Under 40: Bart Simpson, Flywheel Brands
Bart Simpson, 31
Vice President of Client Development
Flywheel Brands, Hixson, Tenn.
Joining Flywheel Brands, the family business started by his grandfather, Dick, and currently run by his father, Jay, wasn’t at the top of Bart Simpson’s list. He preferred to build a career in aviation. But with the wisdom of time and perspective, Simpson began to recognize his “inherent curiosity” in entrepreneurship and enrolled at The University of Tennessee, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in entrepreneurship.
“I didn’t want the legacy built by my grandfather and father to disappear,” he said. “In order to take an active role, I started at the ground level, working in and learning about print production.”
As Flywheel Brands grew, so did Bart. He engaged in the other areas of the business, including account management, customer service and sales, eventually assuming his current leadership role. He may not be flying planes professionally, but Simpson hopes to take the distributorship to new heights, as he continues to influence the business direction.
Why he loves the industry: Our industry is ever-changing, which is one reason I love being a part of it. Every day is different. Every project is different. That keeps things fresh and interesting for me, as well as my team. I also love the creative aspect of what we do. Being able to see something come from nothing and be wildly successful for our clients is extremely satisfying.
Age roadblocks and advantages: Earning trust for my judgment is one of the greatest challenges I face as a millennial leader. While I may not have as many years in the industry, I do bring a great deal of experience and business savvy that could be overlooked because of my age. On the other hand, I do see myself as an asset for our clients because I bring youthful energy and excitement to our partnerships. I also know how to speak the language of my peers, which is an advantage over those companies looking to retarget millennials and the next generation of consumers.
His biggest career influence: Over the years, I’ve had several people offer guidance and insight that guided the evolution of Flywheel and, therefore, taught me priceless business lessons. More recently, I attribute much of my career development to independent education through reading and guidance from a mentor whom I meet with regularly. However, the most influential person in my career has been my father, who fostered my entrepreneurial drive and continues to back the vision I have for our company and for myself.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: The greatest accomplishments often come from our greatest challenges, which is absolutely the case for me. A few years ago, it was mandatory for our company to reposition itself after losing a major client. Rather than downsize, we reorganized and amped up our efforts. In the end, we not only bounced back, we’ve had consecutive exponential growth year over year since.
His differentiating factor: Flywheel is not afraid of change. Our vision for growth requires changes and modifications along the way. We embrace technology in order to become more efficient and reliable; we welcome diversifying opportunities to better serve businesses looking for full-service support; and we believe our mission and culture to add momentum behind today’s brands will stand the test of time.
What he does for fun: When I’m not traveling or working with my Flywheel family, I am spending time with my own family, my wife and two sons.