Ambassador of the year: the key to staying successful in a tough economy? Make new friends.

Author:Stanard, Alexa
Position:Member Outreach
 
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Ray Moulden, a sales executive with Office Furniture Rental Alliance and winner of this year's "Ambassador of the Year" award, says networking is what keeps his business going strong. Moulden still writes new contacts' name in black book, and advises new Chamber members to attend as many networking events as they can.

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"Networking is the key to my success right now and to the success of my business," he says.

Moulden's background is in computer science. But he eventually switched to retail furniture, managing the furniture department at JC Pcnney's and working for Sears Homelife. There he had Global Furniture Rental as a client, and it was that connection that helped him to make the leap to furniture rental

When he began working with Office Furniture Rental Alliance (OFRA) nine years ago, he says, about 90 percent of his business was from automotive clients. He now covers Michigan, mid- and upper Ohio, and Pittsburgh -all Rust Belt areas.

Through 2001, "we were all out chasing the Big Three," Moulden says. It was a good year for him: Moulden was OFRA's top salesperson in 2001. But after 9/11, as the U.S. automotive companies suffered during the economic downturn, "I had to learn to diversify myself and do more with less," he says.

That meant reaching out to new people. He now markets his services to two industries he identifies as offering major growth...

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