If this were baseball, they might call it a blockbuster trade: the US operations of Martin Professional, the Danish lighting manufacturer, have acquired--and lost--several big names in the industry. And the company has opened a university to boot.
First up to bat is Harvey Hazelwood, who has been named the new president and CEO of the Martin USA headquarters in Hollywood, FL. A former consultant with High End Systems, he has extensive background in engineering, manufacturing, and finance, including a stint with NASA. He replaces former CEO and financial officer Bent Thorsted.
Another new face is Woody Smith, who has been named chief operating officer. Likewise a veteran of the lighting industry, Smith's background includes stints as general manager of Coemar US and director of R&D with High End Systems. He replaces Carsten Ladefoged, who had left the company earlier in the year.
A couple of high-profile Martin veterans have left the company. Marcel Fairbairn, who had spent six years as director of sales with the company, first with Tracoman, its former US distributor, and then with Martin after the company initiated its own US operations, has left Martin to join High End as its director of new market development. Also gone is Randy Wade, former Southwestern regional sales manager in Martin's Dallas office. He has joined the Magnum Companies Ltd., an Atlanta-based lighting and production shop, as director of entertainment sales and operations.
Those changes have also meant that some familiar faces have moved up at Martin: Eric Loader, former Western regional sales manager, had been named the new managing director of sales. Previously based in Sun Valley, CA, Loader is moving east to Florida to take the position. Replacing him as branch manager in the Sun Valley office is Frank Montero. In addition, Jeff Dougherty has been named the new Southwestern regional sales manager, replacing Wade, and Andy Broitman, who left the company last year. Martin has closed its warehouse in Dallas; Dougherty will be based in the area as a satellite office and run the operations with support from Florida and California.
In an unrelated Martin move, The Martin Group has acquired 51% of the shares of Martin Italy srl, the former independent Martin distributor in the Italian market. Former Martin Italy srl owner Mario Radice owns the rest of the share capital; he has signed a joint-venture agreement with Martin in connection with the acquisition.
Meanwhile, the company is celebrating the opening of Martin University, the latest and most intensive concept in industry training. Martin University is geared to schooling Martin's international distributors in knowledge of Martin products. The first six-day course was held in June in Denmark at a theatre facility in Ebeltoft, near Martin's offices in Aarhus. The class consisted of 51 distributors from 19 countries, who took part in an extended schedule of lectures and hands-on demonstrations, along with discussions about sales and marketing strategies.
The sales strategy section was held with sales manager Torben Stein, sales director Kristian Bro, and managing director Peter Johansen. Delegates were required to complete a series of exams on the subjects covered before they could depart, diplomas in hand. Brush up, reps: Hazelwood says plans for an American edition will be announced soon.