May '19

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rv-pro.com May 2019 • RV PRO • 15 Bob Martin: 'The Big Yankee' Earns Thor CEO Post Like Don Clark, Bob Martin remembers his interview for a sales trainee position at Coachmen Industries in the summer of 1993 was "a very rigorous process," lasting more than a week. Martin, who had graduated from Purdue University the pre- vious spring, had no traditional work experience. Once hired, Martin did everything from driving the tour bus, running errands, buying food for sales staff at trade shows to setting up and tearing down for those shows. He remembers on cold, snowy days the trainees were assigned to go out and inspect odometer readings on finished motorized units that were parked out in the snow – a task he likened to pledging a fraternity. Nevertheless, as a trainee, "I learned everything from a pop-up to a diesel motorhome. It was a well-rounded experience. From Ron and Don up to Mike Terlep and Tom Corson – they taught you to do business the right way. They had a great training pro- gram how to sell, interact with dealers and do business the right way with honesty and integrity. There even was a mantra on our computers: 'Our word is our bond.' It was a great place to learn." Martin became a district manager and was assigned to several states in the Southwest, including Texas where dealers called him "The Big Yankee." Martin became one of Don Clark's better salesmen. In 1998, Martin was going to take a job at Forest River and called his mentor, Ron Fenech, for advice. Fenech had left Coachmen six months earlier to join his brother at start-up Key- stone RV. "Well, if you're leaving Coachmen, I consider you fair game," he said, and Fenech offered Martin a job at Keystone. Martin joined Keystone as part of the original Montana and Cougar sales group. Another member of that early team was Chris Hermon, who would eventually become president of Heartland RV. Others on those early teams that would excel and go onto presidencies included Aram Koltookian, who is now president of KZ, and Jeff Runels, president of Keystone. At Keystone, Martin became national sales manager for the Cougar brand and his leadership skills flourished. He later served as chief operating officer before succeeding Ron Fenech as president of Keystone when Fenech took over the newly created position of RV president of Thor Industries. Martin calls his Keystone experience, "an amazing ride. Every year we doubled our sales. It was like a rocket ship. This small • New Revolutionary Deadbolt System = More Security & Longer Battery Life • Key Alike Ready • New Design With Full Size Handle For Easy Grip • Uses Same Cut Out As Standard Travel Trailer Locks(No Cutting) Ultra E PRO For More Information Call 888-400-3044 Or Visit www.cpgbrands.com From Global Link Distributing Lighted LED Keypad Interior Safety Release For Emergency Exit STOP ROCKEY WITH THE NEW

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