It's All About Trust

Being accountable is in David Marnalse’s DNA

David Marnalse takes pride in the fact his customers know they can count on him when the chips are down, and the stakes are high. “It’s all about trust,” says Marnalse, Senior Account Manager with Heartland Polymers. “You’re not judged by how you perform when things are going great. You’re judged by how you perform when things get difficult.”

A structural engineer by education, a recently graduated Marnalse found himself winning a sales position competition against a dozen chemical engineers after he told the hiring VP that he could count on him to be “a winning underdog”. He made up for his lack of sales and industry experience with tenacity, an endless curiosity about the products his customers create, and a voracious appetite for continual learning.

The first assignment in his first job was to grow the markets in Ontario and Quebec, Canada, where he received his “on-the-job training”.

“They used to tell me I spoke funny with my Boston accent,” he recalls of those early days when he learned as much as he could from the converters he met along the manufacturing belt – the things that kept them up at night. Those early experiences forged a lifelong respect for the roles of trust and accountability in developing long-term relationships with the businesses and people he serves, well beyond the transaction of a sale.  

“It’s never been my objective to sell resin. It’s always been my objective to help customers sell their final product and then the resin takes care of itself.”
David Marnalse, Senior Account Manager with Heartland Polymers.

And whenever appropriate based on your key relationship, varied touchpoints within a company can help provide unique perspectives from production and technical people, understanding “the things that are important to them.”

It was the devastating series of force majeures that hit the industry in 2020-2021 that got Marnalse thinking more seriously about joining the start-up team at Heartland Polymers. He knew and respected Yonas Kebede, Heartland Polymers’ Director of Sales and Marketing, and he was also intrigued by Heartland’s access to propane feedstock and cavern storage capabilities.

“It became apparent to me that being outside the Gulf gave customers some level of security for their supply. I became very intrigued with (parent company Inter Pipeline’s) circular supply and access to propane. It’s unique in the industry. Strategically, from a supply chain perspective, it just makes sense.”

Dealing with crises in those force majeures reinforced Marnalse’s commitment to trust and accountability. To maintain open and frequent lines of communication, to “look them in the eye and tell them you’re going to stay with them” until the situation is resolved. While it’s never enjoyable to be the one delivering bad news, Marnalse believes “that’s the most important time to be talking to your customers. Put yourself in your customer’s chair. You have to be ready and willing to do whatever your competition is unable or unwilling to do.”

When Marnalse isn’t hitting the heavy bag in the gym or taking in the beauty along one of the greenspace pathways near his home in North Carolina, he’s often consuming a new book or a podcast on Audible. Always learning, always improving.

Marnalse and the rest of the Heartland sales and marketing and customer service/technical teams recently had the opportunity to tour the Heartland Petrochemical Complex. The energy was high as the teams got a sneak peek at North America’s first integrated PDH/PP plant. Marnalse said there is high interest from the industry in Heartland’s built-in sustainability that will see HPC produce significantly less GHG emissions when compared to similar facilities around the world.

“I like knowing there are tangible solutions here that will help our customers meet demands today and well into the future, that’s the commitment to being better.”
David Marnalse, Senior Account Manager with Heartland Polymers.

Let’s stay connected. 

Read more about Heartland’s team, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, and don’t forget to sign up to hear more from us.