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Company Spotlight:
Wise El Santo


Wise El Santo has a long and winding history, today it is the parent company to nine safety and environmental distributor locations but in the early 1900’s it was one of many cigar shops located along the St. Louis riverfront.

The Wise family, including Rudolph Wise, Sr. moved from Salina, Kansas to St. Louis to set up shop in downtown St. Louis to sell their brand of hand-rolled Wise El Santo cigars. At the time St. Louis was the cigar making capital of the United States. The cigars were sold on consignment wherever men gathered - taverns, hardware stores and grocery stores. In the 1930’s Wise El Santo continued to sell this way, but expanded into selling men’s hosiery and soon after gloves.

World War II brought women into the manufacturing workforce, which meant an increased need for gloves. Rudolph Wise Jr. served in World War II and when he returned he made a sales call to an automotive plant- General Motors. He walked out with an order for 100 dozen gloves as soon as possible and 10-20 dozen a week after that. That day he sold more gloves in one order than he had previously sold the entire month. After that Wise El Santo focused heavily on selling into industrial manufacturing plants.

Wise El Santo became incorporated in 1967. In the 1970’s OSHA began publishing safety regulations. As a result Wise El Santo began increasing distribution of protective clothing, respiratory, hearing and head protection. During that time, between the 1960’s and 1980’s, Wise El Santo was the major supplier of gloves and safety equipment in the Midwest. Expansion soon followed.

In 1971 Wise El Santo moved from downtown St. Louis to Baur Boulevard. Just over 10 years later, in 1982 they moved to their current address on Linpage Place. At the time the building was 27,000 square feet. The west addition, which added 10,000 square feet was added in 1990. Two years later, in 1992, an additional 11,000 square feet was added on the east side. Wise El Santo’s warehouse currently stands as the biggest of ten locations, at 38,000 square feet.

Between in the 1980’s and 2000 Wise El Santo continued to expand. In 1984 it bought controlling interest in Reis Equipment Company. In 1997 it opened a branch in Little Rock, Arkansas and in 2000 one in Methuen, Massachusetts.

Today it is the parent company of the nine additional locations across the United States and gloves account for about 40% of it’s business.

To learn more about the individuals that make up the Wise El Santo St. Louis location continue below!

 

 

IIndividual Bios:

Ed Nations
Vice President
With Wise Safety & Environmental since August 1975

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John Kuntz
Vice President of Sales
With Wise Safety & Environmental since January 1974

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Sandy Maas
Vice President of Administration
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1973

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I started at Wise El Santo in September 1973. I did a little of everything - answered the telephone, customer service, filing, typed orders and invoices (we had no computers) and even helped in the warehouse. My position now is the Vice President of Administration. I've always enjoyed working at Wise El Santo and look forward to many more years. (I doubt I will make it another 40).

My husband and I enjoy watching all sports. We especially like going to Busch Stadium to cheer on our St. Louis Cardinals. We like to go camping with friends to enjoy the nature and wildlife around us.

Eddie Dodt
Vice President of Operations
With Wise Safety & Environmental since June 1973

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Eliot Kahn
Product Manager
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1983

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  • Eliot is a lifelong resident of the Metro St. louis area.
  • Husband of 29 years to his beautiful wife Sherry (my better half)
  • Proud father of 2 wonderful teenagers Kailyn 16, Dakota 17 (Go Wolves)   
  • An active Committee Member Leader of Boy Scout Troop 858
  • When Eliot’s not at the office he enjoys Camping with his family, Back Packing, Rock climbing & Repelling, Cycling the Kati Trail, Fishing &he’s a Fish Fry Aficionado, just to name a few
  • Favorite Quote: “I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”

Chris Frame
Purchasing Administrator
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1999

chrisframe

  • Lifelong resident of Belleville, Illinois
  • Chris was married 18 yrs until losing her husband Steve to Cancer.
  • Proud Mother to her 2 cuddly Shih-Tzu’s Bentley & Winston
  • During Chris’s free time you may see her on her Harley Fatboy 1450 riding the Great River Road, at a Meat Shoot, Jeeping with friends, & just relaxing at her Pool

Barbara Barr
Accounts Receivable
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1997

barbb

  • Barbara has worked at Wise El Santo for 16 years. She handles accounts receivable.
  • She was born and raised in St. Louis. She spent 5 years in the US Air Force and was stationed in Japan for 3 years. She would love to go back there.
  • She has been married to her husband Michael for 11 years. They were introduced by a schizophrenic on April Fool's Day. She has a daughter, 2 sons and 3 step-daughters. They are all married and have been reproducing at an alarming rate. She has 18 grandchildren so far, ranging in age from 11 years to 5 months.
  • She enjoys doing genealogy and volunteers as a Family History Consultant with her church.

Esther Headrick
Accounting
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1976

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  • Esther has been employed with Wise El Santo since December 1976
  • She has been married for nearly 41 years and has one daughter and two wonderful grandchildren
  • She enjoys walking and spending time with her family

Barb Greensage
Accounting
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2002

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Heather Scharer
Accounts Payable
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2005

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Sandy Foskett
Accounting
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 20..

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  • I have worked in the accounting department for Wise since 2010.  I enjoy spending time with my family in my free time.

 

Warehouse Staff

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  • Jeff Chandler  - With Wise Safety & Environmental since June 1992
  • Dan Cobillas  - With Wise Safety & Environmental since  August 1999
  • Al Degreeff    - With Wise Safety & Environmental since December 1977
  • Mike Martin   - With Wise Safety & Environmental since  February 1982
  • Don Rechtiene - With Wise Safety & Environmental since June 1977

 

 

Branch Photos

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The Staff of Wise El Santo St. Louis

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11022 Linpage as it stands today

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L: Rudolph Wise Jr while serving in WW II, R: Rudolph Wise Jr in the late 1960's

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Mr. Rudolph Wise Jr., in 2008

 

 
Individual Bios:

Cathy Stephens
Inside Sales/Customer Service
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1991

cathy

  • I have been with Wise since September 1991 and enjoy my job very much.   I like working with customers to satisfy their needs.  It’s all about the “how about this” at the end of every call.  I have learned a lot about safety here at Wise  and look forward to learning more each day.
  • I have 3 children and two grandchildren.   I met my husband here at Wise.    I am looking forward to the “empty nest” and becoming a snow bird.
  • I am born and raised in St Louis, and am always interested to find out how people migrated to certain areas, especially at the lake.  
  • I enjoy sewing, quilting and yard work.  I spend most weekends at the lake, with my family.  I have a very large family.  Between my husband & myself,  we number  about 60 family members, which is a lot of fun at get togethers

Jennifer Taylor
Inside Sales/Customer Service
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2000

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  • I have been with Wise for 13 years
  • My husband Mike and I live in the country (IL). We have a VERY energetic 2 year old, Justin - in just two short years, Justin has taught us what life is about. We also have three dogs: Jack, Holly and Zoey. Never a dull moment!
  • My favorite things are shopping, baking, making things pretty, pinning (pinterest), coffee on my front porch on cool mornings and being a mom!

Catherine Fea
Inside Sales/Customer Service
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2009

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  • For twenty years I have worked in sales and customer serivce, including four years at Wise El Santo.
  • I am married and have two sons, and two grandsons.
  • I enjoy serving in church, kayaking and crocheting.

Brad Rickerson
Inside Sales/Customer Service
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2008

br

  • Been with Wise since March 2008
  • Like to fish, golf, and being at the Lake of the Ozarks
  • Enjoy spending time with friends and family grilling and barbequing

Roy Koester
Outside Sales
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1997

roy

  • I have been in the safety business for 20 years, 16 years with Wise Safety.
  • I am very lucky to be married to my best friend Karen. She helps me chase around our 7, soon to be 8 grandchildren.
  • I am a native of St. Louis and enjoy our local sports teams. To say I am an avid golfer would be an understatement and I am thrilled to see several of our grandchildren already showing tremendous interest in the sport.
  • I enjoy working with my fellow employees and our vendors to help provide our customers a safe workplace.

 

Dan Fischer
Outside Sales
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2001

dan

  • I have been in sales and management for 42 years. My first 22 years with two specialty chemical manufacturers, the next 8 years with a well known distributor of towels, tissue and chemicals in St. Louis and these last 12 years with Wise Safety & Environmental.
  • I have been married to Marsha for 43 years, we have 3 grown children and 4 beautiful granddaughters. We enjoy watching them growing up, attending school and participating in many school and sporting events..

John Moellenhoff
Outside Sales
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 1998

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  • I have worked at Wise Safety & Environmental (Wise El Santo, Inc. and Reis Environmental) for a total of 15 years with the past seven and a half years at the Wise El Santo Co., Inc headquarters in St. Louis, MO. I truly enjoy working in the EH&S market and find satisfaction that at the end of the day, what we do really does help save lives or prevent serious injury to people working in the industrial, environmental, HazMat, construction, etc… industries. I’m proud of the fact that we promote and sell quality product lines and provide services that many, many of our competitors do not. I also enjoy the fact that my colleagues are very knowledgeable about what we sell and when necessary, we are able to provide teamwork for our customers to help them resolve even the most difficult applications.

  • I enjoy spending time with my family along with hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. I enjoy playing golf though I am admittedly terrible at it.

Lisa Lesinski
Receptionist
With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2003

lisa

  • I have called Wise El Santo home for 10 1/2 years now. I started in customer service, but now I am the receptionist at the world headquarters of Wise Safety & Environmental.
  • I am currently engaged to the love of my life, Mark. I have a wonderful stepson Bryan and 2 great dogs.
  • In my spare time I am secretary of the St. Anne Sodality Church Ladies group. I enjoy my faith in Christ, love to garden both flowers and vegetable. I also like camping in the summertime.

    Chris Mohr
    IT
    With Wise Safety & Environmental since 2007

    99

    • I have been consulting and doing networking since 1991
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