Opportunity Knocks

Meet RPM’s Michael Minkin.

He played on his high school football team, while simultaneously acting in various high school musical productions. He even considered trying out for American Idol. Michael Minkin, RPM Corporate Logistics Sales, approaches his life and his career with the same tenacity. As a father of an energetic 7-month-old baby girl, he has an even bigger reason to work with a lot of grit and a ton of heart.

“It boils down to work ethic, which is paramount,” he said as he leaned forward, placing his ankle on top of his knee. Almost 14 years ago, Michael graduated from Indiana University, with big plans and even bigger dreams. He accepted a role with a metal brokerage, and was ultimately stationed in Oregon.

“My first job out of college, I was buying and selling metal,” he said. ‘I was a metal broker, you know traveling sales, building relationships while figuring out a brand new business and industry.”

In his first full-time role, Michael took to the road and skies, traveling all over to meet with prospective and current customers, living mostly out of a suitcase. He frequently traveled to British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada to service his territory.

He knew that he liked sales as a career, but he felt this company wasn’t the right fit for him – prompting him to move to Chicago. He stayed on his friend’s couch while apartment hunting and was introduced to someone at CH Robinson. Not long after, he was hired as an account representative.

Michael began working at CH Robinson in April of 2005 and spent 10 years with the company. During his time at CH Robinson, he grew to become one of their top sales representatives.

”There have been many people that I looked up to throughout my career,” he said. “I worked with a lot of smart people, so I asked a lot of questions. You can’t do everything yourself, nor did I think I needed to. When I had the opportunity, I would look to those that I respected and asked for help.”

Even though Michael thrived at CH Robinson, he still felt like his impact on the organization was minimal. He longed for something greater.

“When my brother-in-law and CEO Barry Spilman started RPM, I was ready for a change,” he said. “The stars just kind of aligned. It was the same type of company, so it made a seamless work transition. Most importantly, I was ready to move back to Michigan to be closer to family.”

Michael started at RPM in February of 2015, just three years after RPM was established.

“While not a company founder, it still feels like I’m one of the integral people putting my stamp on the business,” he said. “It was always something that I was wanting, to be part of something at its inception. So, although I wasn’t here from the beginning, this was the next best thing – to be at a company at its infancy and have an opportunity to make a major impact.”

When asked what advice he would give to a junior sales rep or someone new to the industry he said, “You’re not just competing with the people in this room, you’re competing against everyone in the world trying to beat you at your job. The platform works. It’s a similar business model at all of these other companies that has proven itself to be really successful. The big challenge is to have the necessary self-drive for months and years.”

He continued by saying, “What are you going to do to differentiate yourself among the tens of thousands of people who are trying to do the same job?”

“I’ve always prioritized my job and having an unmatched work ethic, which sometimes creates a difficult work-life balance,” said Michael. “Having my own team while also working to help all areas of the business is challenging – dedicating my time to the new sales reps to help them grow is perhaps the most impactful thing I can do.”

Although he puts in long days at RPM, he says that he always tries to get home early enough to feed the baby and watch some reality tv with his wife.