By Jennifer Erb
2016-08-252016-09-01https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
Bill Fuchs had valuable advice from his father prior to starting college: “Avoid a career where you work for someone else,” Bills father owned his own company and hoped that Bill would be able to create his own business as well. Bill decided to study Industrial Engineering because it would give him both the business and technical education he would need.
Bill did well in college. He had two internships at Johnson and Johnson and decided to join J&J when he graduated. He worked for 3 years at J&J to get experience in how a business operates.
Bill began his entrepreneurial career when he joined Willinger Brothers, a manufacturer of aquarium products. Willinger was a small company that gave Bill the opportunity to see all aspects of a business. Bill eventually earned a minority share of the business as he was an integral part in growing the business from $2 million to $50 million during Bill’s tenure at Willinger. The business eventually sold to Warner Lambert which eventually become Pfizer. Bill stayed on in order to transition the Plant shutdown and move the operations to Blacksburg, Virgina.
Bills success at Willinger gave him the desire to purchase a business. He partnered with others to purchase Middle Atlantic Partners, a company that manufactures support and protection products for the Commercial A/V, Security, Broadcast and Residential markets. When asked about the investment Bill went “all in” to acquire the business. “Looking back”, Bill says, “I was probably foolish to take such a risk.”
The investment paid off as Bill grew the business from $6 million to $140 million annual revenues. He and his partners sold the business after 15 years. “I could have retired at age 52”, Bill says. Bill stayed with the business and continues to be involved in all phases of its operations.
When asked what a toll being an entrepreneur had on his personal life, Bill comments that his three sons have had a very different experience with him. “For the first three years of the business, I was working 7 days a week,” Bill says. “I wasn’t around much for my youngest son.” Never took a vacation for the first 5 years trying to drive the business growth.
While Bill is now working for someone else, the new owners have given him a lot of operational freedom. Will Bill eventually buy another business and start again? Only time will tell.
Bill Fuchs is an entrepreneurial leader with a track record of growing small business into highly successful businesses with significant revenues.
Bill began his career with Johnson and Johnson. He joined Willinger Brothers, a producer of aquarium products after 3 years with Johnson Controls. He had an ownership position with Willinger.
Bill left Willinger Brothers after being there 9 years. Along with partners, he acquired Middle Atlantic Products, an electronics company. Eventually Bill and his partners sold Middle Atlantic Products. He remains at Middle Atlantic Products as its Vice President of Operations. He has responsibility for all aspects of operations including manufacturing, supply chain, and human resources.
Bill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University in 1981.