Timing, good fortune and a bit of influence from his father—a historian with a passion for the printed word and the process of printing—led St. Louis, Minnesota-based Japs-Olson Company national account manager Peter Towner to a career in the print industry.
"When I completed undergraduate work, I was ready to embark in the world and had to figure out a way to pay back expenses associated with school and my travels immediately after school," Towner said. "My first real job was with Rand McNally & Company of the map fame. This was a great initial door opened and led to many more along the way all within the printing industry."
Here, Towner explains more about himself, the business and its future.
Print Professional (PP): Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, what school did you attend?
Peter Towner (PT): I grew up near north side, literally downtown Chicago. Fantastic location for a kid with easy access to the beach front and great parks—all in the middle of this incredible area with immense skyscrapers towering overhead. [I] attended public schools. [Later, I] attended a small private liberal arts college in Iowa, Cornell College, and majored in Sociology and Spanish receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree. [I] enjoyed a several month language program while living in Mexico for a few months and took a theater program at the University of London the summer after college.
PP: Describe your business style.
PT: Enthusiastic, sincere, passionate, knowledgeable, collaborative, detailed with a good dose of humor and humility. I never try to take myself too seriously and really believe that we learn more by listening than speaking.
PP: What is your greatest business accomplishment and disappointment?
PT: On the sales side of business, I have wins and losses every single day. The wins are always wonderful and the losses—we try our best to learn from. I would never be so presumptuous as to share that I have yet seen either my greatest accomplishment or disappointment.