Executive Perspectives: Bob Burdette, president of Multi Business Systems
As part of Print+Promo’s ongoing feature, Executive Perspectives, we get to know leading professionals in the print and promotional industry. This month, we interviewed Bob Burdette, president of Multi Business Systems, Bakersfield, Calif. Here, he highlights the benefits of community, advocates for lifelong learning and shares his philosophy for growth during recessionary periods.
How did you first get started in this industry, and what path did you take to land in your current role?
Bob Burdette: For reasons I still have no answer to, my standard response growing up was: “I have no interest in working at Multi Business Systems (MBS).” Fast forward to my senior year of college and interviewing with banks on campus. My father’s protégé (the one he took under his wing since I had no interest in the business) had started his own company and was working close to where I went to school. He invited me to shadow him for the day just to see what it was like. I had so much fun that I think I would have paid him to work. I soon joined his company as a salesman. The enjoyment of being away from the office, solving issues for customers and developing relationships that made one the “go-to guy” stroked my ego, all the while allowing me to be creative. Since those early years (MBS purchased the company I was working for), I have used my other strengths—growing from a pegboard exclusive business to a full distributorship, serving customers within the markets of print, promo and apparel. Along the way, MBS eventually purchased six other distributorships and counting. I have been its president for the past 27 years, and my son has seven years into carving out the third-generation impact on MBS.