2019 "40 Under 40" Award: Benjamin Grunat, Director, Product Planning & Strategy, GILLIG
Updated: May 27, 2020
Published by Mass Transit Magazine: Read the article.
September 13, 2019
Alma Mater: Indiana University
Favorite hobbies: family, traveling, skiing, hiking, wine
Fun fact about yourself: I am a certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS®).
Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequented (and why): New York City’s Grand Central Station is an incredibly beautiful facility which is enhanced by the phenomenal energy of all the people hurrying to catch their trains.
Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): My favorite route is the “Transit Bus” route in Denali-Mount McKinley National Park. It’s breathtaking to see Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, as we approach by bus and to disembark at any point to hike through otherwise inaccessible natural beauty, venturing where few have walked before.
Benjamin Grunat started at GILLIG in 2010 as a Controller in Accounting. Not long after, he took over as the Director of National Sales where he helped the team exceed company goals. He then moved on to Director of Project Sales Management where he developed the insides Sales Team and processes.
Today, as Director of Product Planning and Strategy, a newly-created role, he drives conversations and ideas at GILLIG and is committed to improving product lines, managing customer expectations and achieving high outcomes.
Grunat has a clear vision for what customers need from new technology and product choices. His strong voice plays a role in the direction GILLIG has taken and the products that have been offered. During his time at GILLIG, new product offerings, such as compressed natural gas, battery electric and body style enhancements, have been introduced.
He’s also enhanced GILLIG’s internal processes with continuous improvements, including the addition of customer relationship management software, along with using better data analysis to help drive decisions for the company.
As a key player in GILLIG’s growth, he oversees the Project Sales Team and the Strategic Planning Group and works closely with the Vehicle Integration, Design Engineering and Project Management Groups.
“I like working in an industry where...we are helping to improve the quality of life by providing mobility for all, reducing congestion and contributing to a cleaner environment.”
“With the introduction of new advanced technologies and products, it’s important to engage stakeholders not only early in the process but also throughout the stages of implementation.”
“In our industry, the rapid pace of innovation can be a source of uncertainty for our customers. The challenge is meeting the needs of today while reading the tea leaves for the demands of the future. By sorting through the uncertainty of change by balancing the concerns of all stakeholders and carefully evaluating information from many different, often conflicting, sources, we can determine how best to position ourselves to help our customers deliver services 5 to 10 years from now and beyond.”