OU alumnus wins international marketing award

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Post

Oakland University post-masters alumnus Yannick Greiner was honored with the Individual Platinum Award from the Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit for his work marketing Rugged Liner products internationally.

“I was surprised, overjoyed and proud,” Greiner said. “I gave a quick speech about the growth of international sales. I was very flattered and happy to receive the award. It’s a great personal feeling for a first generation immigrant to receive an award in my adopted country.”

After joining the company in 2010 and expanding their sales from domestic to international, Greiner was nominated for an MSED Platinum Award by the Department of Congress this year.

Greiner has been on the Michigan District Export Council since 2005 and said international marketing is his specialty, which was enhanced by his studies in OU’s post-masters program.

He studied in undergraduate and masters programs in France before moving to Rochester, but his work here helped him develop his skills further, while remaining in the workforce.

“There is a high quality of research and learning experience at OU,” Greiner said. “At the time I was looking for a program to fit around my schedule while working. The program was perfect — the best combination while you have a job.”

The International Business Post-Masters program requires five business classes as students “brush up on skills they already have, coming back to learn the academic side, foundation and fundamentals,” and provide mentoring to other students, according to Janell Townsend, associate professor of marketing.

“The post-masters programs are one of the best kept secrets in the business school,” Townsend said. “The people who get in love it.”

Townsend invited Greiner to speak to one of her international business courses about his work. He brought his experiences back to OU by speaking to other international business classes about his work with Rugged Liner.

She said his experiences with expanding Rugged Liner to more locations reinforced the subjects she discussed in class.

“He grew the business really fast,” Townsend said. “He’s a really good guy, always phenomenally nice. It’s great that he’s willing to give back by sharing his experience with the students.”

Greiner said that after the recession, most businesses will need to be international. When he began working for Rugged Liner, the Owosso, Mich. company produced auto supplies domestically.

Rugged Liner planned on expanding to international and with Greiner’s knowledge and experience, was able to make that happen. After his efforts, the company is now an OU Tier 1 supplier, according to Scott Williamson, Rugged Liner president. They currently export to over 50 countries including areas of Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia.

In his three years working for Rugged Liner, Greiner increased the company’s growth by thirty-five percent with his expansion into international sales.

MSED awards two Platinum Awards for business — one individual and one team. The criteria includes “overcoming obstacles in order to achieve success, utilizing creative marketing and/or sales ideas or approaches, exceeded business goals, impacted business and/or industry, exhibited exemplary teamwork, or leadership as an individual and significance of accomplishments, based on financial scope and magnitude,” according the company’s website.

After being interviewed, the nine nominees met with a board, waiting until that evening at the Gala for the winner to be announced.

“I believe Yannick’s passion for international business along with his ability to connect, develop and cultivate business relationships with our international customers are some of his predominant qualities,” Scott Williamson, Rugged Liner president, said. “He lives and breathes international sales. At a time where exports play an increasing role in American companies and for the U.S. Economy, his dedication, commitment and results in international business made him the perfect recipient for the 2012 MSED Platinum Award.”

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