About Matt Johnson
Managing Partner, Spinstak Growth Agency
Matt Johnson is a Business and Marketing Strategist who works with industrial entrepreneurs to grow their business, drive positive change, and build a legacy that stands the test of time. After 15 years of branding, marketing, and developing new products for an international safety manufacturing company, Matt knows first-hand what it takes to grow a thriving industrial supply business – and it’s not the status quo. It’s about embracing change, leveraging technology, and delivering an amazing omnichannel customer experience.
In 2015, Matt became the Managing Partner of Safety Marketing Services, a specialized design firm in Central Florida serving industrial distributors and manufacturers worldwide. Since then, he has helped dozens of clients embrace technology change and grow their business.
Matt has spoken on marketing strategy and industrial supply innovation for several industrial buying groups including SafetyNetwork.me and NetPlus Alliance. Matt is also a member of the Industrial Supply Association. His thought leadership content can be watched, listened, or read at The Takeover Blog. His regular podcast, The Takeover has over 5,000 subscribers of industry executives and owners. In addition to his extensive marketing and leadership experience, Matt is a trained business coach and marketing consultant.
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My Grandparents: The Original Industrial Entrepreneurs
Our family legacy started in 1948 when a beautiful Irish lass married a scrappy English lad in the lake country of Ontario, Canada.
My grandparents, Ron & Veronica Johnson were the founders of several small ventures before entering the industrial supply world in 1958 when my grandfather became a regional sales rep for Fibre-Metal (now Honeywell) hard hats and welding helmets.
Safety Distribution Is In My Blood
In 1969, Ron & Veronica took a major leap of faith by opening their own safety equipment distribution business, Armour Protection Supplies, in the basement of their house in Georgetown, Ontario. While calling on industrial end-users, Ron noticed a need for custom safety signage and facility identification equipment, but the local sign guys were not up for the challenge. That gave him an idea…
In 1976, Ron & Veronica sold their distribution business, purchased some sign manufacturing equipment, and moved to Port Richey, Florida to open Accuform Signs. They invited their sons, David first and later Wayne, to move down and help them start the business.
Accuform: Inform, Protect, And Motivate The Global Workforce
Accuform moved to Brooksville, Florida in 1982 (about 45 miles north of Tampa) and steadily grew under the budding leadership of my uncle, Dave Johnson and my father, Wayne Johnson.
Rapid Growth And The Passing Of The Torch
In less than 20 years, Accuform had become the industry leader in custom identification products for the industrial safety market. Ron & Veronica retired in 1995 and turned over the reigns of the business to Wayne and Dave. Their parting words were jokingly, “don’t screw it up!”
Dave and Wayne really took that to heart.
They grew the small business into one of the most recognized brands in safety.
Through tireless innovation, investment in technology, and a commitment to deliver world-class customer service, Accuform has grown into a thriving enterprise.
Today, Accuform boasts an impressive catalog of over 100,000 safety and identification products that inform, protect, and motivate the global workforce.
The Prodigal Son Returns To The Family Business
Every story has some drama, and mine came early. After college and a failed golf career, I reluctantly joined the family enterprise my grandfather started and my father grew. Even though I was grateful for the opportunity, my heart just wasn’t in the family business. I partied my days away, and in many other ways, acted like a spoiled brat. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was Tommy Boy, Bill Madison, and Happy Gilmore all rolled up into one outrageous character.
Things changed radically in 2005 when I met my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I wasn’t looking for Him, but He has a plan for me. I am eternally grateful for that plan because it included marrying my best friend, Brittany, in 2006, adopting her 1-year-old son, and finally getting serious about being the best designer, writer, and project manager I could be.
My newfound Protestant work-ethic and ambition led me through a series of experiences in various positions within the family business- from manufacturing, data-entry, and graphic design to management, marketing, and new product development. I excelled in each role and eventually was asked to join the Board of Directors.
Safety Marketing Transformation
In 2014, during our annual strategic planning meeting, the issue of Safety Marketing Services was brought up. Accuform’s sister company, founded in 2003, had atrophied over the years and was on the brink of being permanently shut down. It was in that meeting when the “entrepreneurial bug” first bit me. I asked the ownership to let me “take over.”
In 2015, I began the process of transformation from the ground up. My goal was to learn as much as I possibly could about digital marketing and then introduce these services to a traditional marketing agency and an industry that desperately needed them. I put together the team and got to work.
Introducing Spinstak Growth Agency
In 2018, the transformation had come full circle. We re-branded the agency, calling our firm Spinstak. We had become more than safety, more than marketing, and more than services. We’ve been blessed with four years of double-digit growth under my management. But, it hasn’t come without a cost. I’ve had my share of failed products and turnover. I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time about winning and losing gracefully.
Today, I’m still learning, transforming, and driving change for my own brand and others in our industry. Spinstak is most-recognized creative agency dedicated to industrial supply. By following my heart, I’ve learned that legacy is not a destination, it’s a lifestyle. One that stands the test of time.
We help industrial Davids defeat Goliath through personalized eCommerce websites, turnkey catalog development, and integrated digital marketing.
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