Under 40: Michael Wenger, Quality Logo Products
Michael Wenger, 35
Quality Logo Products, Aurora, Ill.
We get by with a little help from our friends. (And Ringo should know, right?) When Michael Wenger and his best friend, Bret Bonnet, decided to partner up and create a business of their own after meeting in an entrepreneurship class at their alma mater, wonderful things happened for the duo. Their shared vision for a world-class and online-focused promotional products company far exceeded their expectations, and it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.
As the journey continues, Wenger’s dedication to the well-being and happiness of his staff is the constant of the business. According to employees, his “calm demeanor brings a human element to all interactions.” Whether personally negotiating health care rates or planning company-wide events, Wenger makes himself available for personal and professional growth.
Why he loves the industry: On one hand, I love the industry for what it does for the companies who purchase promotional products from us. A Quality Logo Products order grows businesses, unites teams and delivers powerful messages. I love being a small part of that. On the other hand, I love this industry because we have been at the forefront of [the] digital revolution for the past 15 years. We continue to work alongside the great suppliers of this industry to pioneer new ways to use technology, increase market share and cost efficiencies, and provide superior customer experiences.
Age roadblocks and advantages: There are none. Age is a number, not a defining or relevant mathematical object!
His biggest career influence: On both ends of the spectrum (supplier and distributor alike), I have had the honor to meet some of the greatest people on this planet. We are an industry filled with bright, strong-willed, entrepreneurial and courageous people. We share the common goal of ingenuity and will go to all ends of the earth to ensure customer satisfaction at its highest level. Many would probably agree that it’s just in our DNA. It would be unfair of me to pick out any one particular person because there are so many, so I’ll stick with a college professor who helped launch the business, Dr. Gary Ernst (formerly of Sony Inc.). He said it before the brilliant [Jeff] Bezos did, “a brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” We take that to heart here at Quality Logo Products, and great service is the cornerstone of our business model.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: This may sound cliché, but it’s seeing the growth of our company. When we started in this business almost 15 years ago, we were [at] the bottom of the heap in 30,000th place. Every year our industry ranking goes up, and I look around and see more and more new faces who are just as proud of Quality Logo Products as I am. That is the biggest accomplishment I could ever experience.
His differentiating factor: Honestly, we’re always innovating around here. Whether it’s coming up with a brand new upfront pricing strategy or adding unique content to our website, we’re always changing up our approach on things.
What he does for fun: I think spare time is a misnomer when you are the owner of any business. But, I’m a father of two, and somewhat of a great husband to an amazing woman whom I don’t really deserve. So, when I am not at the office or when I am not deeply thinking about work, I really enjoy my time with my family and friends where I endlessly attempt to optimize every experience. It’s next to impossible to turn my “work” brain off. So maybe the best answer is: I like to drive people crazy because I don’t know how to slow down or appreciate anything but the challenge of doing things better. I am working on improving this!