Experience Speaks: Jeffrey Brandt

  • President of William Frick & Co.

  • Personal motto | Press on! Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”

  • How did you get into the converting business? After graduating from the Univ. of Iowa in 1989, I answered an ad for a job as a sales and marketing assistant at William Frick & Co. and have been here ever since.

  • What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started out in business? How to interpret financial reports.

  • What's the key to retaining good employees? Create a success-minded environment and give people the room and resources they need to achieve. This includes calling out exceptional work and attitude, setting expectations and high standards, providing attainable financial incentives, and treating everyone with dignity. I bring in breakfast for the entire staff every Friday. That's my ongoing, tangible way of letting folks know they're appreciated.

  • How do you grow a business in a bad economy? It's a challenge, but Frick has continued growing by innovating products, controlling expenses, taking care of customers, and prospecting tirelessly for new ones. These are our core principles…they work well for us in a variety of economic conditions.

  • What keeps you up at night? If I'm awake at night, it's usually because I'm thinking about areas where I can make a difference — like developing creative new products, accounts, and employees. I try not to worry about the things out of my control.

  • Have any management books influenced you? Good to Great by Jim Collins comes first to my mind; but admittedly I am not an avid business-book reader. I prefer reading about historical figures and events for examples of leadership. There seem to be patterns of conflict and resolution over time that I enjoy learning from. Human nature doesn't seem to change much, but my planning and reactions can evolve.

  • What sustainability efforts has your company made? We and our suppliers have been compliant with lead-free and heavy metal reduction initiatives for many years.

  • What's your hobby? Cooking! I cook three to four times a week, which my wife appreciates; it's great family time that doesn't include anything electronic. I also enjoy cycling, running, traveling, producing home movies, entertaining, and spending time with friends.

  • What's the best advice you ever got? I remember it verbatim: “Tell the truth — it's easier to keep track of what you said.”

  • What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business? If you don't love it — get out; you'll never succeed.

  • What's the worst advice you ever got? Someone once told me, “You can't do that!” For one day I believed him. Not even a day. More like three hours. Literally. Then I found my compass; nobody except me can decide what I can or can't do. It was horrible advice but a great personal lesson.

About William Frick & Co.

  • 2600 Commerce Dr., Libertyville, IL 60048; 847-918-3700

  • www.fricknet.com

  • Founded 1975; 1 plant, 40 employees

  • Specialization | Custom labels, RFID tags, and specialty graphics

How did you get into the converting business? Share your perspective. Write to yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.


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