Marshall Furniture would like to announce a position change for one of our long-established employees: Ariel Blaha. As of this year, Ariel has been promoted from Sales Engineer to Sales Manager after 10 years of work with the company. We welcome her input, strategies and fresh outlook as the new head of our dedicated sales team and know her to be a hardworking individual whose leadership will facilitate continued success for Marshall Furniture. Get to know a little more about her below:
What is your educational background? What made you want to work for Marshall Furniture in the first place?
I went to school for Interior Design. In addition to the artistic aspect of the field, I really enjoyed the details surrounding commercial project specifications. I found Marshall Furniture while searching for an entry level position somewhere in the design field.
How long have you been with Marshall Furniture? What were your initial job title(s)/responsibilities? What was the path to your current position?
I graduated in May of 2007 and started work at Marshall in August of that same year. 2017 will be my 10- year anniversary here! Initially, I was hired on as the receptionist / order processor. Processing paperwork for the shop helped me quickly gain product knowledge that I was able to translate to my new Sales Engineer position the following year.
The path to my current position was paved through learning. Our products are so fluid due to the custom nature of things; it can take some time to figure it all out. Years of experience working with our dealers, end users, consultants and architects led to a foundation of knowledge that I continue to build on. Sharing this information and helping others just comes naturally around here. I would say the precedent of teamwork set by my colleagues set the stage for my promotion to the current Sales Manager position.
What have you enjoyed most about working for Marshall Furniture? What is your favorite part about your current position?
I like the weird stuff. The designs that make you think. Finding a way to build AV equipment into unusually shaped lecterns or designing a piece to fit the aesthetics of a space in an unusual way is my idea of a fun project.
My favorite part about being Sales Manager so far is just knowing that I can help the rest of the team achieve their goals. That working together we can do more than we could achieve individually.
How would you describe your current job title? What are some of your daily responsibilities, concerns and/or tasks?
I am still very much involved in Sales. My daily responsibilities include sales calls, design drawings, price quotations, but now also include things like developing strategies to increase sales and checking in with the team to monitor everyone’s workload.
What would you say are some of the more complex aspects of your position? How do you combat or work through any difficulties that may arise?
Delegating tasks and keeping things fair. I think we all have a tendency to try and take care of things on our own, but a big part of management is spreading the work load out so that everyone is participating.
What do you feel is the most significant thing you’ve learned since starting your career with Marshall Furniture?
You will never have all of the answers. There is always going to be something that comes up that makes you stop and think and come up with a new solution. That’s part of the excitement in a custom manufacturing environment.
What would you say sets Marshall Furniture apart from its competition?
Our focus on customer service is what sets us apart. We not only offer quality products, but we truly stand behind them and take care of our customers throughout the entire sales process from concept to installation and even afterward.
What are some of your long term goals for the company? What about personally/professionally for yourself – any goals, hopes or ambitions?
We have to continue to evolve alongside not only the technology that is built into our products but the redefining of how that technology is used. Staying current with trends in collaboration in both education and business markets and developing products that are functional and desirable in those environments can help us grow our client base in the future.
I also think it is important for our current dealers, end users and consultants to know that Marshall is not just a source for traditional-looking high end lecterns. We build conference and collaboration tables, rack cabinets, workstations, credenzas and any other type of furniture that houses AV. We now have product lines and capabilities to provide custom designs that cater to both ends of the budget spectrum.
What do you like to do in your spare time (hobbies, interests, etc.)?
My spare time is spent chasing after my 2 year old son! I like to get outside and hike or garden.