Edward Martin has overseen the growth of H.J. Martin and Son from its roots as a small carpet store to its current place as one of the nation's largest interior and specialty contractors with more than 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $150 million annually. The company's six divisions serve a host of well-known national retailers while its two flooring design centers in Northeast Wisconsin set the local standard for quality and service.
The company's remarkable transformation has been spurred by Martin's relentless pursuit of new business and a willingness to push the limits of its capacity. It only has been possible due to a family-like culture within H.J. Martin and Son, where it is not uncommon for loyal employees to work decades for the company.
Martin himself became a third-generation member of H.J. Martin and Son, when out of college he joined the company first started by his grandfather, Henry John, in 1931 selling paint and tile out of his Maple Street garage. Working under his father, Patrick Henry, Martin made his first impactful stamp on the company's growth, adding a Drywall division (now Walls & Ceilings) in the mid-1980s.
That decision, which innocently started when he was purchasing a forklift from a local drywall company that was liquidating its assets, ultimately led to the success of H.J. Martin and Son as an interior contractor, serving household brand names. Today, the Walls & Ceilings division alone generates more than $25 million annually in sales for the company, revenues on par with its more visible Glass & Glazing division.
Only years later, Martin fortuitously had a chance interaction with a Best Buy store stocking associate while Christmas shopping in 1987. The store associate mentioned the consumer electronics retailer, in its own infancy, was planning to do some remodeling and that Martin should give them a call. That tip, along with Martin's resourcefulness, by the following summer led to the company doing the "Answer Center" in all 20 Best Buy stores at the time.
The growth of the Fixtures division (now National Installation) became a subsequent extension of the company’s success in drywall and its acquisition of work like that initial Best Buy job.
A signature project for H.J. Martin involved the 2001-03 renovation of historic Lambeau Field, located roughly two miles from its headquarters and home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Though the company had been involved in three prior expansion projects at the stadium through flooring and skybox glass, this one posed the immense challenge of an extensive glass wall, measuring 180' long by 80' high, that marked the grand entrance to the new Lambeau Field Atrium.
Licensed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, H.J. Martin and Son's commercial business today accounts for between 70-75 percent of its annual sales.
Sales volume continues to grow under Martin's leadership. In a single month (April 2013), H.J. Martin and Son had more sales than it had in the entire first year Martin owned the company (1996). That's a long way from its $2 million in annual revenues it had when he first joined the company in 1978.
Martin, however, has never forgotten his company's roots, including its first job of a residential, ceramic-tile bathroom. Such projects remain a pillar of the H.J. Martin and Son name. Its residential business includes everything from new homes, to remodels, to multi-family dwellings.
Born Edward Neufeld Martin 1955, in Green Bay, Wis., he began working around the company at the age of 14. Martin subsequently went on to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wherehe received a B.S. degree in 1978.
Martin married his high school sweetheart, Terri Martin (Dalebroux). They have four children: David, Daniel, Joe, and Emily. David joined H. J. Martin and Son in 2009 as a fourth-generation member of the company. Daniel works as a financial associate at Houlihan Lokey in Chicago. Joe is a single pilot captain on a Citation aircraft and is also an insurance broker for the company. Joe joined the company in 2014. Emily is a Public Relations Specialist in New York. Martin also has two grandchildren.
Feeling a strong responsibility to support non-profit organizations and initiatives in Northeast Wisconsin, Martin has made more than $6 million in financial contributions to community groups since assuming company ownership in 1996.
Martin's service on the board of directors or executive committee of community organizations has included the Green Bay Packers, the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Green Bay YMCA, the Einstein Project, the Libertas Treatment Center, the Green Bay Packers Foundation, the National Railroad Museum and the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay.
Other local organizations Martin has had a significant involvement with include New Community Shelter, the Brown County United Way, the Jackie Nitschke Center, the Bellin Foundation and Green Bay Pop Warner Football.