Meet the Trouble-Shooters of Olin Brass Technical Services

Over the years they have been known by several different names, including technical assistance, product engineering, and marketing engineering.

They have been part of sales, marketing, and now manufacturing. And while they ostensibly work for Mill Products and Bryan Metals, they routinely provide support to Fineweld Tube, Somers Thin Strip, Fabricated Products, and A. J. Oster.

But one thing that has always been abundantly clear about the Technical Services team is the immeasurable value they it brings to Olin Brass customers.

“Our job description is to serve as a liaison between Olin Brass manufacturing operations and our customers,” says Technical Services Manager Aaron Barklage. “So we have one foot on the mill floor and one foot on the customer’s floor, and act as the ‘voice of the customer’ when problems arise.”

That calls for the TSEs (Technical Services Engineers) to work closely with the quality engineers on the customer side and the production and process engineers on the Olin Brass side to ensure that customer requirements are fully understood and problems corrected promptly. As troubleshooters, they must also be ready to think and act independently, since the problems they deal with are seldom “routine.”

“Rarely is there a typical day,” Aaron Barklage points out said. “Routine work is limited to things like evaluating a new customer inquiry or a returned sample, but the focus can shift very quickly. It’s not unusual for a TSE to arrive at work expecting a routine day, and by noon you’re flying out to troubleshoot a problem at a customer’s facility across the country. It just goes with territory.”

If that kind of challenge sounds daunting, it also illustrates the appeal of the job to the professionals who excel in at taking it on. “The autonomy of the job is very rewarding,” says said veteran TSE Dave Brueckner. “It shows the kind of trust and confidence management places in our judgment. I think that’s one reason people stay for so long.”

His point is well taken. Together, the six members of the current Technical Services team boasts well over a century of hands-on experience in metallurgical engineering and related fields. Here is a quick synopsis of the team:

Olin Brass Technical Services Team - Back row left to right: Dave Kirsch, Aaron Barklage, Dave Brueckner Front row left to right: Dennis Mueller, Randy Birkenmeier, Ashley Stroup  


Aaron Barklage, Manager (pictured back row middle) – A Metallurgical Engineer with a B.S. degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology (MO S&T), Aaron joined Olin Brass in his current position after a 12-year career with Caterpillar, Foroni Metals, and Briem Engineering.

Dennis Mueller, TSE (pictured front row left) An Olin Brass “lifer” who spent nearly 35 years in outside sales before joining the Technical Services team four years ago, Dennis handles the U.S. Mint and several key international accounts.

Dave Brueckner, TSE (pictured back row right)– A 35-year veteran of Olin Brass, Dave has spent over 30 years in Technical Services and currently functions as the department’s automotive account specialist, personally handling Delphi, Sumitomo, and Matsuo, among others.

Dave Kirsch, TSE  (pictured back row left) – Dave joined Olin Brass at the now-closed Indianapolis facility after earning his B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue. He worked as a casting process engineer, strip mill process engineer, and spectrometer lab supervisor before being namedbecoming a TSE 11 years ago. Today he primarily focuses on Aammunition and distribution accounts are his primary focus today.

Randy Birkenmeier, TSE (pictured front row middle)– The latest addition to our TSE team, Randy is a Biomedical Engineer who earned his degree from Case Western Reserve University and joined Olin Brass in 2013. He works regularly with A.J. Oster locations in Carol Stream, IL and Yorba Linda, CA, as well as our the Olin Brass Fabricated Products business unit.

Ashley Stroup, Administrative Assistant (pictured front row right) – Ashley has been with Olin Brass for about 12 years and currently splits her time between MRL (the Materials Research Laboratory) and Technical Services.  Her Technical Services role entails managing RMAs/RGRs, and, customer specificationss, and handling many of the departmental reports.

A subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper Holdings, Inc., Olin Brass is a world leader in its own right, one of the oldest, most innovative and diverse producers of copper alloys and products in the world. With six domestic operating units and an international group serving Asia and the Pacific Rim, the organization is poised to maintain and expand its presence in copper markets worldwide.  For more information, please visit