President and CEO, Wixon Inc.
Industry: Seasonings, flavors, food packaging and technology
1390 E. Bolivar Ave., St. Francis
A chance conversation led to Peter Gottsacker’s purchase of St. Francis-based Wixon Inc. in 2004.
“When I was looking for a company to buy, I felt I had a pretty good network to begin my search. My network consisted of the usual suspects, i.e., investment bankers, lawyers and accountants. However, as I learned, effective networking doesn’t always come from the traditional sources. Some of the most effective resources come from your contacts outside of the usual suspects.
“One amazing resource of networking is insurance salesmen. Yes, insurance salesmen. Their business is networking, and they are good at it. Life insurance salesmen proved to be a lucrative source of contacts. Business owners confide in their insurance guys because their current life changes, including selling their business. Within two months of when my search began, I had two letters of intent out to companies that were referred to me by life insurance salesmen.
“How I found my business was on a treadmill. Yes, a treadmill at the local YMCA. As part of my regime of looking for a business, I committed to working out early in the morning. I walked into the local YMCA at 5 a.m. and entered the men’s locker room. Someone called out, ‘Hey you!’ He was looking at me. ‘You’re new here aren’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Let me introduce myself. I’m Peter Gottsacker, and I’m looking for a business to buy.’ We got on the treadmill and began our workout. He said, ‘My company is not for sale now, but it might be someday.’ And that’s how I met Bud Morgan, president of Wixon, the company I now own. You meet some of the most interesting people on a treadmill.”