Under 40: Zackary R. Cavanaugh, Pickle Print & Marketing
Zackary R. Cavanaugh, 24
Pickle Print & Marketing (a subsidiary of Peninsula Business Forms Inc.), Traverse City, Mich.
It took two years of college and the help of a family friend for Zackary R. Cavanaugh to find his perfect professional match. During his sophomore year at Northwestern Michigan College, where he was studying business administration, Cavanaugh learned about the exciting world of print from distributor and friend, Tom Schneider. For Cavanaugh, the industry was an outlet to showcase his networking skills. “After several meetings with my now business partner, Tom, I was able to see the potential in the industry for growth,” he commented. “We worked together closely, as he taught me the ins and outs of being a print distributor.” A few years later, Tom moved to New Orleans, and Cavanaugh took over as the managing partner. The 24-year-old shows he is excited for the future and loves hearing about interesting, new products and capabilities from manufacturers.
Why he loves the industry: Our industry is extremely unique in that we are able to serve customers of all types and sizes. Whether a customer is a huge national company or the coffee shop down the road, a great distributor is able to serve them all. Our company is only limited by the amount of work we are able to complete.
Age roadblocks and advantages: Being young can definitely be challenging, but from what I have found, knowledge trumps age every time. I have finished countless meetings with new customers and I am frequently asked, “By the way, how old are you?”—not because they question my abilities or experience, but because they are impressed by the amount of knowledge and guidance I am able to provide.
His biggest career influence: My business partner Tom Schneider has most certainly been the most influential person in my career. He has worked in the industry for over 30 years and is a wealth of knowledge. Despite great changes that have occurred over his career, Tom has not been afraid to grow and adapt to new challenges. Change is difficult for most, but Tom’s openness to change and flexibility have allowed me to be in the position I am in today, and he serves as an enduring model for success that I strive toward.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: I have been able to donate and help organize multiple fundraisers to benefit organizations that have been important to me and have helped me grow. I also am very proud of facilitating a buyout of another printing distributor about a year and a half ago; there are probably not many other 22 year olds who have done so. It was a great learning experience, and I made sure to note and reflect on [what] we did right and what I will do differently in the future.
His differentiating factor: I noticed when I first started in the industry that there was a negative stereotype of the middleman associated with printing distributors because we were not printing in-house. I think one of the biggest tasks distributors face is making sure that they educate their customers. All of our customers are aware that we are a distributor and they understand the enormous advantages that it has for them.
What he does for fun: Even though spare time is not very abundant for me currently, I enjoy sailing and being on the water, and I take advantage of it every chance I get.
(The following profile appeared in Print+Promo’s “Rise Up” cover story in the February 2017 issue.)