Many of you knew Rustin Mikel as director of manufacturing at Forest City Gear. Since 2006, his high energy, problem-solving presence has had an impact on the success of many of the important projects that have flowed through the FCG shop floors. After a short sabbatical spent rebooting and recharging, he’s back and stepping into the newly created role of director, corporate marketing. Now Mikel will be responsible for managing and expanding Forest City Gear’s sales ‘platform’ of sales representatives nationwide, and for developing enhanced sales and marketing tools to help meet the growing demands of Forest City Gear’s diverse customer base.
“Some thought maybe I’d taken last summer off to backpack around Europe, but in reality much of my time was spent preparing for this new and very important role,” Mikel says. “While we’ve built our company and our culture, around manufacturing the world’s best gears, we recognize that it’s time to elevate our sales and marketing efforts to the same level."
Today Mikel is working with Forest City Gear’s network of sales representatives around the country to build a sales platform more responsive to customer needs, and employing many of the new sales leadership tools and techniques he has learned through two renowned sales training programs. For example, Mikel spent a week in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Center for Creative Leadership, enrolled in CCL’s Leadership Development Program. The program is designed to help mid-to senior-level managers strengthen and refine their leadership fundamentals - communication, self-awareness, influence, and learning agility. CCL is ranked among the world’s Top 10 providers of executive education by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the Financial Times, and Mikel says their reputation is fully justified. “It’s an amazing program that starts with a self-assessment that can really be eye-opening,” he recalls. “Much of the time is spent with in peer learning groups practicing and applying skills in various simulated business situations. The coaching, and feedback, is tremendous. You really come away with a heightened awareness of your skill sets, as well as how to think and act more effectively.”
Mikel has also been working with Northwest Partners, an internationally recognized consulting and training firm and their president Norm Murphy, in a sales management development program that will ultimately consist of over 100 hours of intense one on one training. “A particularly compelling aspect of Northwest’s training is teaching the participants about personality types and the critical role personality factors into purchasing decisions,” says Mikel. “Each personality type – analytical, amiable, pragmatic, available, expressive – requires a different approach in order to communicate with them most effectively. Ultimately, by employing these and hundreds of other new skills and tools throughout our sales organization, we will make interaction between Forest City Gear and its customers a more powerful, more productive experience.”