Jag: The Next Generation

For a long time, only one person has been at work behind the scenes at Jag: Jeff Gundell. I’ve known Jeff for almost 29 years, but I’ve always just called him “Dad.” I was not quite three years old when my dad started Jag Forms. I don’t really remember much from those days, and to my small toddler memory, the birth of my younger brother was far more significant than the birth of the company I’d one day join.

The Jag team … way back in the day.

I grew up watching my dad get up, put on a tie, and head out to the office. Some times, my mom would take my brother and me in to visit him. Our favorite part was the warehouse, where he’d store palettes of business forms for his clients. My brother and I took turns giving each other rides on the rolling dolly, wheeling it around a business form obstacle course. I remember my dad handing over reams of extra paper for us to color on. I remember getting to go “shopping” in dad’s bins of promotional product samples.

When I was in high school, my dad ditched the office for our living room and traded in his neckties for t-shirts, flannel shirts, and Crocs. It was great having him work from home, and getting to spend more time hanging out with him — and learning a bit more about his business. As a teenager, I could better understand what he did: printing up all those forms for The Salvation Army. Ordering up crates of custom-embroidered sweatshirts for Sun Microsystems. Creating imprinted water bottles for Western Athletic Clubs.

But in all those years — from playing in the warehouse, to snagging an extra sweatshirt from his sample drawer — I never imagined working for my dad. With my dad. In place of my dad.

I went to college, graduated, and snagged a job writing and producing for the local morning TV news. It was a pretty cool job, and for a long time, I really loved it. But when the business (and the grueling overnight hours) left me burned out, I started exploring my options.

One I’d never really considered was working for my dad … until he asked: Would you ever want to take over Jag?

Dad had never considered this idea, either. But he was looking at his future. Retirement will come soon enough — don’t worry, it’s still at least ten years away — and he had to decide: let the business slow down as he reached retirement, or continue to build Jag up for the next generation.

It took a couple years of research and planning, but here I sit. An employee of Jag. Working with my dad. One day, I’ll take over the business and he’ll retire and his legacy will become mine. It’s a strange feeling, to be in this place, but it’s also a really great one.

Ever since starting, people will ask, “What’s it like working for your dad?” And the honest answer is that it’s the best thing ever. We’ve always had a close relationship, and working together has only made it better. Of course, he does keep pestering me to make quota … but I’m sure he’s more interested in my bottom line than his own. Because that’s what dad’s are for.

So welcome to the new generation of Jag … I can’t wait to do business with you!

– Sara, Dir. of Marketing and Sales (and Jeff’s daughter)

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jag Swag | Jag Forms - June 4, 2012

    […] promotional products to you, our clients, if we didn’t believe in using them ourselves. With the recent growth of our team, we implemented new marketing strategies. They include this shiny new website here, as well as the […]

  2. Excited About Doing Business (Again) | Jag Forms - November 26, 2013

    […] When Sara and I made the decision to turn Jag into a family business, my first thought, was that this meant I would have to really pay attention to all the rules that govern managers who run a business. While this is not difficult to do – after all, I have been doing it for about 30 years – it does require a certain amount of attention to detail that a single person entity can skip past without consequence. OK, not so much fun, but it’s part of the price we pay to turn our business into a lasting legacy that can & will survive our own retirement. […]

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