Tony Rouse, president and CEO of the Carol Stream, Illinois-based Team Concept Printing & Thermography, was slinging pizza when he caught the printing bug.
During this time, Rouse was attending vocational school, when a friend of his started a new job at a Minuteman Press.
"He stopped into Pizza Hut where I was working and said, 'Dude, printing is where the money is at, get out of here and work for some big money'—and he was right. I was making $3.35 per hour and he was making $4.50 per hour. I went home that night. Went through the Yellow Pages starting at "A" in printing and set up a bunch of interviews. [I] ended up working at a BCT taking out trash and delivering business cards," Rouse recalled.
Here, Rouse provides a little more insight into himself and the printing industry.
Print Professional (PP): Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, what school did you attend, etc.?
Tony Rouse (TR): I grew up in St. Charles, Ill. Went to high School at Kaneland High and took two years of vocational schooling for printing. That sparked my interest in print.
PP: Describe your business style.
TR: [I am a] hard working, hands-on type of guy. In by 6 a.m. every morning. Always in touch. [I] lead by example.
PP: What is the best business advice you ever received?
TR: To appreciate the highs and learn from the lows.
PP: What is your greatest business accomplishment and disappointment?
TR: Greatest accomplishment is starting this business with less than $20,000 and [building] it into a business that does over $10 million per year. [The biggest disappointment] was during our growth we hired too many people. I let the cart get in front of the horse and have really noticed this during this recent downturn. We have downsized our labor force by nearly 50 percent and have realized how overstaffed we were.