Meet Dennis Martin, VP of Sales & Marketing
Do you remember back in high school when the Guidance Counselor would have you list out your dream job? Well, be careful what you wish for because it just might come true. After all, it did for me!
I was fortunate to grow up in an aviation family. My dad was a private pilot who built and restored airplanes as a hobby. We had a little grass runway behind our house outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and my summers were spent mowing grass and sweeping out hangers. As I grew older, I graduated to holding wrenches and crawling into fuselages. Every Sunday morning dad would get me up extra early, it was his only day off, and he wasn’t going to waste it sleeping, and we’d go roaring off to a breakfast fly-in somewhere.
Aviation has always been a passion, but I never planned to make a career out of it. After I earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering I went to work in the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan. But I had been bitten by the racing bug in college so after a few years, I moved back home. Taking over the family hardware store afforded me just enough time and money to start a ProRally race team. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make a living at it, but the adventures and lessons learned were more than worth it!
With racing out of my blood I was able to turn back to my first love, aviation. I put together the aforementioned list, and lo and behold Enstrom ticked all the boxes. I spent the next 18 months convincing them to hire me, and in December 2007 I got my shot as the “International Sales & Program Manager.” From the moment I first walked into the factory I was just in awe. I mean, we actually build helicopters here! Raw metal comes in one end, and helicopters fly out the other. With every machine and tool imaginable, and the best craftsmen around, it is just a magical place. I used to walk around the factory for hours after work, just soaking it all in – something I still do from time to time.
Since then, I’ve been fortunate to do several exciting things at Enstrom. I’ve been to 27 different countries on five different continents and worked the two largest programs in Enstrom’s history. I’ve flown brand-new helicopters all over the country. I got to spend a year in engineering learning how we design and certify helicopters. What I’m most proud of is being allowed to go out and represent all the incredible people here to our customers. It’s truly an honor, and something I don’t take lightly.
So what does a helicopter salesperson do? A lot of people assume it’s zooming around in helicopters all day and wheeling and dealing, and there is some of that. In reality, I spend a lot more time flying a laptop or seat 13C on a Delta flight somewhere, than I do flying helicopters. There is a lot of proposal writing, developing and giving presentations, price and cost workups, and communication. Endless communication… I send upwards of 9,000 emails a year!
In my spare time instead of playing with helicopters I play with airplanes. I currently own a 1941 Meyers OTW biplane that my dad and I restored, an RV-8 kitplane we built, and a Cessna Cardinal RG – the “family truckster.” I’m an instrument-rated commercial multi-engine fixed-wing pilot, a commercial helicopter pilot, and an A&P/IA. Along the way I was able to convince the love of my life, Laurie, to marry me. We have a ten year old daughter and an eight year old son. We often fly together and use the airplane to go on family adventures.
When I think of Enstrom one word comes to mind: Opportunity. Not just for me, but for everyone who works here. There are so many ways to work in aviation that aren’t just being a pilot. Whether it is building aircraft, designing aircraft, traveling, or flying, Enstrom has given us all that chance to have our dream job. The Enstrom Family is a great team and I am honored to be part of it. My guidance counselor would be proud.
Dennis Martin is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Enstrom Helicopter Corporation. He has been with Enstrom for more than 14 years, working in both sales and engineering, and has traveled to over 25 different countries. Dennis is a commercial-rated rotary and fixed-wing pilot, as well as an A&P/IA.
About Enstrom HelicopterFrom Rudy Enstrom’s early designs in 1943 to initial testing in a Michigan Quarry in 1957 to aircraft operating on six continents, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has maintained a reputation for safety, value and performance. Based in Menominee, Michigan and proudly made in the United States, Enstrom has a rich history for design innovation. The goal is to provide helicopters to the customer’s exact specification and deliver support and maintenance worldwide.