Aaron Traffas: Hello and welcome to Purple Wave’s Auction Podcast. My name is Aaron Traffas. Today, I’m going to speak with Ross Schochenmaier from Waconia, Minn. Ross is Purple Wave’s new territory manager for eastern S.D. and southwestern Minn. Good morning, Ross, and thanks for joining me this morning.
Ross Schochenmaier: Good morning, Aaron.
AT: Begin by speaking to your background. Where did you grow up?
RS: I grew up in a town in western Minn. called Hutchinson, Minn., kind of a mid-sized community of about 15-16,000 people. It had an ag influence and then also still had some manufacturing in that community.
How did you end up in Waconia?
Through job transfers and changes, we’ve been here since 1998, which is the year my first, oldest daughter was born. A job brought me here and we’ve been here ever since. We love the community.
Well talk about those jobs if you would. You’ve got an extensive experience in marketing and sales. Tell me about that.
My background has been in the equipment finance world. For the last 13 to 15 years I’ve been in the equipment finance world, working with various companies – working not only with end users which would be construction contractors, ag producers, but also had dealer representation – various sources, working with manufacturers from Cat to Deere to even small lines, but working primarily one-on-one with either a dealer or a customer contact and putting together packages, reviewing opportunities with them, marketing – cold calling to various customers within my territories.
How did you hear about us and what was it that made you want to be a part of Purple Wave?
Well, I actually heard about Purple Wave probably six or seven years ago where a rep that was with the company – he and I used to come in contact and I came across the opportunity with the company. I was able to attend the Winona Excavating retirement auction with Andy and John and Richard Bates. Aaron was down there also. That was really the deciding factor that said I want to work with this company. I was very impressed with the technology behind the auction, very impressed with how they dealt with the people, the personalities – keeping the auction forefront but also considering that there’s a person behind the scenes that’s dealing with a wide range of emotions at this point. It kind of sold me on the company, made me see that – you know what? My background and how I deal with the customer on the relationship side – it’s a perfect fit. I just said, hey – you know what? This is going to be a great opportunity for both of us.
You started not too long after that particular auction. You started in late January. Tell me about your last month and a half on the ground.
The last month and a half has been a whirlwind. I called my boss yesterday, Andy Artley, and said, “You know? I really am having fun,” which is a great thing. Every day is a little bit different. I’ve been out and doing data capture on the Ruzic auction, which was great. I enjoyed the people, I enjoyed the opportunity. I’ve been out calling on customers, working on leads that I’ve already established, trying to get a firm understanding of my territory and who’s all out there. The one thing I can tell you that has truly impressed me, Aaron, is that fact that everybody I seem to talk to, whether they have a background with Purple Wave or experience with Purple Wave or whether they don’t, they are very open to talk to you. Now some say, “You know what? We just don’t use auction services.” And that’s understandable, but, especially those ones that have dealt with Purple Wave, I like the reaction that I’m getting that everybody likes this company and is willing to help us take it to the next step.
You mentioned your territory and, for anyone who may be listening to this on a portable device, maybe subscribed to iTunes through our podcast page or something – somebody who hasn’t had a chance to look at your profile page on the Web and see the map – why don’t you describe your territory for us, if you would?
My territory covers southwestern Minn. and then also eastern S.D., as you mentioned. Southwestern Minn. puts me into the metropolitan counties of Carver, Scott, Wright and, I believe, all of Hennepin County, so a very big chunk of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. I then travel basically west all the way to Aberdeen and then down to the Neb. border, covering the Sioux Falls metropolitan area and then track back around not quite to I-35 and then travel north. So the key metropolitan areas that I handle are the Twin Cities – let’s call it Minneapolis – and the west and southwest suburbs, a little bit into the north, northwest – Mankato; Sioux Falls; Aberdeen; Watertown, S.D.; Brookings, S.D.; Yankton, S.D.; Newell, Minn. – I don’t want to leave any areas out, but I’m very pleased with the geographics we have. As I look at it, if you look at construction, we are very similar geographics and we’re going to see a lot of aggregate production, road builders, good general construction. On the ag side, you’re going to see a lot of the same type of production, kind of wide open cropland. I do have a fair amount of ag experience so I’m looking forward to hitting both areas fairly strongly.
Well, let’s jump right into that. When you hit both areas very strongly, tell me what you’re going to be doing. Tell me about your roles and responsibilities. What’s going to be an average day?
An average day is going to change from day to day, but I see it as an opportunity to go out and get the Purple Wave name out to as many contacts – customers in our area in my territory as we can. I feel we’re still fairly new in this geographic and a lot of it – probably the next six to twelve months – is going to be getting the Purple Wave name out. We do have some nice auctions coming in April which we are promoting extensively and we hope to build off of those. We do have some very good leads in this territory that we’re going to be working hard to continue to grow that, but I feel there’s great opportunities within the contracting arena – also in the municipality area. I’ve had a few discussions with some counties in S.D. that are interested in talking to us further, and then we’ve also had a little success with the S. D. ag market and a couple customers that have used Purple Wave have agreed to sign on with us and bring us some opportunities. So we’re going to slowly get our feet wet and build this territory up quickly.
Well, Ross, tell me about some of your personal interests. What kind of things do you like to do in your spare time?
I’d love to, Aaron. I’ve got four kinds – a wife and four kids, so I spend a lot of time with kids’ activities. My oldest daughter is a freshman in high school, so you can imagine there’s a lot of things going on. We’re a big hockey family. She plays softball so we do a lot of stuff there. If I don’t have my kids activities and I am not working and I’ve actually got some free time, I’m a fisherman at heart and you’ll find me tucked away in a boat somewhere with probably one of my kids – somewhere fishing or in an ice shelter somewhere. If I can get away from everything, that’s what I truly enjoy doing.
I’ve been speaking with Ross Schochenmaier, Purple Wave’s new territory manager for eastern S.D. and southwestern Minn. Thanks again, Ross, for joining me today.
Don’t forget to find us on Facebook at facebook.com/purplewaveinc or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/purplewave. Subscribe to Purple Wave’s Auction Podcast on iTunes. Search iTunes for “Purple Wave” or use the link on the podcast page on our website at purplewave.com/podcast.