Member Highlight for Robert Assenmacher
Rob currently is the President of CAID Group, which is one of the largest specialty engineering and manufacturing companies in the western region of the United States with locations in Tucson, Saint Louis, and Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico with a team of 400 employees. He has been president of the company since 2013. Professionally, Rob is also partners in multiple real estate investment LLC’s, a manufacturing company in Chile and York Space Systems LLC, a satellite technology firm based out of Denver Colorado.
Rob is a Tucson native. While at CAID, Rob and his wife lived a year in Santiago, Chile in 2010-2011 to expand CAID’s presence into South America. They have only been married for a couple of years and they had a 6-month-old son, so it was a great and exciting experience for them early in the marriage. Before his career at CAID, Rob spent 4 years working in banking for JPMorgan Chase Bank in Phoenix, Arizona. Rob is a proud alumnus of Salpointe and the University of Arizona with a BSBA in Accounting in 2002 and an EMBA in 2008.
Rob is in the Chamber board and wanted to give back to the community as well as network. He wanted to connect and help members of the chamber. He has a vested interest in Tucson and wants to energize likeminded young professionals in Tucson to help positively impact our community. Rob joined the chamber in 2019 where he first was paired with Leah Bogen as his first mentee and recently started meeting with Michael Miller as this year’s mentee. Rob enjoys mentoring as well as learning from his mentees on their areas of expertise.
A typical day for Rob starts with looking at his calendar and clearing out the emails. Then he shifts to morning huddles with the vice presidents of the different business units. He follows up with strategic people depending on current projects. Additionally, there are many corporate meetings on any given day with parent company Samuel Son & Co out of Toronto, Canada. One of Robs favorite breaks from meetings is visiting the manufacturing floors when possible to stay involved with everyone in the company. Even though he is the president, he likes to be present and accessible with all of his staff at all levels of the business.
One of Rob’s favorite “mentor moments” was when he earned his EMBA. He was a VP at CAID running their sales department. Rob tried to implement a strategy that he learned through his EMBA and his father, being an engineer, taught him about learning from where the action is. Academic studies are very valuable but the specific strategy Rob wanted to implement at that time, which he had learned from his EMBA, was not going to work. He looks back and laughs at it now. It was a valuable lesson for him from his mentor and father as Rob has learned the importance of practical hands on experience along with a focus on academics.
When Rob and his wife lived in Chile for a year running a side of the business that operated from there, he met Hugo Salamanca, the owner of another mining related company who was working in robotics and mining at the time. Rob describes Hugo as a great individual who built a great business model, developed an efficient team around him and had an exceptional leadership style. In meetings, Hugo could command the room but was a good listener and would also let his staff speak their mind freely. In the end, he made the decisions but his team would respect him because he made sure all voices were heard as a unit. Rob to this day continues to lead with a similar approach with his team.
Rob frequently has the opportunity to mentor down. He is in his early 40s, so many times he finds himself leading people who may have more years of experience. Rob is very self-aware of this and he leads by making sure everyone in the company feels appreciated and valued. Rob leads by mentoring down to younger team members as well as being a resource to further develop the most experienced people in his company by welcoming their expertise and years of experience.
Aside from the Tucson Metro Chamber, other current organizations and community affiliations Rob is involved in include being the Director at El Rio Health Foundation, Director at Boulder Crest Foundation, Director of Tucson, Metro Chamber of Commerce, Ronald McDonald House of Southern AZ Emeritus Council Member, UA FORGE Advisory Council and Member of Nexus Executives.
For Rob, a perfect day is being with his wife and two sons, traveling to Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Europe, hiking on the beach, experiencing a new culture, and enjoying good food.
Rob has grown to love the size of Tucson, as he describes people here seem to be community focused. He loves our weather, cost of living, and says it is a great place to raise a family. He also feels that people can have a larger impacts in Tucson compared to much larger cities. Rob also mentioned Tucson could benefit from finding more people who can better advance our economy. Recruiting talent has not been an easy task since Tucson still struggles at showing well to companies elsewhere where they might have better infrastructure, parks, cities, public school systems, and neighborhoods. He expressed Tucson has come a long way in the last 10 years but we are not there yet.
Rob really enjoys eating out and it as was not easy for him to pick just one but he mentioned among his favorites are Contigo, Tito and Peps, Vivace, Gavi’s, and Charro Steak.
For Rob, his greatest personal accomplished is his wife and children. Professionally, it has been working his way to becoming the president of the company when he was 34. He really enjoys what he does, as well as enjoys staying involved in the Tucson community.