Meet Eric Rusch, Milwaukee Director of Product Marketing

March 20th, 2023

Milwaukee Tool is legendary for good reason. Not only was the brand founded in 1924 and has led the industry in developing innovative tools and worksite solutions, they’re also obsessed with solving user frustrations. Paying attention to the small details that make a big difference is a significant reason why Milwaukee is used for everyday job use, weekend projects – and on the Rebelle by our expert mechanics who put their tools through our ultimate proving ground time and time again.

We were excited to sit down recently with Eric for a glimpse behind the scenes at Milwaukee Tool and really get to know what makes the brand tick from someone so close to their product lines. A big thank you to Eric for taking the time for our questions – and we had a lot! 

Milwaukee Tool began in 1924. Can you give us a little background into how it all started… and is it true automotive tycoon Henry Ford was involved?

From the beginning, Milwaukee Tool has always been dedicated to delivering innovative solutions for the professional trades. Founded in 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we have responded to the demands of skilled tradespeople and industrial customers by working closely with users on the ground to understand their frustrations. From HOLE-SHOOTER™ drills developed for Henry Ford, to right-angle drills in 1949, to the invention of the SAWZALL® reciprocating saw in 1951, Milwaukee’s reputation was built on the foundations of responsiveness and innovation to increase productivity and safety on the job. Since becoming the first manufacturer to use lithium-ion batteries in portable power tools, we have continued to develop this technology and lead the cordless power tool industry. We continue to remain dedicated to our foundational beliefs of delivering user-focused solutions and let our obsession with innovation propel us into the future.

Milwaukee has set itself apart from the competition in terms of both innovation and achievements with “disruptive innovation.” What are a few of significant achievements over the years that really stand out for the company?

One of our first significant achievements came when we patented our lithium-ion batteries, becoming the first company in the industry to integrate this technology in power tools. This helped us launch the development of our M18™ System, which truly exceeded expectations of the trades and furthered our excitement to invest in new technology. Additionally, we created a new space in the market with the introduction of our M12™ system which was a major step forward for us as it transformed manual tools into advanced battery-powered solutions, delivering users the power to outperform in the size required for tight spaces. The success of these two platforms have helped us expand them over the years, carrying into the development of our REDLITHIUM™ batteries and, later, the creation of our M12 and M18 FUEL™ products, all while remaining compatible within each system. Through a heavy investment in engineering, design and innovation, we have been able to continuously introduce intelligent and powerful solutions, delivering new breakthroughs to improve the lives of our users.

 Any hints on future products or plans?😊

Without sharing too much, I can say that we are just getting started in the continued development of our battery-powered tool technology. I believe we have the best engineers and industrial designers in the industry.  They continually take our ideas and make them a reality, leading to improved safety and productivity in the shop.  We will continue to deliver products compatible with the hundreds of tools on our M12™, M18™, and MX FUEL ™ battery systems, as well as our industry-leading modular storage system, PACKOUT ™. Our dedication to driving this innovation, combined with our commitment to revolutionizing users’ work processes, positions us to remain at the forefront of battery-powered tool technology.

Congratulations on being named one of the Top 100 “Best Places to Work” last year by Glassdoor.com! Any insight into why you believe Milwaukee Tool earned this title? 

Our obsession with solving user frustrations goes beyond one product or one person. At Milwaukee Tool, the bookends of our success are our People and our Culture. They are responsible for the disruptive innovation we continuously deliver. This perspective allows us to function as a collective team to remain agile, driven, and consistent, as we work to be creative and innovative in developing solutions for professionals. We operate in a work-hard, play-hard mindset which makes Milwaukee Tool an equally challenging, exciting and fun place to work!

Name three Milwaukee tools you just can’t live without.

  1. M12 FUEL™ 3/8″ High Speed Ratchet (2567)
  2. M18 FUEL™ 1/2″ Mid-Torque Impact Wrench w/ Friction Ring (2962) 
  3. M12™ Radio + Charger (2951-20)


Anytime I’m in the garage, I have the M12 FUEL™ 3/8″ High Speed Ratchet (2567) by my side as it is my go-to for making projects faster and easier. The M18 FUEL™ 1/2″ Mid-Torque Impact Wrench w/ Friction Ring (2962) is another product I rely on frequently to rotate my tires and, because I can’t work without music, the M12™ Radio + Charger (2951-20) is always playing my favorite classic rock or country music on repeat!

It appears that whether one is a tradesperson, professional, or weekend craftsman, when someone starts with a Milwaukee tool – a certain sense of brand loyalty proceeds. Can you tell us more? 

At Milwaukee Tool, we strive to disrupt the industry which
means we pay attention to the small details of an application that make a big difference. We understand that small differences in any process, big or small, can alter a user’s productivity, safety, and efficiency. By evaluating the job at hand, such as the frustrations, needs, and previous limitations our users face, we set out to completely rethink a solution and deliver the game-changing innovation across all our product lines. Within these developments, we have and will remain committed to maintaining system-wide compatibility on our M18 and M12 cordless systems, allowing users ultimate versatility at any stage of the work process.

TOOL HIGHLIGHT: Our Lead Mechanic Nick Cimmarusti stated the 3/8 drive electric ratchet never leaves his hand when he’s working, and stated this particular tool halves the time that he spends on the repair. Can you tell us more about it?

Working alongside mechanics like Nick, our team witnessed firsthand the compromise between power and portability many users faced. Whether they were automotive mechanics, repair technicians, or maintenance workers, it was clear that the current solutions were limiting users’ productivity. Working with these frustrations, we introduced the M12™ FUEL™ 3/8″ Ratchet to revolutionize the market, delivering both the maximum performance and portability required by the professional. Featuring a low-profile head for more access in tight spaces as well as up to 55ft-lbs of max torque, this ratchet was the first cordless solution to eliminate the frustrations and limitations of pneumatic solutions.

Lastly, any words of wisdom for future Rebelle competitors?

Similar to our One Team mentality at Milwaukee Tool, Rebelle competitors must be able to approach problems collaboratively as a team, providing innovative and creative solutions in order to drive success. Relying on a team-focused perspective, as well as the speed and urgency in your determination to be the best, embrace the challenge of your task ahead and work together to push past the barriers to reach the finish line.

Favorite road trip?

My favorite road trip is one that I take every July 4th weekend. Each year, my family and I travel to northern Wisconsin with a group of friends to enjoy some sun, sand bars, boating and partaking in the common holiday festivities. On our trip, you’ll often find us with the windows down and the music blaring while enjoying the beautiful scenery that the countryside provides!