Getting Started

I have been asked many times how it came about that I started a new company when I should be thinking about retirement.  Over the next several posts you can read my story.

To get the full story I have to go back to my days as the Director of Corporate Credit for American Tool Companies (ATC) in Lincoln, NE.  It was truly an excellent company with quality Nebraska made products and a strong Nebraska history.  ATC was purchased by Newell Rubbermaid and as often happens when a company is purchased by a big conglomerate, things change and middle managers like myself are phased out.  After 12 years at ATC I found myself looking for another opportunity.

Through my professional networking I had become very well acquainted with the former VP of Credit for Black & Decker whose previous boss now worked for Overhead Door Corporation (OHD) in Dallas TX.  Overhead Door’s VP of Credit had just resigned and they were looking for a replacement.  Greg contacted Ed to see if he could recommend someone and Ed told him that ATC had just been acquired by Newell and I would probably be available.  We got together, and a long story made short, I decided that the warm Texas weather sounded pretty good compared to Nebraska winters and agreed to join them.  I told my children I was going down to convert all those heathen Longhorns to Big Red Fans.

I worked for OHD for over 12 years and enjoyed my time in Texas but the problem was all my children and family remained in Lincoln, my son’s were getting married and having grandchildren and I was way down in Texas.  Every spare trip was to come back to Lincoln to see family.  I had been in the corporate world for over 30 years and my financial advisor once told me you need something to retire to, not to retire from.  I asked myself what I wanted to do when I grew up and decided it wasn’t going to be working for a big company anymore.

I had graduated from UNL with my BS and MBA degrees, I had raised my family in Lincoln, and all my family was still in Lincoln so I was looking for something that would get me back to Lincoln.  At my age I knew it would be hard to find something I truly wanted to retire to so figured I would have to create something.  My stepson Mike had always stated he wanted to start his own screen printing business someday so I approached Mike in February 2014 during one of our trips back to Nebraska and asked him if I decided to start my own company would he be able to get a talented production staff together to make it successful.  He had been in screen printing for over 15 years and knew just the right people.  Mike brought with him two very talented screen printing graphic artist with over 25 years combined experience, a great screen maker/maintenance individual with over 15 years experience, and my other stepson with over 6 years of embroidery experience joined us.  They made up the talent while I supplied the financing and the guidance and we incorporated in April 2014.

Fortunately the real estate market was very active in the Dallas area so my wife Cathy and I were able to sell our house in 3 days, closed on the sale and moved back to Lincoln the middle of June 2014.  We took possession of our warehouse/manufacturing space at 1060 N 33rd on July 1 and produced our first shirt on August 1.





About Mark Wittmann

BS Business Administration UNL
Previous Employment, Snyder Industries Lincoln NE
American Tool Companies Lincoln NE
Overhead Door Corporation Dallas TX
President Tag Ink & Thread Lincoln