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Manufacturing Maverick, Jack Russell
Episode #001

Entrepreneurship is Never a Straight Line

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Greg McHale, the CEO of Datanomix, kicks off the first episode of Manufacturing Mavericks by interviewing Rolar Products CEO Jack Russell. Jack shares his unconventional path from a kid in Muskegon tinkering on a homemade mini bike to buying a 3-person machine shop with his 401k. Jack talks about the importance of creating a great company culture, technology’s role in his success, collaborating with competitors, and how he empowers his employees to help grow the business.

In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • Tinkering on a minibike (3:32)
  • Jack’s first job in manufacturing (8:41)
  • Igniting a fire in the belly (11:07)
  • Unexpected benefits of working 2nd shift (14:37)
  • Jack loses his job and pivots (19:38)
  • Getting back into manufacturing (21:02)
  • Learning the good and the bad of running a company (25:53)
  • Jack cashes out his 401k to buy a company (27:17)
  • How Jack leverages his competition to help grow the business (31:15)
  • Building a great company culture (36:15)
  • Investing in technology (42:39)
  • How to get employees to help you make more money (54:31)
  • Advice for just starting out (59:02)

“If you expect your employees to help you make more money in your business, and they don’t understand how your business makes money, why are you asking them to help you?”

—Jack Russell, Owner, Rolar Products

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