Tom Flottman is the CEO of The Flottman Company; a 90 year old family owned and operated business that is in their third generation. Tom runs the company with his two siblings.
The Flottman Company is a full-service graphic communications firm founded in 1921 and headquartered in Northern Kentucky. The company provides a wide array of printing, design and strategic marketing services to enable clients to “Communicate Brilliantly.”
The Flottman Company recently received seven Print Excellence Awards in the annual competition hosted by the Printing Industries of Ohio & N. Kentucky. The 2012 awards included over 500 entries competing in 34 categories.
MO: Did you always know that you were going to be part of the family business or did you consider doing something else?
Tom: I considered other career paths of course, but I was passionate about the Family Business from the beginning. In that sense, I was destined to work at Flottman Company from the start.
MO: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being part of such a successful, multi-generational family business?
Tom: Family business has the same challenges as any other business with the addition of family relationships. Working with family adds a unique dynamic to the work environment, but at the end of the day, you will still have Thanksgiving Dinner with the family members you work with. You need to keep this perspective and have process in place for family communication and planning that allows these dual roles to coexist. There is a great deal of satisfaction with running a successful business with family.
MO: What are the main ways the company has evolved over the past 10 years?
Tom: Continuous innovation and dedicated leadership are keys, as is the exemplary service and consistent quality we offer our customers. We must continue to innovate. A company cannot stand still and succeed. We must offer unique products and services to the marketplace.
In 2008, our strategic management team determined that the future of the Company was as a supplier of diversified graphic services. We have rebranded ourselves as a communications company offering marketing and visual communications as well as print to the marketplace. We developed Brilliant Communications, which is a personalized, multi-channel process that results in exponentially higher response rates from marketing campaigns.
MO: How to you integrate innovation while remaining true to the company’s roots?
Tom: Innovation is not inconsistent with the traditions found with the family and company roots and traditions. Being innovative in our Family Business supports the entrepreneurial spirit that brought about our business. I can say the same about the other family businesses we are associated with.
MO: Is there an extra dimension of pressure to be successful and maintain the impressive reputation and legacy your family has created?
Tom: Yes, I felt that pressure when my father, the second generation leader retired and we succeed him as the Third Generation to operate Flottman Company. I believe that resulted from the sense of stewardship we have for Flottman Company. I did not want to be the person at the helm of the ship that steered it aground after 70+ successful years.
MO: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of so far?
Tom: It is difficult to name just one; after a lifetime of involvement in the business, there are many accomplishments. One is the tenure of our work force: 23% of our staff has been with Flottman Company for 20 years or more, 40% for ten years or more. Being asked to assume more and greater leadership positions in the community and in our industry is another source of pride. Building our new plant in 1998 and the rebranding of our business to market our expanded product and service capabilities is another.
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