Steve Brungart is General Manager of Show Your Logo.
Steve Brungart began his storied career in promotional products when he applied for a graphic arts job at a local printing company. He didn’t land the job as a graphic artist, but he was given a job handling the walk-in business at the front desk. Since then, Steve has steadily climbed a virtual mountain of promotional products knowledge and experience and has settled in as General Manager of Show Your Logo. Over the years, he’s worn many hats and put out many fires to get to the top. Remember that bus analogy? Steve has been navigating right alongside Don Forsell, Show Your Logo president, since the get-go.
Steve has been with Show Your Logo since shortly after the company website was launched. Of the decision to accept the job offer at the fledging company, Steve said, “My grandma told me that I shouldn’t take the job because no one would want to buy promotional products on the internet.” It’s hard to imagine now, but the internet of over a decade ago wasn’t the internet we know and love today. It was a much smaller place. Luckily, Grandma had it all wrong about the internet and people’s desire to purchase promotional products via the world wide web.
“I started out in sales and sucked at it,” Steve admits. “My first arrangement with Don was to have a draw of $300 per pay check. That was going to be just enough to cover my car payment. I really had a hard time meeting that.”
It wasn’t long before Steve began taking on many roles in the company, wearing many hats throughout the day to help cultivate growth. “I can and have done almost every job here,” Steve noted. “In the beginning I did some art and sales. I’ve worked in customer service, order processing, book keeping, web design. I train almost everyone that comes through the door.”
Steve has been instrumental in shaping Show Your Logo into the company it is today.
Another notable contribution is the handcrafted furniture in the conference room as well as Steve’s office. Loathing the waste of discarded, wooden spools abandoned by an industrial company, Steve transformed them into an enormous table for the Show Your Logo conference room.
Here’s one of the Show Your Logo gathering places. General Manager Steve Brungart salvaged the wood for the conference table from industrial sized spools.
A smaller, more intimate table flanked by bar height stools is housed in his own office. Promotional cups make up the base of the this unique table.
Take a peek inside Steve’s office and admire his handcrafted table built from salvaged wood and promotional cups.
In addition to “building things,” Steve enjoys playing on his recreational soccer team and spending time with his wife and two children.
So who is Show Your Logo anyway? If you’re new to this blog (like we are), you may be wondering. Sure, Show Your Logo is a promotional products company. That much is obvious from all the images of custom t-shirts, printed drinkware, and logoed bags splashed all over our home page. So often with internet-based companies, you don’t get the opportunity to really know about the people on the bus. Who’s driving? Is he a trustworthy bus driver? Who’s navigating? Who are the people sitting in all those bus seats, and how do they work together to make for the smoothest bus ride possible? The ultimate goal? We want our bus to deliver the highest quality, most affordable promotional products you’ll find anywhere, and we want that gas pedal to the metal. Fast turnaround times are important to you, and they’re important to us, too.
That bus analogy? It comes from a spin on Jim Collins’ work “Good to Great.” If you’ve ever sat in on a Show Your Logo team meeting, you know all about the wheels on the bus, the engine on the bus, the gas in the bus, and the seats on the bus. Don, Show Your Logo founder and President, likes to speak in figurative language, which does make for more colorful team meetings.
If you’ve seen any our Show Your Logo videos, you’ve gathered that Don is a living, breathing tall tale. If you fail to notice him simply because he’s 6’5”, he’ll get your attention in some other way. (Read: busting through walls on a motorized cooler.) Underneath all that bravado, rest assured the fearless leader of Show Your Logo, Inc. is one smart cookie. (And he’ll hate that I just described him as a “smart cookie.” MENSA intelligent? How’s that? Yep. He’ll hate that, too.) In other words, in spite of all his wicked entrepreneurial skills that put the wheels on the bus in the first place, he’s a pretty modest guy. You’d like him.
Don fired up Show Your Logo, Inc. from a spare bedroom in a little townhouse in Montgomery, Illinois. He’s not exactly a speed reader, but that lobster trap brain of his is a storage unit of information any hoarder would love. And we’re not talking about an economy sized storage unit. We’re talking about the big ones, the kind those people on Storage Wars would pay a premium to bust open. In 1999, he slowly digested a couple of books on html and web site development and went to work. A few years of sixteen-hour workdays later, Show Your Logo, Inc. was born. His actual firstborn, a daughter named Emilie, was a toddler, necessitating a move to a single-family house where the expansion of the business continued in the basement with the addition of new employees. More gas!
Not only did Show Your Logo expand with incredible speed, so did Don’s family. Triplet boys joined the Show Your Logo family early in 2004. It was a pretty sweet set up that Don still worked in the basement. When his overwhelmed wife was faced with three screaming, hungry babies (and an active three-year-old) and simply ran out of hands, Don could be summoned from the basement to feed a baby or two before getting back to the business of Show Your Logo below. Good times. (No, really. Good times.)
All those employees walking in and out of the house plus triplets plus a rowdy three-year-old inspired Don to expand even further in late 2004. Rental office space was on the map, and we arrived in November of that year. We put up the walls and painted it ourselves. However, business was booming. Promotional items and custom-shirts were flying off the presses. The bus was getting full, and no one likes to be overcrowded. Don purchased our current office location in Oswego, Illinois (in the far western suburbs of Chicago) in 2006 to accommodate even more growth. Since then, Show Your Logo has expanded from its original space in to the space next door. In spite of the Great Recession, Show Your Logo has continued to grow. We can attribute that to the bus driver as well as the hard working, dedicated staff at Show Your Logo.
It’s a cool place to work. It’s a cool place to visit.
Promotional cooler race, anyone? (Rules and regulations regarding Promotional Cooler Racing can be viewed next to the fax machines. Stats can be viewed here as well.)
Foosball in the break room.
Diet Coke machine that dispenses all the free Diet Coke we junkies need to make it through the day. (Some are fonder of our custom “Surprise Me Diet” button that dispenses any of a variety of diet sodas.)
The indoor basketball court is pretty cool, too. Nothing like getting a little sweaty playing horse after lunch to shake out the cobwebs after a morning sitting at your desk! Join us sometime. The competition is fierce.
Don created a successful company from the ground up and has worked hard to create a positive climate that is perfect for generating the kind of customer service we think our clientele deserves. The best! We absolutely love what we do, and we love to print logo products for our customers to elicit top-notch customer satisfaction.
So for this installment, we at Show Your Logo are raising our promotional drinkware to Don. He’s a great bus driver, so get on that bus!
What happens at Show Your Logo when Don decides it’s time to expand into the space next door for the sake of selling even more promotional products? Well, first of all, he barges in next door and tells the neighbors to leave. In typical Don fashion, we’re told that he actually walked in and announced, “You need to leave.” (It’s all good. They moved into another unit in the same building.)
Shortly after closing on the new space, Don donned a football helmet, fired up his motorized promotional cooler, and drove himself right through the drywall separating Show Your Logo from its newly acquired space. If he wants to print logo products, he’s going to get it done.
It’s a hard knock life selling custom shirts and over 750,000 other promotional items. See for yourself and watch the video with all its heart-stopping action from several camera angles.