CEO, Big Max USA
Rick Oldach is CEO for Big Max USA, a subsidiary company of Golftech, a global maker of golf push carts and golf bags. He's an avid guitar enthusiast, so he riffs on leadership, success and role models in the latest "Get To Know."
The First Call: What is your handicap index?
Rick Oldach: 3.6.
TFC: In one sentence, describe what you do for a living.
RO: I help lead in the development and growth of important consumer and retailer relationships for the brands and companies that I manage.
TFC: What time do you wake in the morning, and what time do you typically start the workday?
RO: I typically rise at 5:45 a.m. and begin my workday promptly at 7:30 a.m. I am located on the west coast and try not to let too much of the day in the eastern and central times zones pass prior to making contact.
TFC: What are key elements to leadership or to being a good leader?
RO: In my opinion, leadership requires humility and the ability to empower every member of the team; maintaining focus and delivering clear guidance so that the objectives are understood and collaboration is cultivated.
TFC: What changes, if any, have you made based on the events of the past year?
RO: I've had to learn to be more patient and develop the ability to reset projections almost on a daily basis. The supply chains have been unpredictable and unreliable, and we have had to become nimble and learn to improvise in order to maintain momentum.
TFC: What's the secret to your success?
RO: I learned early in my sales career never to pass by a small account on my way to see bigger ones. Every customer's attention is equally important to the overall success of a brand. You win the game one customer at a time. In addition, my key mantra is that when a customer shares a problem with us, they should rest easy that it no longer requires their attention as it becomes our issue to resolve.
TFC: Who is your role model?
RO: I have been fortunate to develop relationships with a number of individuals who have experienced so much success in our industry. I think that Edwin Watts, with whom I have have had the privilege of evolving a business relationship into a close personal friendship, is the person I would single out. Edwin expressed the same sincere interest in every single person he came across, from the crews cutting the greens and fairways to the CEOs of the major companies. His example is one that I have tried to learn from and emulate in my own day to day existence.
TFC: Knowing what you know today, what professional advice would you give a younger you?
RO: This is an interesting question for sure. I think that in management it is critically important to understand that everyone has a unique objective and perspective. No one individual has all the answers and our own position may, in fact, be the least important to the overall success of the effort. Spend more time learning about what others are thinking and find a way to bring it all together harmoniously.
TFC: What’s the last book you read?
RO: “History of the American Guitar.” I have played since I was about 12 years old and love the instrument.
TFC: What’s on your playlist?
RO: I listen to all genres: bluegrass, singer songwriters, ‘60s rock, popular jazz, latin, Motown, country … Jackson Browne, Bob Marley, Linda Ronstadt, Kings of Leon, Cream, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Tom Petty, Tito Puente, Simon and Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughan, Sarah Jarosz, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, CSNY, Joni Mitchell …
TFC: When I’m not at work, you can find me …
RO: Hanging with my family, especially my grandchildren, playing guitar, competing on the golf course. I've started playing Pickleball, which is such a cool sport.
TFC: What is your greatest extravagance?
RO: I have some very cool guitars.
TFC: What was your path to the golf industry?
RO: I grew up in Puerto Rico and began playing golf at the age of 13. After college I decided to try playing and took a job as an assistant golf professional in the Boston area. There was a Titleist rep, by the name of Jim Kirnahan, who would visit our shop and always provide us with golf balls, gloves … and I thought he was one of the most impressive people we dealt with. After five years as an assistant pro, I interviewed with several companies and Maxfli hired me to manage Indiana and Illinois. I became enamored with the golf business and the people in it. I moved eventually to Lynx Golf and progressed through the company to manage sales globally. When Lynx was sold, I started my sales agency, Pro Shop Sports, and was fortunate in 1998 to launch the Orlimar TriMetal for Jesse Ortiz and his family. Our company has worked with some great brands including Cross Creek Apparel, Gear for Sports, Ahead, Club Glove, U.S. Kids Golf and now Big Max USA.
What are the favorite golf courses you have played?
RO: My favorite course that I have played is Cypress Point. There are so many wonderful golf courses that it is difficult to single them out, but Pine Valley, Medinah, Oakmont, Pebble come to mind. I was also able to play some great courses in Scotland as Lynx had a subsidiary company there that was part of my responsibilities. So I was able to play Turnberry, Royal Troon, St. Andrews. Western Gailes was a surprise.