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Meet A Young Leader: April 2009

Positive attitude, ongoing education prove valuable for Mark Juelich

Mark Juelich

A positive attitude is as important as a positive bottom line, says Mark Juelich, executive director of American Warehouse Systems (Minneapolis, MN) since its founding in 2003 as an autonomous division of Toyota-Lift of Minnesota.

Leading a global integration company that does extensive work for the Department of Defense is a far cry from Juelich’s first job after graduating from the University of Minnesota: selling home appliances. “In retail sales, people walk in the door ready to buy as opposed to having to knock on doors,” he notes. During his stint as an appliance salesman, a customer mentioned a need for an outside salesperson. Juelich took the job 12 years ago and found his calling in the world of material handling.

Setting a Good Example
Juelich’s day starts at 6 a.m. when he wakes and helps his wife get their three children off to school. Juelich then makes the 30-minute commute to work, where the first order of the day is to check e-mail and voicemail. The rest of his day can vary a lot, depending on if he’s wearing his sales hat or his management hat. He oversees a small sales territory; other times, he meets with other members of the management staff or business partners. Other days find him on the road, visiting clients across the globe.

Despite his hectic schedule, Juelich credits his positive attitude for keeping him centered. “When you have a negative outlook, people can tell—and it can affect the morale of your entire company,” he says, adding his belief that effective managers never show they’re having a bad day. Managers shouldn’t shy away from conflict, he says, since it’s an inevitable part of daily work and daily life. “It is your duty to find the silver lining and let everybody who works for you know that it’s there.”

Always Teaching, Always Learning
A pre-law major in college whose degree was in German and international relations, Juelich says education is an important part of any business, but especially in a field like material handling. He regularly takes additional business classes and encourages employees to do so by offering a reimbursement program for classes that are applicable to their position. Growth and learning are keys to success, says Juelich, as is determination. “My number one lesson in this business has been ‘don’t quit.’ Keep pushing toward your goals.”

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