THE HAMMOND GROUP
Managing the Marketplace
We perform competitor comparisons and sales strategy analysis, keeping our factories informed of market opportunities. We’re in the field and on the ground selling to dealers, big box retailers, distributors and mass merchandisers while doing store set-ups, providing service to major multi-store retailers, presenting to buyers, setting up seminars, and executing trade shows and dealer markets.
A member of The Hammond Group since 1993, Marc Smith is CEO of the company. In this role he is responsible for building and strengthening our award winning sales force, as well as developing and overseeing the strategy that enables us to create opportunities for our business to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. His tremendous accomplishments have earned him numerous achievement awards from both customers and manufacturers alike. He attributes his success and growth over the years to focusing on the details that will make a real difference to our business partners. Marc’s exceptional leadership ability and entrepreneurial attitude have served him well at all levels of the organization. Marc is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he majored in marketing. An avid athlete, Marc enjoys the outdoors.
In 1999 John Foley joined The Hammond Group as a Sales Associate responsible for all accounts in Ohio, the Southern half of Indiana, and Pennsylvania, where he quickly grew to be a highly regarded, very successful sales representative. His strong business and personal relationships with his customers and our manufacturers, as well as a passion for sports, have helped him achieve his tremendous reputation in the sales arena. In 2010, John was promoted to Sales Manager and moved to The Hammond Group headquarters in Inverness, IL. to oversee the sales and marketing activities of the entire territory. In 2016, John became President of The Hammond Group. He is a hands-on President providing expert knowledge of our industry, products, services and customers. He consistently does everything possible to assist distributors, retail customers, manufacturers and our sales reps while continuing to represent our lines with enthusiasm and integrity at key accounts.
A business major from Western Illinois University, Rob DiFatta came to The Hammond Group in 1995. He is well known and highly regarded in the industry as an award winning sales representative. Rob's most recent award was the Rep of the Year for Evolution Outdoors for the year 2022. Rob’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the industry makes him an important advisor to manufacturers and customers alike. His high energy and sales personality are a winning combination in the field. Rob spends much of his free time testing the products he sells whether he is fishing, camping or boating using this experience to advantage on the job.
Marty joined The Hammond Group in March of 2011 bringing over 20 years of fishing industry experience with him. He has grown his territory each year by utilizing his knowledge of merchandising, product placement, marketing and sales while being a trusted adviser to his customers. His expertise as an accomplished tournament angler, drives his passion for working with the manufacturers on product design and development. His efforts and success were recently recognized and honored by being named Rapala 2017 Sales Rep of the Year.
Ged graduated from Central Michigan University and then served four years with the Army National Guard. He joined The Hammond Group in July of 2010 bringing four years of manufacturer’s rep experience and a lifelong passion for the outdoors including fishing, boating, hunting, camping and hiking. With Ged’s expertise and in depth knowledge of outdoor categories, he quickly became a real asset to our manufacturers in the product development area. He is a talented, highly regarded sales representative who's successes have culminated in multiple industry awards. Ged most recently was named the Rep of the Year in 2021 for his sales performance for HUK Gear.
Ryan came on board in early 2019. With an MBA in Marketing and several years of industry experience both in sales and marketing positions Ryan brings the best of relationships and expertise to his territory. Ryan's territory sales soar as his knowledge and expertise of our product brands grows and he continues to build his industry relationships.
After graduating from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN with a degree in Business Jeff worked at both Gander Mountain and Joe’s Sporting Goods. Joining The Hammond Group in June 2012, Jeff quickly grew in sales excellence and business persona. Jeff rapidly became a significant player in the sales arena of the sporting goods categories. He is highly regarded within the industry for his success in the field. Jeff's most recent awards are the highly coveted Sales Rep of The Year from Benchmade Knives Company in both 2017 and 2020
Eric Fuson joined The Hammond Group in 2013 as an experienced sporting goods professional with over 30 years of expertise within this industry. As the Principal of his own sales agency for most of his career, he developed and maintains trusted relationships with Bass Pro and other sporting goods giants in the U.S. Eric resides in the Kansas City area and has spent his entire life in and around this industry. His expertise as an accomplished fisherman and hunter, drives his passion for working with our brands.
Sam Lawrence recently joined our sales team as a Midwest Sales Rep, in support of our commitment to best serve all of our manufacturers and customers.
In 2016, Sam graduated from the University of St. Thomas - St. Paul, Minnesota with a BA in Business Management. Since graduating, Sam worked as a business consultant for a web-based property management software application company. Previously, he worked as a packaging analyst for 3M Corporation.
His formal business degree, his client-based experience, his hands-on expertise and passion for the outdoor lifestyle along with Sam's tremendous enthusiasm and "whatever it takes" attitude make him a perfect fit for our business throughout portions of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
No two brands are the same, that’s why each needs unique placement and messaging to dealers, distributors, and buyers. We work with each factory to create strategy and execution that suit the manufacturer’s goals and brands. Beyond that, our in-house headquarter team handles orders, customized requests, and sales and marketing issues promptly, so that the image of the brand is never tarnished & the process is seamless
FINANCE, ADMIN, TECHNOLOGY
Barb joined The Hammond Group in 2000 after finishing a two year business consulting assignment in Europe as a software/business re-engineering specialist. Barb's years of technical background and business expertise enabled her to bring the agency into the next generation of technology and communication available for the industry. With a growing passion for the business and a love for the team, Barb continues to optimize and manage the internal operations of the agency including finance, administration and technology to ensure we remain a leading edge force in serving our customers and manufacturers.
SALES & MARKETING
Jamie joined The Hammond Group in 2011 after moving to the Chicago area from Waco, Texas with her family. Her technical, marketing, PR, creative and financial skills as well as her overall business acumen have served The Hammond Group very well in the vital role of Sales and Marketing Specialist. Jamie has been recognized by manufacturers and customers alike for her outstanding service and attitude in going "above and beyond" in making it happen! The support that she expertly provides in all areas of sales, marketing and customer representation is key to the success we enjoy as an agency.
Makena joined our sales support team two years ago while still attending college working toward her degree. Makena's can-do attitude and love of all things sports and outdoors makes her a great fit to work with the team of sales reps and our internal staff to support our agency's commitment to exceed our customers' expectations.