Sean McMillan recently joined Cowin Equipment Company as an outside sales representative based in the company’s Mableton (Atlanta), Ga., office.
Sean was born and raised in Mableton, Ga. After graduating from The Citadel in 1996, Sean started out in the plumbing distribution business. Years later in March of 1998, Sean’s uncle, Tommy McMillan, gave him an opportunity to launch a career in the equipment business. Tommy had been with METRAC for nearly 20 years and was successful in the southwest Georgia sales territory. When a branch manager retired, the owners asked Tommy to give up his sales territory and take the vacant position. Tommy accepted and promptly called Sean to join the METRAC team and take over his territory. He wanted Sean to take care of a customer base he forged strong business and personal relationships with.
“It was funny … my first day I didn’t even know what a rubber tired backhoe was,” said Sean.
Sean learned the business quickly and for six years he was successful in the position.
In 2004, Sean left METRAC to help with his family’s food distribution business. He started with a role in sales, went on to head up business development and eventually became president in 2008. His responsibilities included p&l, finance, acquisitions and running two distribution facilities all while helping the company to grow from an $18 million business to more than $75 million business. Unfortunately, the economic downturn squeezed the profitability of the company, and after 30 years in business the decision among the family was to close.
Sean said he started thinking about his career as a whole and what his next step would be.
“I’ve done a ton in my career but the root of me wants to sell,” said Sean.
Looking for the right company with a diverse culture became a priority for Sean. His search brought him to Cowin Equipment.
“Cowin’s been in business for a long time and I hooked up with Russ [Huber, vice president of Cowin’s Georgia branch],” said Sean. I realize the potential here and know this is a healthy organization. I’ve been very impressed with Russ’s leadership and with the sales staff Cowin has been able to build. In this business, you get talent, foster it and the business will grow. At the time we talked, Russ didn’t really have anything available, but he was able to acquire some approvals for rearranging a sales territory for me from Northeast Metro Atlanta to Augusta.”
Sean said he’s really looking forward to being a part of the team and will be involved in the sale and rental of a diverse line of machines, including cranes. The Cowin rental fleet will be an asset for developing his territory, according to Sean.
“As the economy comes back, renting machines will help to start relationships by providing a chance to work with the customer and prove the value and re-familiarize them with the Cowin organization,” said Sean. “And, hopefully rental machines will go on towards a rental purchase deal and then more machine sales.”
When asked about his recipe for success, Sean said, “It’s all about building relationships.”
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