Ben Frye’s career was once headed in a completely different direction. Enrolled in the pre-law program at Auburn University, Frye was entrenched in his political science studies and preparing to apply for law school when life threw him a curveball.

A chance meeting with his then girlfriend’s father, Roger Torri, president and founder of Manufactured Duct & Supply (MDS), changed everything.

“We talked about the success he had achieved in the industry and the successful careers of the sales reps working for MDS,” Frye said. “Prior to graduation, Roger offered me a position to start immediately after I finished at Auburn. A couple of weeks after graduation, I started my career with MDS.”

Frye, who is now 33 years old, started as a counter sales/inside sales associate, where he learned the importance of delivering a higher level of customer service to the field-level HVACR contractors and subcontractors.

“Most of the guys aren’t shy about telling you about the mistakes the competition has made, and I would always take note of those complaints,” Frye said. “I realized the field-level guy has a tough enough job installing, managing, and completing a project, and it was my job to make sure that acquiring the material for their projects was seamless.”

From 2010 to 2016, Frye served as an account manager, filling the shoes of a sales rep who recently retired.

“When I found out he was leaving, I immediately asked for the opportunity to fill his position,” Frye said. “I took over the management of some of his accounts, but business development and opening new accounts was my main focus.”

Helping companies navigate the fallout of the Great Recession proved to be a challenging task.

“I knocked on a lot of doors, and I was turned down a lot,” Frye said. “I learned that persistence was the key to building new business. I visited my first new account 14 times attempting to get an audience with the owner before he finally sat down with me so I would quit coming by. That contractor is now one of my most loyal customers and the owner is actually a good friend now. I also learned the value in building real friendships with customers you enjoy working with. It’s fun — and often quite a bit easier — doing business with your friends.”

In 2016, Frye was promoted to director of sales, a position he holds to this day.

“At the beginning of 2017, we implemented an array of procedural changes and incentives,” he said. “We established metrics to measure growth and success in areas we had not previously monitored. I, along with the rest of the management team, noticed a spike in enthusiasm and morale. We finished 2017 with strong growth and ended up having our best year since the Great Recession.”

Regardless of your experience or age, unbridled passion and hard work are the keys to achieving your goals, said Frye.

“If you work hard, produce results, and truly care about what you do, your colleagues are going to respect you,” he said. “It’s like playing on a football team — everybody knows who’s giving their all, every down, because they’re the ones making the plays. Those are the guys everybody respects. And, in general, if you show respect to people, most will reciprocate.”

When not concentrating on his contracting customers, Frye can be found brewing beer, hunting deer, and following politics. He also cherishes the time he gets to spend with his wife, Jessica, and children, Abram and Adeline.

Every Wednesday, Distribution Trends magazine will feature a full profile on one of its 2018 Top 40 Under 40 winners. To see the list in its entirety, visit To see each of the full Top 40 features, visit