Marv Askey made a career fighting for the needs of his customers.
With more than 45 years in the wood industry—17 of which spent as Western Region Sales Manager for the Engineered Wood Products (EWP) business at Boise Cascade—Askey developed close working relationships with his coworkers and countless customers. Askey’s ability to understand the customer and connect with others greatly impacted the culture of Boise Cascade. As he prepares to retire in July 2018, his legacy of relationship building and mutual understanding will continue to resonate within the Boise Cascade community.
“Marv is a world-class communicator,” said Nate Jorgensen, senior vice president in the wood products division at Boise Cascade. Jorgensen’s working relationship with Askey goes back to the mid-‘90s.
“He thoroughly enjoys his work,” said Jorgensen. “It certainly has to do with the EWP business, but his work is around relationship and the fun that he has with his colleagues and his customers. They are an extension of his family, and so when it comes to how he thinks and how he treats people, they are a part of his family.”
Askey began his career with Boise Cascade in 1973 at the Third Street Builder Service Center. After graduating from Boise State University, he joined the management trainee program under Chuck Link. Six years later, Askey joined Hoff Companies and in 1983, became a commission salesman at Trus Joist Corporation. After 18 years with Trus Joist, Askey came back to Boise Cascade, bringing with him years of experience and valuable customer relationships.
“He brought credibility and relevance, where people go, ‘Okay, I know Marv from his years at Trus Joist, I trust him,’” said Jorgensen. “He was able to connect Boise Cascade with the marketplace and bring a level of authority and some relationships into the company that just didn’t exist before.”
Askey is known not only for his focus on the customer, but also for keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry.
“We need to be very in-tune with all of the tools and technology that are at our disposal,” said Askey. “Anybody that comes into the business in our engineered wood, they need to have a good grasp of construction in general, but equally important is the ability to maneuver around all of the technology.”
Mike Carver, Askey’s successor and Boise Cascade EWP senior area manager for the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii, noted Askey’s forward thinking as one of his strongest leadership qualities.
“He’s always looking for improvement,” said Carver. “He’s always looking at new and better ways of doing things, incorporating the latest technology or business trends—and that is why he’s such a good leader. He leads people, he doesn’t manage people. He creates an incredible world of respect. When you work for Marv, you know you’ve valued as a person.”
Working with Askey for 15 years made him understand the importance of customer relationships in the wood industry, Carver said. He remembered Askey recommending Jason Jennings’ book, “Think Big, Act Small: How America’s Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-Up Spirit Alive,” emphasizing the importance of personal relationships, even in a large business.
“It’s exactly that culture of doing the right thing and really valuing our customers, and understanding that our customers are the reason that we exist,” said Carver. “Helping them be successful and continuing that trust is where we’re coming from when we do business.”
“Clearly, what makes the difference is just the relationship you have with customers—they become very good friends,” Askey said.
Askey’s legacy of dedication to the business and to the customer will continue to influence Boise Cascade for years to come. Askey, however, says the benefits are mutual. Looking back on his time with the company, he noted, “The single biggest gain has been the opportunity to be acquainted with some outstanding, quality people—both folks within Boise Cascade and our customers.”
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