LEADERSHIP LOWDOWN Jay Feitlinger Founder and CEO with StringCan Interactive and Charlie Hess President of St Clair Technologies
StringCan Interactive, located in Scottsdale, Arizona is a growing online marketing agency that has twice earned the “Best Places to Work” award in Phoenix. They are passionate about helping grow businesses that sell products and services to families, such as swim schools, gymnastics facilities, and fitness clubs.
Consumers live in a busy world, filled with millions of messages from billions of people. It’s easy for businesses to get lost and even lose contact with their customers. While connecting the right people at the right time may be difficult, it can be done. At StringCan, they believe in simplifying and focusing on building valuable and meaningful relationships between businesses and their customers.
They know customers want to be heard as much as they want to communicate with them. So they keep communication as simple as two cans and a string. Multi-location businesses in particular understand the importance of presenting a seamless brand experience and consistency in communication. They step in to help discover and resolve online company obstacles and fine tuning the brand experience by personalizing for each local market. They specialize in creating a strategy that connects the company with their localized customers and connecting brands with their ideal customers through strategic inbound marketing.
Jay Feitlinger, serial entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of StringCan Interactive, his 8th company, which is a strategic online marketing agency in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since StringCan’s launch in 2010, Jay oversees strategy and vision, building culture that makes going into work something his team looks forward to, recruiting additional team members to help exceed clients’ goals, leading the team and allocating where StringCan invests time and money. One of Jay’s proudest accomplishments is earning Phoenix’s Best Places To Work award, on two occasions, recognizing StringCan for its dedication to its staff personal and professional development.
Practicing what he preaches around helping companies stay focused, Jay has positioned StringCan to help grow businesses that cater to families, such as health clubs, swim schools and gymnastic schools, frequently multi-location companies with their inbound marketing and online advertising needs. This commitment has earned multi-year contracts with large family-oriented companies such as The Little Gym with over 250 locations and GameTruck with over 175 locations.
Through years of experience, trial and error, success and failure, heartache and joy, Jay has found that our professional and personal lives are not in fact separate entities. In fact, it’s only when our home lives thrive that our businesses can be free to thrive too. And this is a truth that every entrepreneur deserves to hear. In 2015, Jay took the lessons he has learned from his last 8 businesses and created a 4-day family retreat to help entrepreneurs and business executives who desire more out of their family lives. The results of this process helped Jay with his own family issues and as he shared the process with others, he was inspired to have his first book published, FAMILY 2.0: Harness Business Principles to Reboot your Family in 4 Days, which focuses on helping entrepreneurs strengthen their families – and in turn strengthen their businesses.
At St. Clair Technologies, we take pride in listening to our customers’ needs and how they want to do business. “Full Service” and “Partnership” are not just jargon or buzz-words to us. We realize your success depends on our ability to respond to change, to deliver quality and reliability and to reduce manufacturing costs. From a simple connector to a complete wire harness system, let us put our ability and experience to work for you.
Charlie Hess was born in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada, and enjoyed playing Canada’s 2 national sports: hockey and lacrosse, growing-up in the small town where St. Clair Technologies Inc. (SCT) originated. He graduated from The University of Waterloo, Ontario, in 1994 with degrees in Business, and Environmental Science & Resource Management. He began his career in the family business after graduation, with plans to continue his education focusing on Environmental Law. Before he could return to a post-graduate program, SCT requested a volunteer to relocate to Mexico in order to greenfield the company’s first international division. Charlie answered this call, and while his ability to speak Spanish was non-existent, his background in manufacturing had been developed over several years of employment in numerous positions working for the company he now partly-owned.
In the summer of 1996, Charlie and a small crew from the Canadian Operation opened a plant in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico. Having only 4 direct employees in the beginning, the learning curve was steep in this developing nation, but soon a profitable 2-shift operation was growing under his guidance. SCT needed second manufacturing location to manage growth, and after 4 years a facility in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, was constructed. Through a partnership with The Offshore Group (of Tucson, AZ, USA) SCT expanded into automotive and non-automotive electrical system manufacturing in Mexico. Several US Tier 1, and OEM customers were being supplied with electrical harness system utilizing a just-in-time, and in some cases a ship-to-vin sequence process. Under the mentorship of Dave Thomas, President of SCT, and former President of Stoneridge’s harness division: Alphabet (a major competitor to SCT), Charlie expanded his management of the company to include all manufacturing operations, which totaled 4 plants through most of the 1990’s. He was responsible for many facets of the business, and became a driving force behind
the Shareholders’ decision making.
In 2005, he became SCT’s President, and took on all facets of the company’s directions, including: operations, sales, marketing, P&L, asset management and strategic plan development. Since that time, the company’s overall revenue has increased by 225%, and profitability has been successfully maintained through the automotive crash in 2009/10, and into the past 7 years of stable economic growth in the US automotive marketplace. Charlie’s vision is to continue investing in technology and developing his management team to ensure that SCT has a bright future.
The Leadership Lowdown was created to share the REAL story behind valley leaders’ rise to the top, and the truth about what it takes to TRULY succeed in life and business. Hear the raw stories of these leaders’ journeys…the pitfalls, the victories, and all of the heartaches and triumphs in between.
ABOUT YOUR HOST
Jodi Low is an accomplished corporate trainer, inspirational speaker, and the Founder and CEO of U & Improved. Jodi has trained thousands of entrepreneurs and executives on how to build a booming business, master a mindset for success, and achieve the lifestyle they desire through heart-fueled leadership.
Through U & Improved—an award-winning personal and professional leadership development company based in Scottsdale—Jodi has redefined traditional leadership training by creating a sustainable and actionable model that is personal, challenging and meaningful to each and every individual who enrolls in any of the two-and-a-half-day experiential training classes. She and her elite training team have advanced the charge in heart-based leadership
development and empower U & Improved graduates with knowledge, tools and awareness to immediately be more effective and responsive leaders at work, home and within their communities.
Among her many accomplishments as a Valley leader, Jodi launched a teen leadership program in 2014 to empower young adults to become more confident, motivated and focused stewards of our future. In 2016, she founded a non-profit arm of the company—the U & Improved Leadership Foundation—that makes the program more accessible to deserving teens.
Jodi has been recognized by industry publications and organizations for her work in leadership development and serves as a source of inspiration within the community. In 2015, she was honored as an “Outstanding Women in Business” by the Phoenix Business Journal and by the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona with the “Amazing Women” award. She has received both the prestigious “Diversity Leader of the Year” and the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce’s “Sterling Award.” She was also awarded a Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 and was a finalist for the Junior League of Phoenix’s Valley Impact Award. Jodi is a devoted single parent who volunteers her time at her daughters’ school programs and with organizations such as Angel Mamas, where she’s served on the board for three years.