Marnee started off her career as a project manager, but after getting involved in her husband’s business, she recognized that representatives in the manufacturing industry can, and need to help smaller businesses grow within New England. “I feel engineering, manufacturing, and technology to be completely stimulating and just exactly where I want to be. The funniest thing is I never saw myself here.” Meet our March 2016 Women in Engineering recipient, Marnee Palladino, founder and CEO of MARN Inc!What is MARN Inc and what made you want to start your company? “My company is a manufacturer’s agency, so what we do is we represent manufacturers and bring them sales and customers and relationships in New England. The manufacturers can be anywhere in the United States, even outside. Mostly, I represent United States manufacturers.” MARN Inc covers the whole New England territory; they start by strengthening the company’s existing customer base, and then grow it by adding new customers. Since most of the companies MARN Inc works with are typically small and don’t have a large sales force, the best way for them to market is with an outside representative like MARN Inc.
Marnee got the idea to start her manufacturer’s agency while working with her husband’s company, Palladin Precision Products. She lived and breathed manufacturing for the last sixteen of the years they have been married. During that time, she got involved in inside sales: “when I was visiting with the customers and prospects of Palladin, I realized that it would be more valuable – I would have more to offer, if I had multiple manufacturing lines.” When Marnee started MARN Inc, Palladin, of course, was her first client and it grew from there.
She’s no stranger to starting her own business; Marnee launched a project management consultant firm right after college. Though it wasn’t manufacturing or engineering based, it gave her a good foundation and experience for starting MARN Inc. “In a way it’s very parallel. I was working inside for a company and launched my own businesses servicing more than one company, and that’s what I’m doing now. That was also part of what gave birth to this idea…jeez, I could do it then, I could do it now.”
How did you get your start in the manufacturing industry? Marnee originally had no plans to enter the manufacturing industry; it wasn’t until she started working with her husband that she realized she wanted to continue in it. She went to school for facilities planning and management at Cornell University, which is a far cry from manufacturing and engineering. She decided to combine her experience from her project management business and working with Palladin’s customers to create MARN Inc.
Do you face any challenges being a woman in a male dominated industry? Marnee has a very positive outlook on being the minority gender in manufacturing: “it’s predominately males that I interact with. I do come across a woman from time to time and I would say that I don’t find any roadblocks. I know that sounds very idealistic to say but to me, it is a very refreshing and new and exciting avenue for me.”
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned throughout your career? Marnee’s advice can be applied to any aspect of life; don’t give up just because one person told you no. “Even if you reached one person and they said no, we’re not interested at this time, that’s just one person. The next person you might talk to could be completely interested in what you have to offer. You have to be very confident about what you’re bringing to anybody you visit – know that you absolutely can help them, and be very sure of that.”
Do you have any female role models? “For so many reasons my mother is my primary role model.” Marnee’s mom graduated from Alfred University with a nursing degree and went on to develop a very successful career as the Director of Hospice for the New Milford Visiting Nurses Association in Connecticut. “Through the years while raising a family with my dad, my mom taught us by example. She’s expertly organized; she’s a goal setter and achiever. She’s immeasurably compassionate and empathetic, and she’s a visionary and creative thinker. That is just part of who she is, there’s so much more. She’s everything I aspire to be.”
What advice would you give to women wanting to enter the manufacturing or engineering industry? “I would say that there’s a huge opportunity for women in manufacturing because I think that you’re pretty much welcomed with open arms. We’re a minority, but I feel there’s so much opportunity because women in manufacturing can offer a different approach. It’s been my experience that men welcome that.”
What do you do for fun? Marnee has two daughters, so much of her spare time is spent with them and her husband. She is also an avid golfer and loves to spend time outdoors.
Any pets? Marnee and her family have a few chickens!
Interested in learning more about MARN Inc? You can view their website here.
Have someone in mind? You can nominate the next recipient for the SOLIDWORKS Women in Engineering Program, honoring the outstanding achievements that women are accomplishing day to day in the engineering community. Find out more information or get started today!