When Michael Uckele began negotiations to take over his family’s nutrition supplement business in 2005, it was a troubled time for the company. Uckele Health & Nutrition Inc. had just been hit with a large lawsuit settlement and sales had plummeted 50 percent to $1 million. Uckele negotiated a purchase of the company from his father and his uncle and set to work turning the company around.
Uckele put in a great deal of time and effort in the early stages of building up the company but eventually realized he could work 24 hours a day and never complete all the tasks needed to grow the company, so he began hiring a team to share the workload.
Among the new team members were an operations chief and a team of nutritionists to create the detailed formulas used in the company’s products. Uckele says the best advice he received was from one of his mentors: “Don’t overload your superstars.” Today, Uckele’s leadership style is a collaborative one. He recognizes that his forté is working with customers to develop concepts for products that will meet their needs. He works with his executive team to brainstorm the details of the products, and then they turn it over to their staff to carry out the production. Uckele deﬁnes success by how innovative his people are working together, how well the products they develop meet their customers’ needs and how happy his employees are.
Since Uckele took over the company, things have fallen into place. Uckele Health & Nutrition has quadrupled its staff, boosted its revenue and now ships its products to more than 40 countries worldwide.
HOW TO REACH: Uckele Health & Nutrition Inc., www.uckele.com