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During the Association of Independent Manufacturers'/Representatives (AIM/R) 46th Annual Conference, SVP of Industry and PR Brian Morgan of The Morgan Group introduced Gregg Marshall, CPMR, and Tom Tiernan, CPMR, as the newest inductees into the AIM/R Hall of Fame. The AIM/R Hall of Fame was established several years ago as a way to formally recognize and memorialize those who have contributed their knowledge and experience to AIM/R.
“I am honored to be introducing these two gentlemen,” said Morgan. “Tom and Gregg were both very instrumental in AIM/R’s growth and helped elevate the group’s identity and respect within this industry.”
Marshall and Tiernan were also early proponents of CPMR certification, a rigorous three-year program that is often compared to a master's degree for reps. in the mid-1990s, Marshall was the first AIM/R member to complete the program and Tiernan was the second. At that time, most plumbing reps were not familiar with the program.
“Thanks to the endeavors and example of reps like Gregg and Tom, quite a large percentage of our members have since earned the CPMR designation,” said Morgan. “It takes commitment and drive to take on a challenge like that, but I believe they’d all describe it as a tremendous benefit to their businesses.”
Gregg Marshall, CPMR, CSP, CMC, formerly with J.N. Marshall
AIM/R President 1998-1999
Gregg Marshall got his start similarly to many of the legacy stories within the industry. His dad started the J.N. Marshall agency in Colorado in 1949, and he was then joined by his brother in 1953. Marshall came on board in 1986 to primarily focus on operations and finance. The family built a successful agency with multiple offices covering the Rockies region. J.N. Marshall became Marshall-Rodeno Associated when they merged with Rodeno & Associates in the early 2000s.
Throughout his career, Marshall had been actively involved with AIM/R, serving as Conference Chairman in Marco Island and President from 1998 to 1999. In being named to the AIM/R Hall of Fame, Marshall reflected back on the four key cornerstones he had wanted to help the group accomplish:
• Improve and increase the educational offerings of the association.
• Take a more active role in the industry.
• Promote the importance of the rep function across the industry.
• Improve the committee structure and operations.
Tom Tiernan, CPMR, of Tom Tiernan & Associates
AIM/R President 2000-2001
Tiernan served in the military during the Vietnam War, and as he describes, was “patched up” by the Canadian Medical Team there. After returning home from service, he formed Tom Tiernan & Associates in 1972. Based in Wisconsin, the agency also covers Iowa, Minnesota and North and South Dakota. Tiernan's son, Michael, has joined the firm and is now the third generation at the business. Former Haws Executive Pat Kelly was one of the first people who encouraged Tom to get involved with AIM/R.
“There was always so much good information that members could share between each other that really helped us grow our agencies,” said Tom Tiernan. “Some of it was thought-provoking ‘open your eyes’ types of discussions while some others were everyday operational practices.”
Tiernan said that the multi-track conference program AIM/R often offered for larger and smaller reps was a significant benefit for agencies like his that he considered small firms.
“I never had a ‘big’ line,” he said. “I was always trying to pick up new business anywhere. Some reps drive by potential business every day; I’m the one who always stopped my car. Looking back, I’m proud to say that we worked hard and had fun doing it.”
The leadership, integrity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of members like Marshall and Tiernan have helped AIM/R create awareness across the supply channel about the important role of manufacturers’ reps in the sales and marketing process.
“In an era and an industry that are constantly changing and always ‘on the move,’ it’s important to remind ourselves that the AIM/R of today was built through the efforts of some very insightful, dedicated reps who believed in the value this association brought to their firms — and what it would bring to those who followed them,” said Morgan.