About Me

/About Me
About Me 2016-10-18T18:14:42+00:00

Career Highlights

Brand Marketer with a history of increasing revenue by rebuilding and developing new brands through high-impact integrated marketing and new product programs. Excels in analyzing businesses and industries, identifying insights and opportunities, brand strategy development and plans that drive results. Significant experience in defining, redefining, enhancing, and protecting brands. A creative problem solver who draws on a diverse, multi-industry consumer and B2B background to apply best practices from a variety of markets. A versatile leader, inspiring teams to create connections between brands and consumers that inspire advocacy and loyalty to drive sales.

A creative leader and passionate brand champion, Max is a rock star wannabe, a lover of photography and design and father of two very active kids.  His business talents started at a young age, using creative ways to solve problems and asking “why or why not?” about everything.  His problem solving skills grew a bit more while enrolled in Geology at the University of Oklahoma’s ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics and the University of Tulsa’s Collins School of Business.

After Business School, Max made a few twists and turns working in oilfield products and then migrating to the consumer market with Gibson Guitar, Black & Decker, Hunter Fan and Barr Brands International.  His path although unorthodox, has introduced him to a wide variety of markets, diverse thinkers and the realization that every market must be viewed differently, rather than applying a one size fits all strategy.  This diverse path has helped to shape the person he is today.

He’s been a design trends source for several home publications, a speaker for the Brand Packaging Conference and presenter at the ESOMAR International Research Organization.  When not rebuilding or creating new brands, he can be found playing guitar, shooting photos or teaching Geology at the local elementary school.


  • Rebuilt declining automotive business
  • More than doubled sales from $6,000,000 to $15,100,000 in five years
  • Increased gross margins from 51% to 65%
  • Increased operating income from -3% to 22%

Black & Decker

  • Envisioned and championed a $2 million development project to create a new Architectural Hardware Business
  • Revenue growth: $20,000,000 to $200,000,000 in 4 years
  • Acquisition of Baldwin Hardware


  • 2015 textiles sales growth of 13% at 68% gross margins
  • New Product: Scentry odor control technology, obtaining long-term agreement with Under Armour, worth $1,000,000 per year

Gibson Musical Instruments

  • Achieved 12% sales and 23% gross margin growth through the development of a new business strategy focusing on brand repositioning and new products to effectively target customers based on segmentation identities.
  • Board of Directors – Lake Norman United Lacrosse Association
  • Guest Speaker – Brand Packaging’s Packaging That Sells Conference
  • Brand Packaging Magazine – Research Opens Doors To A Positioning Strategy For Doorknobs” 
  • Co-Presenter“Using Ethnography and Observation Research to Understand Consumer Behavior in the Retail Aisle,” European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR)
  • Gold Addy Award – Print Advertising
  • Silver Addy Award – Print Advertising
  • W.A. Tarr Award – Meritorious Work in Earth Sciences

The University of Tulsa Collins School of Business

Masters of Business Administration (MBA)

  • Vice President – Graduate Business Association
  • Secretary – Graduate Business Association
  • Internship – Wheatley TXT (Halliburton)

The University of Oklahoma ConocoPhillips School of Geology & Geophysics

Bachelor of Science (BS) – Geology

  • W.A. Tarr Award for Excellence in Earth Sciences
  • President – Sigma Gamma Epsilon (Geology Association)
  • Vice-President – Sigma Gamma Epsilon
  • Internship – Occidental Petroleum Company
  • Delta Upsilon Social Fraternity

Continuing Education

  • Situational Leadership
  • Advanced Presentation Skills
  • Situational Selling
  • 5S Training
  • Stage-Gate Product Development Program
  • Milestone Product Development Program

Skills for Driving Brand Resonance

  • Strategic Development, Planning & Execution

  • Segmentation

  • Competitive Intelligence & Analysis

  • Strategic Alliances

  • Brand Innovation and Revitalization

  • Value Proposition

  • Positioning

  • P&L Accountability

  • Profit Optimization

  • New Business and Revenue Stream Development

  • Channel Development

  • Customer Retention

  • Pricing Strategies

  • Product Development, Introduction & Expansion

  • Integration of Creative Design with Consumer Needs

  • Portfolio Management

  • Cross-Matrix Team Builder

  • Qualitative Market Research

  • Quantitative Market Research

  • Customer Trend and Behavior Analysis

  • Advertising

  • Digital and Social Media

  • Public Relations & Content Development

  • Marketing Communications

  • Collaborative Marketing

Here’s The Good Stuff. Some of My Best Work Is Featured Below.

Microban International

Microban International Charlotte, North Carolina

Director of Marketing - Provided odor control and antimicrobial protection for consumer products, textiles, and healthcare markets, with customers that included Under Armour, Calvin Klein/PVH, and Spanx. Oversaw product development, brand development, P&L, digital media, and public relations.


Developed strategy, positioning, and business plan for textile, consumer, and healthcare segments, focusing on creation of content pillars to effectively implement content generation, social media, and inbound marketing. Stabilized consumer division reestablishing relationships and stopping the decline

  • Textile Revenues: 13% increase
  • Gross Margins: 68%
  • New Product: Scentry odor control technology, obtained multi-year agreement with Under Armour, worth $1,000,000 per year.
  • New Product: Excalibur antimicrobial and odor control technology for the footwear industry.
  • Healthcare: Developed business focused on breakthrough antimicrobial technology to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), as most critical opportunity within three-prong business strategy.
Klean Strip Automotive Group

Klean-Strip Automotive - Memphis, Tennessee

Senior Business Director - Rebuilt declining $6,000,000 automotive retail and professional collision repair business. Initiated, developed, and managed implementation of new strategy and brand architecture within six months, including new packaging, support materials, videos, website, and advertising.


Restored profitability and growth by revitalizing brands, restructuring the business and developing new products.

  • Revenues: $6,000,000 to $15,100,000 in five years.
  • Gross Margins: 51% to 65% in three years
  • Operating Income: -3% to 22% in five years
  • Advance Auto Parts: $0 to $500,000 in two years.
  • Grainger Distribution: $0 to $350,000 in two years.
  • Sherwin-Williams: $200,000 to $1,000,000 in four years.
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts: $900,000 to $2,000,000 in three years.
Black and Decker

Black & Decker - Lake Forest, California

Director of Marketing - Baldwin Hardware - Grew revenues from $20,000,000 to $200,000,000 in four years by envisioning and championing $2,000,000 development project to create new architectural hardware business and acquisition.


Envisioned and championed a $2,000,000 development project to create a new Architectural Hardware Business, leading to the acquisition of Baldwin Hardware.

  • Revenues: $20,000,000 to $200,000,000 in four years
  • Branding: Initiated and led a $400,000 12-month project to develop a new brand “Archetypes”.
  • Market Insights: Introduced the use of ethnography, qualitative and quantitative research to understand consumer trends and behaviors. Collaborated with behavioral specialists, linguists, social trends specialists and anthropologists to define a brand that would emotionally connect with consumers.
  • Design: Integrated Industrial and Interior Designers, Architects and Architectural Professors to develop authentic architectural designs.
  • New Products: Introduced 3 new product families, including the addition of 270 product models.
  • Merchandising: Collaborated with FRCH Design Worldwide to develop showroom merchandising.
  • Management: Director of the newly created luxury hardware business unit, focusing on designer home hardware.
Black and Decker

Black & Decker - Lake Forest, California

Group Manager - The Society Brass Collection - Grew sales from $3,000,000 to $20,000,000 and gross margins from 28% to 47% through rebranding, 11 new products, and new distribution in 720 Home Depot and 550 Lowe’s stores.


Envisioned and implemented brand strategy to create a new business focusing on designer home hardware including new products, branding and establishing retail distribution.

  • Revenues: $3,000,000 to $20,000,000 in two years.
  • Gross Margins: 28% to 47% in two years.
  • New Products: 11 designs.
  • Channel: New distribution in 720 Home Depot and 550 Lowe’s stores.
  • Operations: Focused on Six Sigma quality programs throughout the supply chain.
  • Branding: Repositioned the brand including the development and implementation of packaging, merchandising, promotions and advertising.
  • Market Insights: Collaborated with Insights Worldwide Research to use of ethnography, qualitative and quantitative research to understand consumer behaviors.
Gibson Guitar Company

The Gibson Guitar Company - Nashville, Tennessee

Senior Product Manager - Tobias, Steinberger, and Gibson Basses - Achieved 12% sales and 23% gross margin growth through product improvement and pricing.


Tobias, Steinberger and Gibson Basses

Developed strategy and repositioned the brand including new products, distribution channels, advertising, promotions and artist endorsements.

  • Revenues: 12% increase.
  • Gross Margins: 23% increase.
  • New Products: Developed models based on segmentation identities.
  • Operations: Implemented product quality improvement program.
  • Channel: Restructured the dealer network, securing distribution in 34 Mars national retail stores and the Musician’s Friend catalog.
  • Inbound/Outbound Marketing: Established a customer service and telemarketing group to create permission-marketing opportunities.
Gibson Guitar Company

The Gibson Guitar Company - Nashville, Tennessee

Product Manager - ES & Chet Atkins Guitars - Increased sales 16% by creating a new strategic direction focusing on retention of the existing customer segment, while creating interest among younger players to drive relevance and market growth in a new segment.


ES & Chet Atkins Guitars

Developed a new strategic direction focusing on retention of the existing customer segment, while creating interest among younger players to drive relevance and market growth in a new segment. Established the brand-marketing role for Gibson’s most prestigious brand including new products, advertising, promotions, channel negotiations, artist endorsements, and events.

  • Revenue: 16% increase.
  • Gross Margins: 4% increase.
  • International: Increased share from 37% to 45% through negotiations and promotions in Japan and Europe.
  • Events: Managed, developed and negotiated events and endorsement deals including the JVC Jazz Festival, MGI Software/COMDEX and Hard Rock Café/BB King Birthday, Chet Atkins Charity and Wallflowers events.
  • Collaboration: Fostered marketing relationships to develop advertising, artist endorsements, events and co-branding promotions.
  • Artist Relations: BB King, Chet Atkins, Michael Ward (Wallflowers), Pat Simmons (Doobie Brothers), Les Paul and others.

Career Extras

Brand Packaging
Research Opens Doors to a positioning strategy for doorknobs | Max Ruckman
Brand Packaging | Packaging The Sells Conference | Max Ruckman
Research Opens Doors to a Positioning Strategy for Doorknobs | ESOMAR | Max Ruckman
Case Study
ESOMAR World Research Organization
Using Ethnography and observation research to understand consumer behavior in the retail aisle | Max Ruckman
Case Study
Addy | Gold Advertising Award
Gibson-Bass-Advertisement | Max Ruckman
Case Study
Addy | Silver Advertising Award
Steinberger GM Guitar Advertisement | Max Ruckman
Case Study
WA Tarr Award University of Oklahoma | Max Ruckman


For Fun!

Burning Les Paul | Max Ruckman


Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Songwriting, Recording
Photography Max Ruckman


Landscape, Wildlife, People, Sports
Geology | Max Ruckman


Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Bryces Canyon, Great Sand Dunes, Lake Tahoe, Canyon City Colorado, Smokey Mountains, Georgia Mountains, Arkansas River Whitewater, Ozarks Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Capital Reef, Seirra Nevada’s