How Warren Young bought Acme Industries and shook up the status quo

Warren Young, CEO, Acme Industries Inc.

Warren Young, CEO, Acme Industries Inc.

Industrial and Distribution

FINALIST

Warren Young decided one day at age 50 to pursue an entrepreneurial path. His career had been full of diverse professional experiences. Over the years, he had learned that he was passionate about fixing problems and building businesses. He set off to look for a company to purchase and grow — and Acme Industries, Inc. came into view.

When Young purchased Acme from the founders of the company, he made the tough decision to remove members of management who did not share his vision. He did not stand for management members satisfied with the status quo and stagnant growth.

Rather, he believed in empowering and supporting his workforce and allowed for flexibility, which promotes innovation and loyalty.

Young leads his employees with the simple message, “You can do it.” He has faith and trust in his employees and in return, they respect and go the extra mile for Acme.

Without being overbearing, Young is a hands-on manager. He can describe each manufacturing process down to the smallest detail, and remains involved in warehouse operations and back-office support. He encourages his employees to learn from their mistakes and to accept failure as a possible outcome.

When Young purchased Acme, the company had two customers that accounted for 93 percent of its sales. He started to seek new customers to immediately diversify the sales portfolio, decrease risk and grow the business.

Within five years, he had developed relationships with additional clients and the 93 percent figure dropped to 66 percent. But after considering how they aligned with his direction, Young separated from the two large customers because they only valued low cost. He brought on an entire sales force to bring in new customers that aligned with Acme’s business model, a move that increased sales and margin.

How to reach: Acme Industries, Inc., www.acmeind.com

 

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