Experience Speaks: John Felinski

  • President/CEO of Filmquest Group Inc.
  • Recommending | Free to Choose by Milton Friedman; The Art of War by Sun Tsu; and Nicolo Machiavelli's The Prince.
  • How did you get into the converting business? After earning my marketing degree from Northern Illinois Univ., I wanted to apply my academic skills to the real world. I began working for a small paper distributor/finisher that wanted to expand. I initiated what became a very successful strategy and launched the company into the world of PET film.

  • What keeps you up at night? Trying to figure out what I don't know about the global market economy, competitors, government initiatives, innovation, obsolescence, and so on.

  • What's your management style? Delegation. I empower people to make decisions and do not second guess or micro-manage our personnel — from hourly worker to senior management. Taking bold steps and not being afraid to make a decision are required in today's volatile marketplace — not meetings, procrastination, or consensus-building.

  • Do you have a personal motto? “Leopards do not change their spots,” and “The cream rises to the top.” The mottos are true and reliable. If managers rewind some of their poor past decisions, they'd see they would have made very different ones had they followed these mantras, which I have found valuable and continue to apply in my life.

  • What is the biggest mistake you made, and how did you fix it? I trusted a former partner and had nothing in writing about the succession plan we had agreed to for years. The resolution was to sell my part of the company to my partner and start Filmquest. It was a difficult situation, but by trusting my instincts, never looking back or regretting what didn't happen, and staying focused on the future, I made the best move of my professional life.

  • What is the key to growing a business in a bad economy? The leadership skills required to manage in what is the worst economic environment in my professional lifetime are totally different than in a typical recession or a growing economy. Many peers indicate they are having difficulties now because they cannot make the hard choices that must be made far faster than in the past. Action must be immediate. No time in this economy to review and act next month or next quarter. The speed and depth of this recession mandate draconian cost-cutting measures that would not have been considered three to six months ago.

  • What are your hobbies? Astronomy has been a hobby ever since I watched Sputnik after its launch in 1957, and I saw a very bright meteor streak across the sky that looked like a huge orange fireball. Since then, I have traveled around the world to view celestial events from solar eclipses to Halley's Comet. My constant awe of the sheer size of the universe keeps everything in our terrestrial world in perspective.

About Filmquest Group Inc.

  • 320 Remington Blvd., Bolingbrook, IL 60440; 630-226-9800
  • www.petfilm.com
  • Founded 1996; 2 plants; 60+ employees
  • Specialization | Global merchant converter supplying plain, coated, and metallized PET, nylon, and OPP film

What's your management style? Share your perspective. Write to yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.


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