Does it pay to be a trailblazer for new technologies or suppliers? Yes, says Glenn Starkey, co-owner of US-based Progressive Components, an innovative developer and distributor of components for the production tooling industry.
ETMM: Glenn, please tell our readers a bit about yourself and your business. What led you to found your own business nearly 25 years ago?
Glenn Starkey: I grew up in the industry, and appreciate what a special industry it is. What I mean by that is, mould builders have big hearts and are very cooperative-minded. They open their doors and give you a personal approach tour, although it is a challenging industry on both technical and business levels. As to my start, my father was a mould shop owner and I was familiar with the industry, but wanted to go my own way instead of working in my father’s business.
ETMM: So you did an apprenticeship outside your father’s business?
Glenn: Yes, I served an apprenticeship in CNC machining, right at a time when CNC and CAD/CAM were just emerging. It was a very exciting time with new developments, and I was able to get heavily involved with emerging technologies at a very young age. Then I started a side business of my own at 22 years old, writing a software program for parametric mould design and marketed that. Eventually I quit my full-time job to fully dedicate myself to my own business.
ETMM: When did you found your first business?
Glenn: My brother and I purchased my father’s small side business in Chicago in 1990, and this April we will be celebrating 25 years of partnership. Back then we knew we really had to grow the business, and instead of just selling commodity parts, we worked to create new standards, and then marketed them actively through press releases, adverts or road trips. The efforts paid off and we opened our first branch office after only 14 months in business. Then we hit the ground running trying to grow, registering our first patents in the first year. From there we opened more offices and developed additional products.
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