A testament to Marks’ tenacity
It has been quite interesting to read the latest attacks on Marilyn Marks concerning her alleged mismanagement of Dorsey Trailer nearly 10 years ago. While it seems to be a bit in vogue today to persecute overpaid and under-performing CEOs (many of whom deserve it), this smells a lot more like politics and opportunistic posturing than anything else.
Having served as president and CEO of Pike Trailer Co. based in Los Angeles, I know full well the economic environment with which Marilyn and Dorsey Trailer had to operate, along with the respect she garnered around the industry. We both built and supplied trailers and parts to the same customers, such as United Parcel Service and Federal Express. While these were blue-chip customers and fantastic people with whom to work, by the late ’80s and early ’90s the economic headwinds were starting to blow.
Within the manufacturing industry, labor costs driven up by entrenched unions, workman’s compensation and product liability lawsuits had become more than a quarterly discussion. They were now day-to-day crises that threatened the life of many companies. Permanent changes to the manufacturing landscape in America were now hard cast and blue chip or not, it was fast becoming impossible to supply customers with products and services without quickly bleeding to death.
After 96 years and five generations in business, Pike Trailer Co. closed its doors in 1992. Dorsey Trailer lasted eight more years in the industry. Honestly, I find it a testament to Marilyn’s tenacity and business acumen to have navigated through such tough times as long as she did. Believe it or not, businesses can and do fail. And often without the obligatory corporate greed, misappropriation, or fraud. From my vantage point, Dorsey Trailer was really much more a success story than a failure. But, of course, in the political environment we find ourselves today, the failure part gets the headline.
I would much rather my daughter, who lives in Aspen, learn about success from a mayor like Marilyn Marks rather than to learn to judge failure from a political headline.
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The city of Aspen’s Next Generation Advisory Board is all but defunct due to a lack of interest and participation.