“You have a lot of big, type-A personalities vying to be the winner,” Martens says. “It creates a kind of natural atom bomb, and you have to keep your emotions under control and make solid decisions despite everything that’s going on around you.”

Martens believes his Krannert education, particularly the numerous group projects required for management students, aided in his success throughout the competition.

“Group work is essential in the business world, whether you’re on ‘The Apprentice,’ running your own company, or working for a big corporation,” he says. “You have to work well with other people and be productive in a team environment. Krannert does a great job of teaching that and giving people the skills and tools to be successful.”

“Group work is essential in the business world, whether you’re on ‘The Apprentice,’ running your own company, or working for a big corporation.”
After “The Apprentice,” Martens returned to Washington and applied what he learned from the show to his three businesses: On the Fly, Tradewinds Specialty Imports and Taste of DC. On the Fly is an organic, mobile food-vending operation and Tradewinds Specialty Imports is a European and South American wine importing and distributing company.

His latest venture, Taste of DC, is a three-day food, music and wine festival scheduled for October 2011. Martens hopes to offer other “taste of” events throughout the country after serving as host of a new food-based reality television show to be aired later this year.

With so many projects in the works, Martens is keenly aware of what is at stake.

“Being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s not for the faint of heart,” he says. “There is a huge weight on your shoulders when you have employees; success is yours to win or lose. It’s your money and reputation, and those are major risks.

“Fortunately, I just happen to love taking risks and working 16-hour days,” Martens says. “It’s become a way of life.”

1 | 2