Colliers International Senior Vice President Rob Martensen has been involved in more than 600 transactions, including industrial sales, leasing, build-to-suits and land sales, but when he isn’t making a deal he is in the driver’s seat.
How did you get into off-road racing?
I just grew up going to the races and got the opportunity to do it myself when I was in college and have been racing ever since.
What type of racing do you do?
I do desert racing mostly, which includes races like the Baja 1000. I have raced in 10 Baja 1000s and those are long-distance endurance races. I also race in short-course, off-road racing where there are cars all around you, flying over you and under you, flipping and crashing right in front of you. But, those races only last 14 laps, so 20 minutes and you are done. In the long races, you are in the truck for 10 to 12 hours at a time.
What is it like being in the driver’s seat?
A lot of people who played competitive sports when they were young will understand. There is a feeling you get inside before you hit the field; it is a nervous energy kind of a feeling. Most people after they graduate from high school do not get to experience that feeling again. Sure, there are pockets of adrenaline if you are going after a big deal or something you get kind of excited about, but nothing like that feeling you got before you stepped on the field. Racing is one of the ways to get that feeling again and I think that feeling keeps you young.
Is racing similar to business?
They are very similar, especially desert racing. You are out in the middle of the desert and if you have a problem with the truck or crash or something, you have to overcome that without anyone’s help. The biggest thing in desert racing is no matter what, you just always try to get to the finish. If your transmission breaks, you figure out how to get it fixed. If you get a flat tire, you change it. If you get stuck, you figure out how to get yourself out. You never give up. The Baja 1000 is like a real estate deal: you are excited at the beginning and then you start getting into it and you run into problems and work through those problems and when you get to the finish line, like when you close a deal, everyone is happy.
What is your best business advice?
Have fun doing what you’re doing. I like to mix my business with my fun. It is a lot more work to throw a big event at a race, but if I get one deal out of this the whole event pays for itself. If I don’t get a deal out of it, I still had a great time and I have given people an experience they probably would never have had. Mix business with pleasure and just have fun!