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Client Spotlight Tom Andrews of Turning Star

SPOTLIGHT – We are always awed by the great folks we get to work with.  We’d like to introduce to you some of them here…. 

Today’s Spotlight – Tom Andrews of Turning Star – ZümiFi client since 2007

Melinda loves working with Tom!  Tom is a big thinker, and loves to geek out analyzing his business, making our collaboration fun and productive!  We’ve made some significant changes over the years, and done so with that rare combination of planning and entrepreneurial leaps of faith.  So a little bit about Tom …

Tom is the president and has more than 25 years of experience working in the fire retardant industry. He is certified by the New York City Fire Department and the California State Fire Marshall and is a member of National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council.

Client Spotlight Tom Andrews of Turning StarTurning Star, Inc. is a privately owned a flame retardant product manufacturer and fire resistance service company. The company manufactures flame retardant chemicals for use in industrial applications, as well as fabrics and decorations. Their flame resistance services include treatment, testing, certification, consultation, and training.

Their flame retardants have gained recognition across the country for their high quality, ease of application and non-toxicity. Turning Star products and services are endorsed by fire safety and fire enforcement officials across America.

Which three words would you use to describe yourself?

Tom: Optimistic. Insightful. Generous

What was the worst job you have ever had?

Tom: The job I disliked the most at the time was in college. I worked as a midnight-8:00 am stocker at a grocery store. The schedule really threw me off, but the job itself was not terrible at all.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most? Why?

Tom: Waking up and having coffee. It’s a very peaceful and calm time.

What is the last thing you read?

Tom: I’m reading Noam Chomsky’s – Who Rules the World. He is a brilliant writer with a point of view that really resonates with me. The main premise is to describe how the US is a large imperial power, and how capitalism as an imperial power necessitates wielding influence over resources (like oil). This identity as an imperial power has simultaneously eroded our democratic constraints on power, leaving corporations to the rich to increasingly act as they please.

Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?

Tom: I didn’t really want to be an entrepreneur per se. I wanted to work for myself. I had no big plans to create a big company and go public. I was interested in taking control in my life and wanted to make enough money in the process.

Why did you start working with ZümiFi?

Tom: Like many people who start their own business, I’m good at what I do, I started working for myself, and the business sort of grew up around me. At a certain point, I realized that I wanted to do a little bit more with the business, especially in terms of managing the financial side to benefit the operational side, and luckily I knew that I could do better with input from someone else. I didn’t want to commit to hiring a CFO, and ZümiFi’s weekly consulting model fit very well with me.

Are you running your business differently now than you did before? If so, what are the changes?

Tom: On one hand, yes, things are different. On another hand, no, I’m still the same person and the company reflects my approach to doing business. Well, maybe things have tightened up a bit. I’d say the main difference is that I used do work for people, get paid, pay my employees, bills, etc. Most months we’d make a profit, some months we didn’t. At the end of the year, it was OK, but nothing was really planned. Now, we do a very detailed financial budget for all our expenses and income and compare the budgeted income against past years’ actuals.

And that’s a change?

Tom: After many years of doing this, our budgeting is more and more accurate every year. If anything, we’re sometimes surprised by an increase in sales, then we analyze how that happened, and if it’s repeatable or not. Our customers aren’t on contracts with repeating sales each month. And we look at how to increase sales, and actively plan for that. After a few years of working with them, I wish I had started earlier.

Client Spotlight Tom Andrews of Turning Star