Remembering Troels Volver

in Features

Troels Volver, left, with son, Jasper, rightThe death of longtime Martin Professional executive Troels Volver, 58, at his home in Kolding, Denmark (PLSN, Jan. 2013, page 5), elicited numerous online remembrances at Some excerpts follow. —ed. Troels had a wicked sense of humor. Every time I saw him, he made me laugh. He would give me a hard time and lay out a few jabs, and it always made me like him even more. He was a very unique and interesting guy — I don’t know anybody that is like him. I will miss him.
—Jeff Nickles, Production Design Associates

The first time Eric Loader introduced Troels to me, I thought, “Oh boy, this guy looks like he just got off a Viking Trireme, ready burn the village down, and eat raw meat through a barb wire fence! Troels Volver told it like it was, is, and in some cases how it was going to be. It was evident to the folks in Las Vegas Troels wanted their business — immediately. In record speed, and with the help of a couple of good fixtures, Troels Volver — and his boss, who listened to him, Kristen Kolding — did what no other foreign automated lighting manufacturer had been able to do:  create a branded product solution in every market and purchase point. Yes, everyone else had a fixture, but the line Martin drew in the early 2000s still stands. A lot of that came from the soul of Troels Volver swinging his hammer in the North American Market.
—Tim Brennan, PRG

In the late 1990s, I answered my phone to be greeted by that unmistakable voice.  “This is Troels from Martin Professional.”  Why was he calling me?  “I understand you have been hired to design Barry Manilow.”  How did he know that?  “I think you need to have a product from our MAC line for every light in the rig.”  What?  “I’m sending you a ticket and bringing you to Florida to talk about it.  This is going to be a great team and a great thing for all of us.”  Just like that.  That tour was the start of my friendship with Troels, Eric, Nick, Gary, and Noel.  Under Troels’ leadership, those people held my back, hoisted my sail, and opened up a new world to me.  He never doubted in my abilities for a second.  He believed in what I could accomplish long before I did.    Without hesitation, I put those lights exclusively on everything I did for years.  The lights were great, but that wasn’t the reason.  It was because of a hilariously vulgar, forward thinking, brilliant giant of a business leader who took an interest in a young designer from the Midwest just starting to get his name out there. Years later, I’ll never forget sitting on a patio in Florida with him and Eric Loader.  He looked across the table at me, flashed that infectious smile and said “See, I told you that you would be one of the great ones.”  I remember how he inspired me, how he made me laugh, built my confidence, and made me a part of his unstoppable force of a sales team.  He was a hero, a mentor, and a friend.
—Seth Jackson, lighting designer

I remember Troels for the passion of every deal he made.  He was so creative and funny that you just had to make the deal!   Everything was on the table! Cost, shipping, parts, terms, golf scores… every deal was a work of art — getting you what you needed while making sure Martin made the sale and got what they needed. It was simply fun!   If the deal was stalled, he would call and yell, ‘Hey!  are we going to sell you this %%%$# or what?’ Troels was not an order-taker, he was a deal maker!    I am so much better for having known and worked with Troels. I miss his passion, his friendship and his love for our industry.
—John Huddleston, Upstaging

While his title was CEO of Martin USA, we thought of him as the consummate captain of our ship. He was our boss, but he acted more like a four-star general, ready to go into battle at a moment’s notice, and his take-no-prisoners mentality translated to big sales for Martin US in 1998-2005. Pedal to the metal, winner take all, my way or the highway — those all describe Troels’ management and lifestyle. I had a close personal relationship with him and his family outside of work, but ask anyone that worked for him, or any LD or dealer that had the pleasure to meet him, and you will know those were his biggest priorities — his family, his staff, his colleagues and the customer. Troels loved to play golf, loved fast cars and loved getting the order! He made my life better, richer and certainly more colorful. He taught me how to make decisive decisions and use your gut.
Troels left us way too soon and will be missed by many. but his legacy will live on — we should all be so lucky to have had that kind of impact.
—Eric Loader, Elation Lighting

Troels had an amazing way with people. He would win you over in about 10 seconds after meeting him. He would look you in the eye and give you a strong, confident handshake. The kind of greeting that said, “You can count on me!” He was a leader of men, and his pride was extremely evident in his demeanor. Troels successfully led Martin US, but I believe that he dragged Martin DK, kicking and screaming, into a new direction back in his days. He made the Martin Team in DK listen to the market and become more customer-oriented, and that’s when we saw the most success under his leadership. Troels wasn’t afraid of anything. He would be the first one to tackle the proverbial “elephant in the room.” If there was something that needed to be said, you can guarantee that Troels would say it. It was an approach that Troels was able to master — he could say things in a blunt fashion that would make you feel good, but if anyone else was to say the same thing, it would be offensive. It’s very evident that Troels was a great father when you meet his son Jasper. You’ll be hard pressed to meet a more polite, well-mannered and bright young man. Without question, you knew he would do anything for Jasper.  Troels has been a giant for many in this industry, and I’m a better person today because I was blessed to work for him for six years. I still hold many of his teachings, as both a leader and father, close to my heart. RIP, Troels Volver, you will be missed by many.
—Noel Duncan, Martin Professional