MIKE SCHENKER, MAS
Vice President of Promotional Product Sales, KeyFetch
As with any startup, there’s no such thing as a typical day. This is the note that resonates throughout the various goals Mike Schenker, MAS, finds himself striving to accomplish with supplier KeyFetch (UPIC: KEYFETCH), based in Miami, Florida.
What do you love about your company?
“KeyFetch is new, it’s different. The fact that it is ever-evolving, I love that part. Our product is such that you can look at it as a card with coded numbers that you place on your key ring, your phone and laptop, and you’re good to go. But we recognized that this same feature can be used on other products as well. So I am looking for other companies to partner with, and other products to put our code on.”
Describe your office atmosphere.
“I have worked from home since 1994. My wife started to work from home five or six years ago. We eventually worked it out and now occasionally cross paths during the day. Of course, working from home means that at the end of the work day, there’s always stuff to be done [around the house]. But I’m able to shut off when I need to; there was a time in my career when I couldn’t do that. I need to be able to step away, and this job lets me do that. Due to our [company’s] international nature, the phone is ringing or emails are flying at all hours, but it’s constructive.
“When my son was young, I was on the road, but I always made sure to be home for the important things—that was my priority. I coached my son’s Little League games, and [working with] kids was therapy. Now I have a three-year-old Labrador, and he is therapy for me. He is full of energy and he makes me laugh, and we argue—but it’s constructive.”
What kinds of projects or tasks might you tackle on a given day?
“One day I might get some interest from the political sector for campaign-related promotions, where I have to locate unique, inexpensive, U.S.-made items that would be incorporated into the campaign. But my day is mostly spent trying to figure out new ways to get us to market. Yes, my background is in promotional products, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to sign up for every trade show. I go to market via other methods, and much of that is calling on established contacts I’ve made throughout my career.”
How do you collaborate with co-workers?
“One owner lives in London, one lives in Miami, and my associates are in Finland, North Carolina and another part of Florida. We meet weekly on Mondays, via Skype. Because we are working on so many different things on so many different levels, it’s important to catch our breath and catch up with one another.”
How does this job challenge you?
“KeyFetch itself is about a year and a half old; I started in February 2015. I’ve been in this industry for more than 30 years and this looked like a good opportunity, and a challenge, for me. The people I work with are some of the brightest people I have ever come across. They needed me, specifically, to take them to the next level. We haven’t made a huge splash, and that’s intentional, because I want to make sure we can walk before we run. I have been taking a methodical path to where we need to be.”