Take Five with Dan St. Martin

Dan St. Martin has been President of Kollmorgen since September 2013. He joined Kollmorgen from Deere & Company where he was the Combine Product Line Director of Russia, Commonwealth of Independent States and had responsibility for Global Combine Strategy. Dan joined Deere in 2001 and progressed through various roles of increasing responsibility. From 2008-2011, he lived in Tianjin, China as General Manager of a 1,500 person Chinese joint venture. Prior to Deere, Dan worked as a Senior Consultant for Deloitte and Touché and Accenture. Dan has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Supply Chain Management from the University of Illinois and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

RBTC: What are some of the regional resources that have contributed to your success?

Dan St. Martin: Kollmorgen is celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, and several regional resources have contributed to our success over this timeframe. These include the RBTC – which helps connect us to the technology talent and pulse of the environment we are creating together to advance this region and the activities within it. Virginia Tech is also clearly a lifeblood for Kollmorgen – where we employ several hundred alumni over the years and continue to collaborate closely with each day.

RBTC: What makes the Roanoke-Blacksburg region such a good fit for your company?

Dan St. Martin: This region is an ideal place for Kollmorgen – great technology talent and leading edge research, as well as an environment that is both beautiful and ideal to raise well rounded future leaders. Being remote to some of the larger cities is actually a strength for us here – as our employees self-select to live here as well as to focus on building a long-term career with us. We’ve been able to really invest in our employees and grow careers and experiences as a part of this.

RBTC: If you could give one piece of advice to a fellow entrepreneur, what would it be?

Dan St. Martin: It would be to really invest in people and a shared vision first. If you start with this – you’ll have the key “secret sauce” to build a business that does great things. No one person can really do much without surrounding themselves with talented people that are passionate about the vision of the future that they can create with you. Seems like common sense – and it is!

RBTC: What is one lesson you have learned over time that has made an impact on your business’ day-to-day operations?

Dan St. Martin: One lesson I have learned is that focus paired with passion can really lead to high performance that translates to impact each day. Passion without that focus just leads to chaos and can really dis-engage a workforce. We’ve been working over the past several years at Kollmorgen to create focus in our business and drive improvements. We pick a few things and do them really well, rather than try to do too many things and only do them “ok”. We’re a high performance culture at Kollmorgen and our associates don’t like to do anything that’s not done extremely well. I’m really lucky to get to work with over 1,300+ talented associates that are our global team.

RBTC: How would you like to see the Roanoke-Blacksburg region develop over the next 5 years?

Dan St. Martin: I would love to see us continue to create a concentration of businesses and people who “do good by doing good”. What I mean by this is that I really want us to have success in our businesses – but by doing things for the greater good of our community, environment and advances of industry. We get to live our Kollmorgen vision each day of “Enabling Innovators to Make the World a Better Place” – and I hope the Roanoke-Blacksburg region becomes a hub to make advances happen around the world as well.

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