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2019 Top 10 30-Something: William K. Piotrowski

Top Ten 30 Somethings

Photo: William K. Piotrowski with his Top 10 30-Something award at ACC's 2019 Corporate Counsel University.

There’s a widely held notion that American manufacturing is a vestige of the past. In a world of low-cost manufacturers, companies must be nimble and creative to operate a successful manufacturing company in the Northeast United States. William K. Piotrowski has established himself as a proven leader not only in the legal profession, but as a business partner who brings innovative solutions to commercial challenges in a complex global manufacturing environment.

William PiotrowskiWhen Piotrowski was counsel at Barnes Group, a global aerospace and industrial manufacturer and service provider, he spearheaded a first-of-its-kind deal structure to sell original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-certified repair services for certain critical airplane engine components as one of a few licensed suppliers of General Electric (GE).

Piotrowski was instrumental in working with GE to develop commercial and contract structures that resolved the complexities of licensing OEM-certified repair services to a tiered supplier, including unique aspects related to equipment, intellectual property, repair development, technical publications, and the rights of Barnes Group and GE vis-a-vis engine overhaul shops and end customers.

Leveraging this deal structure, Barnes Group invested US$112 million between 2013 and 2015 in what would become known as “Component Repair Programs” for the CF6, CF34, and CFM56 engines, the latter of which is the best-selling engine in aviation history installed on the Boeing 737.

Piotrowski considers a global perspective to be critical in fostering American manufacturing growth in a global economy. He gives the following example, “it is not necessarily intuitive that in the competition between airframers Boeing and Airbus for the sale of single aisle aircraft, US companies — GE and Pratt & Whitney — supply the next generation of aero engines for the new Airbus single-aisle aircraft, thereby constituting a significant portion of the cost and content to the French airframe.”

Piotrowski became intimate with these international aero industry dynamics while supporting the sale of Pratt & Whitney’s revolutionary geared turbofan aero engine in the EMEA region and during commercial negotiations in cities such as Doha, Istanbul, London, Stockholm, and Barcelona.

Throughout his in-house career, he made it a priority to visit the manufacturing sites of companies that he has worked for both in the United States and abroad in cities like Tianjin, Suzhou, Shanghai, Mexico City, Konigstein, and Bettlach, to name a few. He believes that cultural respect and self-awareness goes a long way — a practice he carries beyond the negotiating table.

When asked if he prefers to delegate contract negotiations to outside counsel, Piotrowski was hesitant. More and more in-house counsel are in-sourcing work from external law firms not only because of cost, Piotrowski argues, but because in-house counsel prefer intellectually stimulating and challenging work. He knows he does.

Recently, Piotrowski accepted the position of associate general counsel and secretary at Lydall, Inc., a public company headquartered in Manchester, CT with global manufacturing operations producing specialty engineered products for the thermal/acoustical and filtration/separation markets. He brings a commercial excellence mindset to his new role and is intent on synergizing business and legal processes.

“The reason a contract exists is to protect the business case, so it is important to negotiate the best possible deal for the company and a contract that reflects and protects that deal.” The various functions of the organization — operations, finance, supply chain, sales, and legal — must work together as part of one unified and continuous workflow with the contract often acting as the connective tissue. In that way, he views the commercial contract process as a tool to propel business growth.

With each innovative approach in a diverse and complex industry, Piotrowski is greatly contributing to the future of American manufacturing.

More 2019 Top 10 30-Somethings

Fernanda Beraldi

Brian Buckham

Thomas Cluderay

Lewis Dolezal

April A. Goff

Sadeq M. Kahn

Melissa Reiter

Alana C. St. Aude

Erin K. Stewart

About the Author

Joshua H. Shields is the managing editor of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

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