He started as a tuba player. Now he’s thriving at EBSCO—find out why.

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EBSCO HQ, Martin Hill
Martin Hill at EBSCO HQ. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

We always love a good career twist story, and Martin Hill’s got a great one. Not everyone’s story starts with engineering, takes a musical detour and leads to marketing at a large international outdoor brand, but this one does. Find out what about the culture of EBSCO Industries made Hill’s unusual career path possible.

Meet Martin Hill

Born and raised in Birmingham, Hill graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School before heading to the University of Alabama to study engineering. Turns out, tuba called to him more than calculus did, so he switched his major. 

Later, he got his master’s in music performance from Georgia State before becoming a gigging tuba player in Atlanta for six years. 

Love brought him back to his hometown of Birmingham, when an innocent MySpace message rekindled a romance with his high school sweetheart, who had a stable accounting career here. 

Now the two are married with a quirky six-year old son “who’s just the joy of our life.”

Bham Now: How did you go from music to digital marketing at EBSCO? 

  • Martin Hill playing tuba
  • Old days bartending He started as a tuba player. Now he's thriving at EBSCO—find out why.

Hill: Through college, I was working in restaurants to make ends meet. When I came back, I immediately started working in a restaurant near the Apple Store. When employees would come in, I would nerd out with them on the latest tech.

When I asked a friend who’d been in tech for years how to get into that sector, he recommended I get into website development, so I started taking a bunch of classes.

One day a gentleman came into the restaurant and said “I think you guys should have a website.” I gave him the address of the one I had just finished building. That led to a part-time job offer with a small local startup that focused on digital marketing and website development.

One day, that company closed up shop and the restaurant where I worked also closed its doors unexpectedly, leaving me with no income. 

Bham Now: How did you get started at EBSCO? 

Hill: Right when I thought this is the time to make the plunge and go full-time into web development or digital marketing, a job opened up at EBSCO

I interviewed with a panel and had never been in a corporate environment before. To say I was intimidated was the understatement of the year—I remember shaking from head to toe. 

We talked shop about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC), but I was so convinced I wasn’t going to get a call back that I went and started looking for more restaurant jobs. 

When I got a call back for a second interview in the middle of a shift, I jumped for joy. The second time around was much more relaxed and they gave me a job as the digital marketing coordinator focused on SEO and PPC. 

Ready for a new challenge? EBSCO Industries is hiring

Bham Now: What was special about EBSCO? 

Martin Hill, EBSCO
Training is a big part of working at EBSCO. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Hill: Once I started with EBSCO, one of the first things they did was invest in me. 

Around the third week I was there, they sent me to Atlanta for extensive training. 

Afterwards, I came back and started building out a lot of reporting. This was in the corporate communications department, which was more like an in-house digital marketing agency that provided support to a plethora of EBSCO businesses that did not have those resources on staff. 

Bham Now: Where did you start within EBSCO and what is your current role? 

Martin Hill, EBSCO
Martin Hill had never worked in a corporate environment before EBSCO. (Martin Hill)

Hill: I started off building out reports for corporate communications. Through this role, I got exposed to the entire network of EBSCO businesses, even in what was a fairly entry-level job. 

That led to internal consulting opportunities where I worked directly with different marketing teams within the larger company, including PRADCO Outdoor Brands.

We worked on PRADCO’s account extensively for a few months. Toward the end of the fiscal year, I went down to do a summary report on everything we had done and what we saw as the opportunities for the coming year. 

A couple of days later, I got an email from the general manager of the hunting division asking me if I’d be interested in joining their team. Not only was it an advancement in the company, but an opportunity for me to fully sink my teeth into one of the businesses. 

Later came opportunities to serve as director of marketing and now as director of digital sales for the PRADCO Direct team, where we are building something new for the company.

Bham Now: You have advanced fairly quickly. What within the culture of EBSCO has made that possible? 

EBSCO
Chatting with a coworker. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Hill: The theme throughout my entire experience here is that the company continues to give me new opportunities to learn new skill sets, new types of channels to be in, whether it’s marketing or sales, working with new customers, you name it. 

One of our key tenants here at PRADCO is “grow or die.” The idea is that you can’t sit still—our competition will never sit still. So every day you come in willing to learn something new, you’ll be given new opportunities to grow. And that is exactly what my experience here has been.

If you’re looking for a place to grow your career, EBSCO Industries is hiring.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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