Meet Lorne Armer: KOA's VP of Marketing
In his 10 years at Billings, Mont.-based Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), Lorne Armer has worn lots of hats. And he has consistently taken on more responsibilities, the Billings Gazette reported.
When he was hired, he helped introduce a new management system to benefit KOA's broad network of franchisees.
"I spent my first couple of years teaching over 200 of our franchisees how to utilize the system for day-to-day operations, accounting and analysis," he said.
He was promoted to assistant vice president of franchise operations, a job that took him to more than 100 KOA campgrounds.
"I really wanted to know the business from the ground up. So I cleaned toilets, I took people to sites, I sat with people at their picnic tables and listened to them," Armer said.
He was promoted to assistant vice president of finance, developing tools to help KOA franchisees operate smarter and more efficiently.
In his newest position, vice president of marketing for KOA, Armer has a wide range of responsibilities. He coordinates international, national state and local marketing efforts, manages public relations and travel shows. He also oversees www.KOA.com, the world's largest camping website.
What's the toughest challenge in your business? KOA is a franchise organization. Each franchisee is an independent owner and operator. It is their business. Though this is the case, many tools are provided to help franchisees get the most of their business. The challenge is getting owners to participate and buy off on programs and tools that can be used in a variety of ways across 475 locations. Again follow through and consistency is a great challenge.
What did you learn from that challenge: I learned that involving franchisees from inception through implementation relieved many of the consistency issues. Two times a year we bring in 10 franchisees from across North America as an advisory group for all marketing related subjects. We propose ideas and strategies to the operators for feedback. I can quickly identify areas that may be a struggle.
If you could make one positive change in Billings, what would it be? I have lived in the Heights for 24 of my 30 years in Billings. I would love to see more economic development in the Heights.
Which living person do you most admire? My father.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My "work in progress," my children. I am fortunate enough to work for an organization that shares my "Family First" philosophy.
I'm happiest when I'm: Spending time with my family.
About Lorne Armer
Family: Married, six children.
First job: Bagging groceries at Buttrey's
Favorite book: "The DaVinci Code"
Liked this movie: "Inception"
Uses this website a lot: Google
Here's how I relax: Mountain biking.