Coffee Break with Vince Schmidt, President of Lakeland Supply Inc.

Company address: N8 W22380 Johnson Drive, Waukesha, WI 53186

Web site:

Industry: Distribution, packaging, paper and janitorial

Number of employees: 33

Education: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, business administration

Family: Married for 14 years to wife Jill, children Spencer  and Sophia-Grace and dog Oscar.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We hired a new operations manager who understands and believes in our vision, mission and culture. Having the right people in the right place has a big impact on your team and overall business.”

What’s new at your company?

“We have revamped our website and added an online catalog with easy ordering capabilities. This gives our customers the convenience of ordering anytime day or night.  It also allows them to search for new products.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significantcapital investments in your company in the next year?

“We hired two additional salespeople and two sales assistants in 2008 and we plan on hiring additional sales staff in 2009.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“The biggest challenge in business today is the uncertainty that is happening in the global economy.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Eco-friendly, green seal certified products are a hot trend, and Lakeland has many products and options for companies to meet their green needs.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Leaving all we meet better than they were before.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I try to always look to Jesus.  He gave us an extraordinary example how to live. Biblical principles of passion, leadership and serving can be effectively applied to business.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“People can take a lot of things from you, but one thing they can’t take from you is your integrity. Also, treat others with kindness and respect – the Golden Rule.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Just a few years out of college I shared an office area with a friend. That area was commonly known as ‘the Swamp.’ We had many laughs during our young careers, but one time I remember he was trying to set up an appointment and he told the person on the other end of the phone to give him a shot because we were the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe you had to be there.”  

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Spending time with my family is my top priority. We enjoy boating, golf and skiing together. I also love to travel, and I am always on the lookout for a good book (‘The Shack’ by William P. Young).”

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