Under 40: Brian Gill, thumbprint
Brian Gill, 35
Vice President of Sales
thumbprint, Apopka, Fla.
Print is a family affair for Brian Gill. His father, Greg, founded thumbprint (then Performance Press Inc.) in 1994. Being exposed to the industry at a young age gave Gill a firsthand look at the inner workings of business and allowed him to appreciate the part each individual plays. During his time at the University of Central Florida’s business school, Gill worked in the company warehouse and made deliveries to clients. He later transitioned to a customer service role, which opened his eyes to the importance of supplier relationships. “From there, I went on to a web development role and began building our first Four51 sites for our clients,” Gill said. “After years of building sites and seeing where we were heading as a company, I had the tools I needed for a sales role within the organization.” With the help of his team and what he called “unparalleled technology,” Gill drove $4 million in sales in 2016 and joined the leadership team as vice president of sales.
Why he loves the industry: I have always had a passion for people, and finding out what drives them to succeed. That same passion applies to companies. I have never just had a love for ink on paper, or logos on mugs, or thread on polos; instead, I am fascinated by how successful brands are built and maintained. It is that fascination, along with my love for people and relationship building, that has kept me in this industry for so long, and as driven and energetic today as ever before.
Age roadblocks and advantages: The only real challenge as a 35-year-old would be the industry’s challenge of understanding and working with millennials. This “four-letter word,” millennial, is quickly applied to young professionals in this industry who are tech-savvy, and communicating with clients in ways never used before. ... Being a 35-year-old with 17 years of experience in the industry allows me to command the respect of leadership members in organizations, while also relating to younger employees. I let them know I am invested in making them successful. There is no replacement for life experience, and as ready as you feel you are to tackle the world at 25, it clearly takes time.
His biggest career influence: I am fortunate to have grown up in the business alongside my best friend and idol, my father, Greg Gill, CEO of thumbprint. Over the past 17 years, I have witnessed what it means to build a company and have built relationships that last. ... If there is one thing that Greg has consistently imparted on me, it would be this: “Do what you say you’re going to do, and the client will always respect you.” It sounded so simple when he first said it, but it took years for me to truly appreciate those few words.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: Three years ago, alongside [thumbprint Chief Operations Officer] Tod Ellington, we successfully rebranded Performance Press Inc. as thumbprint. We felt this was essential in paving the way for where we believe our organization is heading. ... We have built a brand and culture that has attracted great talent both from within our organization and from outside industries. Knowing where we are heading and the goals we have established to get there, allows us to now steer our clients in the direction they too need to achieve success and engagement with their own brands.
His differentiating factor: Our goal is simple: partner over vendor. We build partnerships with our clients that include technology integrations, brand/budget/process control, and at the core of everything—great service. We are constantly looking for ways to improve, and we never shy away from pivoting to something that our client needs.
What he does for fun: My wife and I are season ticket holders to Orlando City soccer and never miss a game. We also love to attend concerts, craft beer bars, local farmers markets and, a good taco joint. Finally, I spend as much of my free time with my beautiful, 13-month-old son, Rivers. Nothing in life makes Daddy happier.
(The following profile appeared in Print+Promo's "Rise Up" cover story in the February 2017 issue.)