The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Tell me about your education?
BS and MS MIT, MBA U of Chicago
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
My father assigned me a landscaping task when I was about ten years old. The results were bad. He recognized that the fault was his since I exactly followed his vague instructions. I learned to be clear, but also to be empathic to the rest of the team.
We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
I have been impressed by Egon Jaeggin. Egon emigrated from Switzerland at about 20 years old as a toolmaker. He worked for several U.S. shops and Northwestern University’s machine shop. He then opened his own very successful shop, Numerical Precision, which made a broad variety of the highest-end satellite and defense components. Egon loved our country and succeeded here because of his excellent apprenticeship training and his honesty and work ethic.
Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Where is your company located?
Wherever I am. At the moment, I am in Trevett, Maine, near Boothbay Harbor.
What services or products does your organization provide?
We are a non-profit whose mission is to bring millions of manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. from offshore. We: document and promote the trend, and enable it by providing the TCO Estimator and ISP program.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
TCO Estimator overcomes the corporate tendency to buy on the basis of price while ignoring costs and risks that add 15 to 20% to the total cost of offshored products. ISP helps economic developers and companies identify major importers and convince the importers to reshore some of their sourcing
How is your business unique against your competitors?
No other organization documents reshoring or provides tools to enable it. We also do almost all of the promotion and training.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
I was saddened by the closing and offshoring of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. plant at which my father and grandfather were managers. I realized how many great companies and factories had been destroyed by offshore competition. I decided to reverse the trend.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
1. Pick a product or service that you believe in and have some competence in.
2. Pick a good team.
3. Do something that has lasting value. Do it as much for the feeling of satisfaction as for the money.