From marketing guru to selling the Potain brand, Manitowoc’s Amy Marten is shattering the proverbial glass ceiling.
Amy Marten is a power player at Manitowoc Cranes. For the past seven years, whenever something big happened at Manitowoc in North America, she generally had something to do with it – whether planning the entire event or orchestrating the many nuances and special touches.Amy Marten, Regional Business Manager, Potain Tower Cranes
Through the years editing American Cranes & Transport, I’ve traveled to Manitowoc, WI and Shady Grove, PA many times. In the spring of 2014, I journeyed up to the Wisconsin facility to learn about the impending launch of the MLC300 and MLC650 crawler cranes.
Arriving at the plant that morning, I was ushered into the marketing department where Marten was a newbie, navigating her first couple of weeks in her new job as a marketing specialist.
Marten told me she “kicked off” her career early, while still in college. She landed internships at the Wisconsin Lottery and The Sportsman Channel. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she spent a year as an account manager for national accounts that purchased advertising for CBS.
“I was exploring all kinds of industries trying to find my passion until I found my home at Manitowoc,” she said. “My marketing career was so beneficial because I was able to work on a variety of initiatives.”
She led new product marketing campaigns, commercialization launches, developed public relations campaigns and planned tradeshows and customer events.
Passionate about cranes
In November, she moved to the sales team as a regional business manager for Potain tower cranes, covering the territory from Wisconsin to the West Coast. In the sales role, she works directly with the Potain dealer network on self-erecting tower cranes and sells directly to end-users for Manitowoc’s top-slewing tower cranes.
Did she ever envision herself in the crane business? Not at all.
“I did not have a background in construction, so this path was unexpected,” she said. “Being new to the industry, I knew I had a lot to learn and was ready to absorb as much information as I could.”
Very swiftly she realized this was a company and an industry she would grow to love.
“I went very quickly from not understanding the industry to being very passionate about it – essentially, I got hooked.”Marten has transitioned from the marketing department to selling Potain tower cranes.
Marten has seen a lot of change in her seven years at Manitowoc. When she went to work for Manitowoc in 2014, Glen Tellock was president and CEO. Less than a year later, Barry Pennypacker was named CEO. Manitowoc Cranes became a stand-alone company by a spin-off of its foodservice group in 2016. During her tenure, Manitowoc consolidated its manufacturing to Shady Grove, PA and transitioned to the leadership of Aaron Ravenscroft, who replaced Pennypacker as president and CEO in 2020. And most recently, she has helped the company weather the storm of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Marten is a smart, ambitious and engaging young woman. For the past year, in addition to working full time, she has been working on her MBA, which she will achieve this spring. She is always studying and always absorbing the wisdom of those around her. And she is not daunted by being a woman in a mostly male industry.
She said the Manitowoc team understands the disparity of women in the industry and the people she works with “demand equal treatment of work, not special treatment.”
With her new job selling the Potain brand, Marten has a distinct advantage. I think you will be very interested in her answers to our questions.
What has been your biggest job challenge at Manitowoc?
My largest job challenge was leading our booth display and activities for the ConExpo tradeshow. When I first led our booth display for the 2017 show, I was very excited and nervous. The variety of challenges associated with the show from logistics, branding, new product launches, budgeting, staff preparation and coordinating set-up and tear-down hold high accountability. Working on this tradeshow offered me the opportunity to create relationships and build a strong team that works together to create a successful event. I took on the challenge again for the 2020 ConExpo tradeshow. It was refreshing being able to take my best practices and lessons learned from 2017 to continue our success. I really enjoyed the challenges of planning this tradeshow and the opportunities that managing the show gave me to strengthen my project management skills.Marten credits Ion Warner (left) and Chris Bratthauar (right) as career mentors throughout her time at Manitowoc.
What keeps you engaged in the crane industry?
Very early in my career, I was meeting with two customers and we were talking about some of their upcoming purchases. They explained to me how buying equipment is so much more than acquiring an asset. They are purchasing a crane that will make their company profitable and that makes their operator and entire team proud to go to work every day. That conversation just hit me!
Ever since that meeting I have been impressed with our industry. I have met so many people who inspire me to grow professionally and to represent Manitowoc proudly. The construction industry is top notch and consumed with individuals who are passionate about what they do. I think about that conversation often when customers come to me with questions; I put myself in their position and what would I expect. Customer satisfaction is what engages me to continue to educate myself to be a resource for them and always deliver cranes they will be proud to have on a jobsite.
Women are quite the minority in the crane industry. Is there more of a challenge for women in this industry?
Working in an industry that women are a minority can be challenging, but I think the biggest advantage is that our industry is aware of this situation. Women are a minority in the construction industry at all levels of construction, manufacturers and trades – but with that brings a very strong support system. Within our industry both men and women acknowledge that women are a minority but deserve the same type of standards and promotion as anyone in the industry. I am surrounded by a strong team of supporters both internally and externally with my company that demand equal treatment of work, not special treatment.
What made you decide to take the leap from marketing to sales?
Within my marketing role I worked very closely with our dealer network to execute their marketing goals and incentives, which if done well, should lead to sales. In 2018, I led the “Potain. Build Better.” campaign promoting self-erecting tower cranes within the United States. Starting that campaign is where I found my passion for the tower crane market and the industries they serve. This career move builds on my past experiences and now I get to take it a step further. In my sales role, I work directly with dealers on their business development and business plans. Having a background in project management and marketing will help our dealers grow and continue to be successful.
Are there synergies between your old job and your new job? Do you think you have an advantage having worked on the marketing side?
Yes, I believe my marketing background will be an advantage in my sales role. Sales and marketing are closely integrated. In my marketing role, I have developed different integrated marketing campaigns – so I have a lot of data and best practices for what works. This background will help me promote Potain and further educate the marketplace on their advantages. In my new role I can take my marketing background to the next level because I have a new perspective and ability to apply it.
I enjoyed my progression from marketing to sales. My various marketing roles offered me the opportunity to learn our product commercialization processes of our cranes. This process helped me create relationships with many different cross-functional teams within our company. Those relationships will help me move quicker to get answers and results in my new sales role. Also, in my marketing role I focused on all our Manitowoc product lines. This helped me learn about many different industries we serve and many different customer segments – which ultimately led to my interest in Potain.
How do you characterize the Potain business?
The Potain business is a very versatile and diverse product line within our Manitowoc product portfolio. The Potain product lineup ranges from self-erecting tower cranes to top-slewing (topless, hammerhead and luffing jib) towers. This large portfolio opens a wide range of industries we serve and delivers solutions for our customers. Our self-erecting tower cranes are sold through our national dealer network, whereas our top-slewing cranes are sold direct to end-users. For both crane types, Potain offers one of the strongest support teams in the industry for our customers. When customers work with Potain they have access to design application engineers, assistance when commissioning cranes, technical support from certified technicians and parts distribution centers localized in the U.S. We truly are structured to best serve our customers. That is something I am very proud of.
Do you have a professional mentor?
I have been very fortunate to have a strong network of people who help me grow in my career. Being very focused on growing professionally, I always work to surround myself with people to push me and inspire me to work to the best of my ability.
Some of my strongest professional mentors are within the Manitowoc company. Starting my career focusing on crawler cranes, I was introduced to some very influential members of our company and business who are very passionate about our products. This crew taught me the importance of listening to our customers and always learning from them. From the marketing side of the business, Ion Warner and Chris Bratthauar have taught me an immense amount about marketing strategy, performance, metrics and how to enjoy my career along the way. As my manager of seven years, Ion Warner has proved to be a great mentor, leader, educator and taught me to always accept challenges. He endorsed me to pursue my MBA and to never stop growing professionally.
What is it that intrigues you about the tower crane product line?
The tower crane product line is intriguing to me because of the range of industries and customer bases it serves. When looking at top-slewing tower cranes, there are so many opportunities to benefit job
sites because of their versatility. Starting out my marketing career at Manitowoc focusing on crawler cranes, I see a lot of similarities with how crawler cranes can be configured with different boom or counterweight configurations to win more jobs and offer customers to efficiently build fleets with common components that can be used on various models. Our top-slewing tower cranes are the same. Potain offers common mast sections and anchor stools/cross-base/chassis systems to optimize fleet utilization and increase opportunity to win jobs.
For self-erecting tower cranes, the change in the U.S. market is very exciting. Contractors are changing the way they build – more prefabricated components and strict standards on build lead times. Self-erecting tower cranes offer the opportunity to always have a crane on the jobsite ready to unload trucks and build. The operator of the crane often works from a wireless remote control, allowing them to work side-by-side with their team and utilize any downtime by helping the crew. These efficiencies are being recognized by general contractors and the opportunity for general contractors to utilize a crane to benefit subcontractors on the job drives efficiency, cost and time savings. Keep your eyes on the skyline for red Potain self-erecting tower cranes, because they are building the next generation of jobsites.
What do you do when you are not working?
This spring I will be finishing my MBA in project management, and I am looking forward to some free time that does not include class or homework assignments. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, gardening, brewing beer and spending time with my family and friends.
By D.Ann Shiffler05 April 2021
American Cranes and Transport