New Leader Gets Ready to Run Marathon into Global Markets

"?4"?ITH A RENEWED PERSPECTIVE on global markets, Gordon Shaw, the newest president of Marathon Equipment Co., Vernon, Ala., says he is poised to represent his company in a brave new world of waste-equipment demand.

Before joining Marathon in 1982 as vice president of sales and marketing, Shaw owned American Disposal, an Atlanta-based waste equipment company. After a stint in the pest control business, Shaw returned to the waste equipment industry, where he developed at his own pace. “Actually, I just wanted to go back into a sales career where I could write my own check and have someone else sign it,” he says. “With sales, whatever benefits you reap, you do it yourself.”

Shaw's self-made approach to success changed course when he returned to college to attend the Harvard Business School, Boston, for his second MBA in November 2002. Marathon's parent company, Dover Corp., South Hackensack, N.J., sponsored Shaw's participation in the 17-week executive program, which required students to separate themselves from work throughout the program.

At Harvard, Shaw gained knowledge that the global community, not a singular can-do American spirit, is the ticket to success in the 21st century waste equipment market. “Other than leading 600 employees, [attending Harvard] was definitely the most rewarding and challenging experience I've had,” he says. “Never would I have thought a man in his mid-50s would be burning the midnight oil, preparing for classes.”

Shaw says he wants to implement his knowledge of global marketplaces as Marathon's leader. He emphasizes differentiating between the demanding consumer needs of the West and those of other countries that use and toss less.

“We're looking at four different acquisitions at this time that will take us into a couple of different markets.”