FlexPack VOICE™ occasionally will take a closer look at some of the people who have offered their expertise for our magazine cover stories or features. The idea is to find out more about them—to personalize the people behind our articles—but also to talk a bit about why they got into the industry. In this question and answer, the magazine chats with Steve Nichols, vice president of sales and marketing for Glenroy, Inc., based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
FlexPack VOICE™: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to college?
STEVE NICHOLS: I grew up in Michigan and went to Miami University in Ohio where I earned a business degree with a focus in finance.
FPV: What got you into the flexible packaging industry?
SN: I have been in the packaging industry for over 20 years and have always enjoyed the ability to provide solutions to our customers. I started on the manufacturing side working for a co-packer, followed by opportunities to manage teams with a focus on several different markets, including healthcare, medical, personal care, and food.
FPV: Is there a particular experience that stands out in your career, good or bad, or both?
SN: I have been fortunate to work with some of the biggest companies in the world and feel I have learned from these experiences. You need to have patience with a plan. It is also imperative to set goals with a timeframe, and I always like to have an ambition that truly is a stretch to achieve.
FPV: Who was your mentor (or mentors) and why was she or he important?
SN: I have worked for some great leaders that have taught me to praise in public and criticize in private. I have also learned that, while managing, it is impossible to please everyone. Open and honest communication is critical, especially when dealing with bad news.
FPV: What would you tell someone who is thinking about a career in the industry if they were to ask for your advice?
SN: The flexible packaging industry provides opportunities to learn and be a part of just about any market you have interest in. The future is bright, and the industry is expected to continue to grow year over year. Having some knowledge and experience in a manufacturing facility will provide a solid basis for understanding what keeps them awake at night and will help you provide answers and solutions.
… This industry provides opportunities to provide improvements on how products are protected and delivered. I suggest reading the book Value Merchants, which will help in understanding how to sell on value and not price. It will also teach them how to compete with the next best alternative packaging options.
FPV: What do you like to do when you are not working?
SN: My wife and I have three kids, all in college now, so I am just getting used to being an empty nester. We enjoy going to the beach or being near water whenever possible. We have also enjoyed watching our kids play sports.
FPV: Do you have a favorite movie, book, sports team, or anything along those lines that you wouldn’t mind mentioning?
SN: My favorite book is Extreme Ownership, which teaches you how to lead and win and get the excuses out of the way. Growing up in Michigan, I remain a Detroit Lions fan, which is very difficult to admit. Since they have been bad forever, I was forced to like a second team and that is the Cowboys. I now live in Dallas and, unfortunately, the Cowboys have not done anything either since we arrived in 2002.
FPV: Anything you would like to say about your family?
SN: I met my wife, Missy, in Chicago playing co-ed flag football. We will be married 25 years next year. We have three kids—Charlie, McKenzie, and Sam. They are all Big 12 kids. Charlie is at Texas Tech studying wind energy, McKenzie is at Texas Christian University playing volleyball and Sam is at Oklahoma as a freshman in the engineering school.
Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor at FlexPack VOICE™.