RMI Celebrates 30 Years of Business in 2020

We’re excited to say we’ve been operating in the international tourism marketing and business development industry for 30 years now! We take pride in the work we’ve accomplished over the last 30 years and are even more so honored to service some of the best clients in the business – so, thank YOU for all of the great partnerships over the last three decades.

In between all of the overseas missions, industry events, and many projects the team has been working on, we were able to carve out some time to really reflect on the company. As part of that, we refreshed our company Vision and Mission to more clearly define who we are and what we deliver on, as well as launched our brand-spankin’-new set of nine Core Values!

To celebrate this 30-year milestone and as part of our Core Values – specifically: Make an Impact & Give a $h!t 😉 – we’ll be pairing up with various local charities to help support their causes throughout 2020. So, look forward to seeing some behind-the-scenes looks at those community organizations we value.

Finally, we wanted to have some fun and help you all get to know our great RMI leader a bit more so we recently sat down with Mathias Jung, CEO/Owner at RMI, to ask him a few questions about the biz, understand his background history and more. Let’s dive in!

Tell us about yourself.
I’m an all-around Wyomingite! I grew up in Torrington, attended school in Laramie at the University of Wyoming, and then started my professional career at RMI in Cheyenne as a marketing coordinator shortly after graduation. After two years, I was promoted and began managing the German and Italian markets. At that time, the program was a little less extensive, I would say, but I was in that position for about five years when to my surprise, the boss at the time, Chuck Box, asked me if I’d ever considered buying the company (which I hadn’t). After a couple years of talking, negotiating and figuring out how to get that done, I ended up buying the company in 2013 and have been running RMI as the CEO/owner ever since!
RMI is marking 30 years. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about this milestone?
I’m 37 presently; this company has been around most of my lifetime. I’ve been here coming up on 14 years, so nearly half of my life I’ve worked at this company. A lot of businesses fail. So to have a company that’s celebrating 30 years in Wyoming, with Wyoming ownership, based in Cheyenne, bringing revenue into the state from all over the world, what can I say? It’s incredible. I appreciate the impact we’ve made and the people that have helped me get where I’m at. And I expect that through our innovation, hard work, adapting to technology and the world we live in and travel patterns, that we’ll be around for another 30. It’s a pretty solid company, and I think there’s more to come. I see a lot of good things ahead.
What have been the hardest times as owner of RMI?
In general, it’s hard to be an entrepreneur because you have to always be “on,” always thinking about everything and you wear many hats. From accounting to HR to writing to clients, being a liaison, giving presentations...you have to really own the face of the company. That job is just inherently difficult, and it’s not cut out for everyone. Some of the hardest things I’ve done have been watching good employees leave under their own volition – what could I have done better to keep them? – or making the tough decisions to let some employees go or let long-standing reps move on for different reasons. HR-type stuff is really difficult. But I think losing a client, which happened really early in my tenure as owner, was the hardest. I had just invested a lot of time and money to buy the company and take on all the accountability and responsibility, and then one of our 20-plus-year clients walks away. That was tough to swallow, but you kind of just tap into that Wyoming grit – OK, did we do everything we could? How could we improve? And that actually spurred a lot of innovation with our analytics, with how we track our successes and ROI, which today is a key component to justifying the investment the states make. So those are some of the hardest things, but you get through it, and hey, today the client’s back, so we must have done something good!
What do you see as RMI’s biggest accomplishments? What are you most proud of?
When I first bought RMI, I wrote out a five-year vision plan. There was a lot of ambition in there, a lot of work, a lot of money, training – lot of everything went into that vision. And then five years later, that vision came true. The other thing I’m most proud of is the work we did with our core values at RMI. We involved all of our team members in that discussion so everyone had a voice, and we talked about everything – what do you want out of a company, where do you want to work, what are the ethics and the values that embody you and you as part of this company – and that effort helped meld us into the team we are now. From the position I sit, I see our team working together, I see them volunteering to help each other, I see them epitomizing our values we put together as a company. As a business owner, you have choices: You can be the boss that points fingers and says do this or that, or you can be a leader and bring people into the fold and make them feel like a part of a team, like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. That’s the route I chose, and I think it’s paying off tenfold.
What’s your favorite part of the job? What excites you?
I like just wracking my brain on how we can grow the company. It’s a lot easier said than done, I’ve realized over the years, because I’ve been working on it for at least seven years. I get excited thinking about strategy, and that we’re bringing clients together across an entire region, and about the people. And, you know, everybody would probably say travel, especially where I came from, small-town Wyoming, to what I’ve seen in the world now. I’ve been to countless countries, met friends from countless countries, and seen things I never would have seen and done things I never would have done without this company. Work travel is not the same as leisure travel, I’ll tell you that, but the fact that I can meet new people and experience different cultures, it’s made me into who I am today.
What makes RMI different from other companies?
We treat our clients as partners; we’re not just in it for the money. Oftentimes, what’s written in a contract is only half of what we do. We really take our services to the next level, we go above and beyond, and I think that really does start with what’s in our heart and what’s in our values. And I’m very passionate about the idea that we have the ability to impact the communities we live in economically. We’re bringing money in, and that helps us get better schools, hire those police officers and pay the firefighters. So when you think of the bigger picture, our work and what we would do for the clients and what separates us is that we are helping build thriving communities, and we want to do that side by side with our clients through good communication, good rapport, good relationships, understanding, listening to their needs and wants and problem areas, and then adapting and really working to find solutions to those areas.
How is RMI marking this milestone?
We are volunteering once a month, so we’re going to contribute to 12 different organizations throughout the year, whether that’s financially or through donations or with our time, or any of the above, in the local community in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Our first gig in January was to gather resources, food and clothing and make a big collective donation to Needs Inc., an organization that provides food and clothing for those in need. Then we will be hosting a get-together for all of our friends, acquaintances, clients, and anyone that’s touched the RMI company or has had an impact on me personally or the success of the company. We’ll be celebrating with a get-together in Casper, Wyoming, at the end of April, and then here locally in Cheyenne we’ll do a kind of open house where we invite local business leaders and anyone in the area to come visit us and learn what we do. Because a lot of people don’t know that RMI exists, since a lot of our work is not here locally, that’s another initiative we’re trying to push forward, is just trying to be a bigger part of the fabric of Cheyenne. If we’re going to be here, we want to be a business that not just is here but is impacting things around the community.
Tell us something most people don’t know about your tenure at RMI.
I graduated UW in December of 2005, and that same month I welcomed my first child, Sienna, into the world. There was a lot of responsibility on me right away, so I needed to get a job. I applied to a lot of different places ¬– sales, marketing, I had applied to be a car salesman – I was open to basically just anything that had a paycheck and was kind of in my field. And then I found this listing in the Cheyenne newspaper for a company called Rocky Mountain International. I threw my hat in the ring and got an interview, but I had no idea about the tourism industry or, frankly, what RMI did. I thought I did well, but then a week later I got a piece of mail – a rejection letter. So I go back to the drawing board and start applying again and again, and two weeks go by and I get a call from the hiring guy. He said the guy they hired didn’t work out, and was I still interested? So that’s just a lesson: Don’t give up.
Where do you expect to go in the next 30 years?
I expect that we are going to grow and that we are going to offer our services not just to our present clients but diversifying into different areas, focusing on tech, how visitors book their travel, how to track that, analytics, and into data. I think we could offer our services to a lot of people, not just in our five-state region, and I can see some different partnerships that might be interesting to pursue down the line as we solidify where we’re at right now. I expect that I’m going to be here, working toward those goals, and I think it’s time to flesh out another five-year vision and get some hard things on the docket to pursue.
What else do you want people to know about RMI’s 30th anniversary?
I would just say the final thing here is I personally couldn’t do this without the help of friends, family, peers and mentors, so use the people around you, especially when they’re offering any advice ¬– listen, and think about it. We wouldn’t be as successful without the commitment of our clients sticking through tough times and supporting this idea of working together in a cooperative model. All of these things are key to the success of our program, and every day our staff pushes us forward. It’s not all about me, this 30-year milestone, and that’s why we want to bring all the people who have contributed to our success to these events to celebrate. We should all be proud of it – we collectively.
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Mathias Jung

Owner & CEO

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