Galloping Toward Success
Justin Zavadil helps his team keep American Solutions For Business in the race.
As executive vice president for distributor American Solutions For Business, Justin Zavadil is likely an expert at wrangling—something he’s also come to practice at home as the owner of three horses, a Great Dane and, this spring, a flock of sheep. He and his wife, Alisha, are also parents to three-year-old daughter Willow, and they live near company headquarters in Glenwood, Minnesota.
“When I’m not traveling for work, I tend to be a homebody,” says Zavadil. “I love University of Minnesota sports, and I attend most football and basketball games when I can.” Zavadil is also an avid outdoorsman, and is co-owner of a bar along with his brother on the U of M campus, which he bellies up to whenever he’s in Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Zavadil shares what a typical day is like for him as a member of the ASB team.
What was your first job in the industry, and what did you learn that has helped you in your work today?
My dad started ASB in 1981, so I have been around the industry my whole life. The first job I had was stuffing envelopes for a print job for the local hospital when I was six. We had to stuff the return envelopes into the main envelope. It was my brother, sister and me, and probably not the pinnacle of quality control. As a high school student, I worked in the ASB mailroom, warehouse, on the maintenance crew and did some data-entry work. These jobs were important for me to learn how the company works and to get an idea of how all the pieces work together.
After college, I was an ASB sales associate for four years before I started a commercial real estate development company with my brother and a friend. In 2008, I returned to the ASB home office, and my brother continues to run the real estate company.
How long have you served in your current role, and what are your primary responsibilities?
I have been the executive vice president for about a year and a half. I work with the senior leadership team on a daily basis to achieve the strategic goals we set for the company.
How do you collaborate with your coworkers on a daily basis?
Every day is different in my world. After Expo in January, I traveled to Orlando to work an exhibit with one of our sales associates at the Ben and Jerry’s National [Franchisee] Conference. I am on the road about a third of the time, working with customers, sales associates and vendors, and recruiting new sales associates and groups. When I am in Glenwood, I am working with the different vice presidents and their leaders on key projects and integrations.
Collaboration is easy, because we have the best team in the industry. My peers are amazing and I have complete confidence in them. When that is the case, getting things done is simple. We care about our three customers (sales associates, vendors and end users) and work hard for them.
How does this job challenge you?
Every day is different and challenging. As a distributor, we don’t know what we’re going to sell at any point in time. Our sales associates are problem solvers and they know how take care of their customers’ pain points. At the home office, we encourage that, but sometimes that means we must adjust here to make that happen. We have a culture of saying “yes” and that can keep things interesting and challenging, but it keeps us growing and changing for the better.
What do you love about American Solutions for Business?
The people are what I love best. The ASB family is amazing. From the wonderful people at the home office and other offices around the country, to the best sales force in the industry, we truly care about each other. I hear from people all the time that our culture is like nothing else out there. We love our teammates like family.
What was the atmosphere like at your sales meeting in Las Vegas?
The atmosphere was fantastic! The PPAI Expo was the perfect way to kick off our year and energize the sales force. Coming off a record year, the enthusiasm is up. We had some exciting learning sessions and a very busy vendor expo.
What prompted ASB to bring its sales meeting back to Expo, and what benefits did the relocation provide your company and attendees?
For the past three years we held our show in conjunction with ASI in Orlando. There was a very large request from the sales field and home office staff to co-locate with PPAI in Las Vegas. The benefits of being in the same facility with the largest promo show in the U.S. are tremendous. Our sales associates get access to a large number of suppliers that they would normally never see. The sales associates loved the show in Vegas this year and are looking forward to repeating it next January.
What is the goal of your annual sales meeting?
The sense of community, family and camaraderie is the No. 1 goal of our annual meetings. We cover the costs for all of our sales associates to attend because we know that the best thing to re-energize your sales efforts is to spend time with your peers, hear their stories and learn about their successes.
We provide two days of breakout sessions, one with home office departments and the other with suppliers. We also host our own vendor expo for both print and promo suppliers to exhibit. This was the largest ASB national sales conference ever. We set a goal of 300 attendees and I believe we had just over 400 at the show.
What was your role during your time in Vegas?
I kicked off the general session for our show and had numerous meetings with sales associates and vendors. The best part for me was networking with our sales associates and the vendors that I don’t get to see during the year.
What makes ASB a valuable member of the promotional products industry?
Our sales associates, 100 percent. We have the best sales people in the industry. They are true entrepreneurs that are tireless in helping their customers succeed. We couldn’t ask for anything better.