Hunter Industries RCGL president Smith retires, Mullikin promoted

Gene Smith steps down after 23 years with the company, the last six as division president, as 25-year company veteran Denise Mullikin takes over.

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Gene Smith, president of Hunter Industries’ Residential, Commercial, and Golf Irrigation and Lighting (RCGL) division, announced his retirement effective March 31, after a distinguished career spanning more than two decades.

Smith joined Hunter Industries on January 3, 2000, as a senior mechanical engineer. He transitioned into marketing in 2002, assuming the role of product manager for the spray and nozzle categories. He spent eight years in leadership positions on Hunter’s irrigation equipment project management and new product development teams. He was promoted to director of marketing, overseeing Hunter’s marketing and logistics initiatives, in 2010, and in 2017, following a corporate restructuring, he became Hunter’s first RCGL president, taking on the responsibility for Hunter’s RCGL sales and engineering efforts.

As an engineer, Smith was responsible for designing the ProSpray Sprinkler Body line. He also played a pivotal role in numerous product development efforts and acquisitions, most notably the MP Rotator Nozzle, Hydrawise Irrigation Management Platform, and Lumascape architectural and facade lighting brand. 

During Smith’s tenure as RCGL president, revenue grew 75 percent with market expansion into 120 countries worldwide.  

“Though it took three invitations from Hunter Industries before I joined the team, it only took two months for me to realize that the Hunter culture is what makes this a special place,” Smith said. “And it’s a place I was proud to be part of for the last 23 years.”

CEO Greg Hunter said Smith “exemplifies the Hunter core values of customer satisfaction, innovation, family, and social Responsibility. I have no doubt that several decades from now, people will continue to speak of him as a model leader at Hunter. Gene has true concern for our customers, the employees, and Hunter Industries as a company, for which I will be forever grateful.”

Denise Mullikin, a 25-year Hunter veteran, will become the next president of the RCGL division. She previously served as vice president, global sales. In that role, she led domestic and international sales teams in multiple countries around the world, along with Hunter’s global sales operations, global sales support, and domestic customer service teams.

“Denise possesses the qualifications and expertise to grow our landscape irrigation and lighting division into an even greater, more successful organization,” Hunter said. “She is an inspiring and motivational leader who is known across the industry for her passion for excellence and growth. She has my full confidence and that of our board."

In addition to her domestic and global sales leadership responsibilities, Mullikin has held key sales positions in large account and territory management in the United States and Latin America.

“I'm honored and proud to fill this role, and I'm grateful to Greg and the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of creative, dedicated, and talented professionals,” Mullikin said. “I’m eager to advance the strategic direction that Gene has established, providing innovative solutions to the industry’s most difficult challenges and fostering the unique Hunter culture that has played a critical role in the company's success over the past 41 years.”

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