplier Rep, you need to go to Randy. He wrote it, he lived it. Customer First, always! Additionally, he was the only supplier rep that could sign in and immediately go to the plant floor, unescorted — the only one! That speaks volumes about him and the trust he earned. It wasn’t given, he earned it.
“On the employee relation side, he was first class — he treated all of staff like they were management, and we never saw him without a smile, never. At Daramic receptions, he was the face and gentlemen in front and behind all the planning, making sure everything and everyone was more than taken care of.
“He will be more than missed, never replaced, and most certainly never forgotten.”
Hawk’s VP for North American sales, Mike Fraley, said: “Randy was a great customer advocate and always acted in the best way for his customers. He made a point of getting to know the employees in our stacking department and would bring them Daramic swag every time he visited!
“I had the opportunity to visit Randy and Jo a few times and spend time with him. He was very proud of his grand-daughter, tractors, and more.
“Randy was a lot of fun and we could make fun of the number of speeding tickets he had as well as working though any issues that may have come up. He was a one of a kind customer advocate. He will be missed but never forgotten.”
Randy Hart, chief executive of Superior Battery, speaking as both a customer and a friend, said: “Randy was a person that you really enjoyed being around. He was our sales representative for many years and we had a good many visits together. He was a professional in his work but more than that you knew he was your friend.
“I always looked forward to his visits and I knew he valued our business, but even more our friendship.”
A family friend said: “Randy was always on the go — he had a hard time sitting and relaxing. He truly loved his family, friends, battery customers, gardening, small machine repairs, the Kansas City Chiefs, and John Deere tractors. He loved cooking, barbecuing, gardening, and tinkering in his shop. His granddaughter, Ryleigh, was the light of his eyes, they shared many work projects and dance performances.
A celebration of his life and was held on January 11.
He is survived by his wife Jo, his daughter Kacie and granddaughter, Ryleigh.