Kell Curtis: Texas Is a Can Do State. Not To Mention Being in the Center of the Country, We Can Travel and Ship Efficientlydfwnewsa | September 26, 2022 | 0 | Business , Companies , Fort Worth News , Press Release , Startups
Tell us about yourself?
I have over 27 years of experience in broadcasting, journalism, marketing, public relations, and entrepreneurship. Before co-founding and building Wheelhouse Innovations into a multi-million-dollar company, I held posts at ABC Radio, CBS Television, USA Networks and Starz/Encore.
I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas, and my current position is Chief Operations Officer for Wheelhouse Innovations. I have been married to Julie Curtis, who is the CEO of Wheelhouse, for 23 years and I’m also a guitarist and a music historian.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
No 2 days are alike. Never say never. The highs are high and the lows are low, so try to find your equilibrium.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
It’s all about relationships and speaking of which, have a great relationship with a savvy accountant, banker and lawyer.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
Somewhat. Along with being married to my CEO, we have many family members that work for us. So, working is very fulfilling and like a family reunion every day. This gives me balance.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
It would be hard to pinpoint this because our company is so unique. We’re a marketing firm that manufactures and designs really cool stuff and we’re a manufacturing company that thinks like marketers.
Our front of house still acts in the manner a traditional marketing agency does, and our back of house is our printing, metal shop, wood shop, laser room and 3D printing.
We try not to outsource anything. So, I would say our influences come from mine and Julie’s (Wheelhouse CEO and my wife) parents.
My mother owned a dress shop and also a car lot and her entrepreneurial spirit rubbed off on me.
Julie has both and engineering brain as well as being super creative – that is definitely the blend of her parents.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Our CEO is the magic. I know, I know she’s my wife and my boss, but she has a wonderfully infectious spirit. She’s a brilliant businessperson. The room gets better when she walks in.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
If this sounds like a cliche’ then good, because it’s tried and true that relationships are the most important thing in business. It’s the foundation.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
Covid was a big challenge for everyone, but we did the “pivot” and built a completely new division to our business during that time – (manufacturing) – and it filled a need for our clients to provide things that were unavailable to them.
What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?
Texas is a can do state. Not to mention being in the center of the country, we can travel and ship efficiently.
Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?
Texas proud. Born and raised. I think it’s the most competitive state in the US. So I can’t really think of any disadvantages.
Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?
Many opportunities. We have grown 35% each of the last 2 years. It’s astronomical. And I don’t think the demographics have made much of an impact, I do know we’re blessed with some of the most talented people in the state.
It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?
No, internally, definitely not. Like I said before, our culture is a family atmosphere where everyone takes responsibility for their actions and respects one another.
With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?
Yes, everything is more expensive these days. Our plan is to be as competitive as possible and be a resource for our clients and be fair to them as well as ourselves. Keep our head on a swivel is what my Grandfather used to say…. meaning be ready for anything, keep a watchful eye on everything.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?
Growing our 3D Printing department into both the Government and Private sectors and having that be the leading division within our company.