RSI Team Spotlight: Bobby Putnam, Senior Project Manager


March 10, 2020

For this RSI Team Spotlight, we’re showcasing Bobby Putnam, one of our senior project managers. Bobby comes from a multi-generational family of kitchen fabricators with decades of experience working for industry leaders and running his own fabrication shop before joining our team.

“Bobby is one of the most loyal and professional men I have ever known. He is highly organized and a master at dealing with all types of customers in a “win-win” manner.”

Steve Turknett, RSI CEO

Bobby spends the majority of his time overseeing RSI’s long-lasting IHOP relationship, working with franchisees across the country. In addition to that, he spends time fielding new business calls, mentoring new team members, and drafting when the design team needs supplemental help.

How Long Have You Been With RSI?

Just about 13 years now and I’ve known some of the guys here for closer to 30.

What Was Your Background Before RSI?

Well, I’ve been designing and drafting for basically my entire life. I remember designing racecars with my dad when I was a young kid. He got involved in kitchen design & fabrication back in the 50s, so when it came time to enter the workforce, my brother and I followed him into it.

Just like Steve Hudson, I worked for the “Godfather of Stainless” and got to design kitchens for seven different concepts within the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

What’s Kept You In The Industry For So Long?

The answer to that has two parts. First, I still love drawing and designing. Since I was a kid, it’s been a passion of mine, and I’m still happiest when I’m designing. Second, it’s the people. I love the way RSI does business and the people I get to work with. They’ve been in my life for three decades at this point.

What Is The Day-To-Day Of A Senior Project Manager?

I spend a lot of time communicating directly with clients, building out contracts, and growing relationships. I handle our IHOP account, which means I’m speaking to franchisees, corporate-side folks, and architects for new stores all the time. In fact, I’ll be at a conference soon and will get to meet some people I’ve been talking to on the phone for 10+ years but have never met in person.

When I’m not doing that, I’m supporting the design team when they need extra help and mentoring new hires. There are a lot of us who have been at RSI for a long time, and it’s up to us to train the next generation so the company can live on after we retire.

What Sets RSI Apart From Other Companies In The Industry?

Having a personality. Giving people a real person to talk to who can answer questions and get things done. We have a relationship-focused team and we still operate like a good ol’ boy business, where handshakes are promises.

I’ve been at places where, as an employee, you’re just a number on a sheet. RSI is the exact opposite of that.

What Do You Enjoy Most About Working At RSI?

I enjoy my team and I enjoy doing what I love. More than that, I really appreciate that I still get challenged to grow after all these years. RSI trusts guys to learn new skills and grow in new roles. The best way to say it is this: this is where I want to retire.

What Projects Are You Most Proud Of?

At RSI, it’s IHOP. It’s such a critical account for us, so I like the pressure of proving our value to each new franchisee. I realized a while ago that I’m more interested in serving chain accounts than one-off design projects, and IHOP lets me press into that interest every day.

How Would You Describe Company Culture at RSI?

Like I said, it’s still all about handshakes and keeping our word. So many other places, the places where you have to have a badge to swipe in and you just keep your head down and work, they aren’t reliable and people don’t like working there. 

Here, we get to build relationships, we have the support of ownership, and my coworkers have become my friends.

What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside Of Work?

Riding Harleys with my fiancée. I read Ride Texas Magazine, and the job their writers have of driving around Texas and writing about the trip; that’s my dream job if I was doing anything else.

Beyond that, I love spending time with my kids and my grandchild. No matter what we’re doing together, it’s where I want to be. 

We’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Bobby for sitting down with us for this spotlight interview. His passion for building relationships shines through with our clients, which is precisely why IHOP requested that he attend their conference this year. They just had to meet the team member responsible for keeping their projects moving forward. We’ll be back soon with our next RSI Team Member Spotlight.