INSIDE TRACK: Several months into his new role as President of Volvo Construction Equipment, Martin ‘Marty’ Weissburg has long been of the opinion that strong dealers are key to the company’s success
by Patricia Kelly
No stranger to the Volvo Group, having been at the helm of Volvo Financial Services before taking over at Volvo CE, Martin ‘Marty’ Weissburg has worked closely with Volvo CE dealers for many years.
“I respect their operational expertise, their professionalism and their entrepreneurship,” he says. “Every day these dealers put their personal capital at risk – they are often running a company as well as owning the company and I have great respect for that. I will never lose sight of the fact that strong, stable distributors who do well are important to the ongoing success of Volvo CE.”
With a reputation within the Volvo Group for a leadership style that centers on developing ability, talent and boosting internal culture, his emphasis is on team work with a strongly focused commercial approach. Weissburg is determined that Volvo CE will continue on its path of profitable growth.
“We will maintain our focus on our dual brand strategy as we continue to perform well in mature markets, but also continue to grow and become an even bigger and stronger presence in many developing markets,” he says.
“I really look forward to working with the Volvo CE sales and marketing team to support how we work with the dealers. They are our interface with the customer and we have to work as a team.
“We have got the best product, we have got the best employees, we have got the best distribution network – that’s a three-legged stool, which is very strong. Add to that growing customer solutions and support, parts, services and financial services – we must make sure we are providing a complete customer offering to keep them coming back to the same Volvo CE dealer for all of their equipment purchases.”
His is a globetrotting existence, with months spent traveling every year: “I’m an American by passport, but I’m a student of all cultures and I’m actually happiest when I’m learning about different cultures and different parts of the world – it’s one of the best parts of my job.”
Within a few days of the announcement of his appointment last November, Weissburg was on the road visiting key Volvo CE sites.
“As in my previous position, one of my jobs will involve getting out to see the different operations and experience different cultures, meet the Volvo CE team and learn about operations and aspects of the market.”
Coming from what he describes as a ‘soft’ part of the industry – financial services employees are almost all white collar – he is looking forward to working with a combination of blue collar and white collar colleagues at Volvo CE.
“I’m getting back into the area of operations and technology and that’s more where I come from. I really enjoy the hard product and its applications and the manufacturing side of the business,” he says.
Having worked on a construction site as a student in a summer job – when he learned how to operate a backhoe loader – Weissburg was president of a medium-size manufacturing company prior to joining Volvo eight years ago. He started his professional career in the field of construction equipment by joining Caterpillar out of university as a marketing management trainee. Educated in the United States, with a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and an MBA in international business from George Washington University, he has had years of global leadership experience tied to distribution and sales of heavy equipment.
“At Volvo CE I have inherited a strong, stable and well-established management team with whom I can work and from whom I can learn – it is a wonderful professional opportunity,” says Weissburg, who nevertheless is keen to correct a common misunderstanding about financial services.
“It’s not about finance as a function; financial services is a product, a customer solutions product. I am now running a different Volvo company that is a hard product combined with a soft product – construction equipment plus customer solutions,” he explains.
“One of the things I like about this industry is that we make and sell the products that help to drive infrastructure both in mature markets and in developing markets; we make and sell products that build roads or fix roads, and those roads allow people to transport goods to market;
We make the products that extract the commodities needed to advance societies; we make the products that help build housing and schools for people in both mature and developing nations and that is something for the entire Volvo CE team and their distributors to take pride in,” says Weissburg, adding: “And we do this with our core values in place – quality, safety and environmental care – we deliver all of it in a good way which is also good for our shareholders and profitable for our shareholders whose investments, in turn, we invest to help this company grow and drive our business forward.”
With a preference for the outdoor life, Weissburg says after a busy week he achieves peace and relaxation from physical labor in the garden with no distraction from mobile phones, television, computers and meetings.
“I love to work with my hands, to be outside, to experience nature; I love working in my yard.”Weissburg says he is looking forward to the move from North Carolina in the United States to Brussels, in Belgium and to exploring the Belgian countryside. Two of his three daughters will attend high school in Belgium, while the third will go back and forth from university in the US.
“Where we settle in Belgium will be a place with green space. I am an environmentalist down to my core – I couldn’t do without fresh air.”