Chapter 10: Young Turk

It was a beautiful spring morning and the last of western Massachusetts’s snow had melted away. The forsythia was in full bloom, the first daffodils were nodding their yellow heads and a thin blanket of deep green was returning to the countryside.

Tyler Young enjoyed his short commute each morning. It was beautiful and gave him a chance to mentally review his priorities for the day. Today Tyler felt a little more relaxed and let his thoughts wander. There had been a board meeting yesterday and a company retreat was in the works. He felt good about the ways things were going at W.F. Young Company.

Wilbur F. Young III

Tyler pulled into the company parking lot, killing the ignition and sitting for a moment, lost in thought. Hard to believe it had been more than two decades since his Dad died and Tyler took the helm at the age of 27. A University of Massachusetts grad with a degree in Business Administration and Management, Tyler had inherited command of a ship with a strong history, but he quickly found plenty he had to offer.

Bill Young’s strengths had been an engineering background, a can-do approach to everything and fantastic people skills. He’d added some excellent equine products to the company’s portfolio and had a real flair for advertising. Don Smith, who’d been Bill’s right hand for many years, was instrumental in helping Tyler get his footings as he unexpectedly took his seat at the head of the table.

Once he had a chance to settle in and survey the landscape, Tyler had seen strategic opportunities: They were a family company driven by strong values, but lacking modern corporate structures that he felt would strengthen the business in the long term. He had been instituting best practices and articulating those values as part of their corporate mission ever since. And he’d added some excellent people to the board.

Tyler Young 

Tyler grabbed his briefcase and coffee, pushing the car door out with his knee. It was breezy with a lingering winter chill in the air that made him wish he’d worn an overcoat.

“You’re gonna get pneumonia like that,” a familiar voice barked behind him.

“Morning, Adam. I was just thinking the same thing,” Bill said shaking his head. “Brrrrrr. So much for springtime!”

Adam Raczkowski’s arrival at the company had given Tyler a lift — in a way, it had provided him with his own Don Smith. Though he and Adam were very different, they balanced each other nicely. Tyler felt freed up to be more entrepreneurial. He often felt he was a lot like the original Wilbur F. Young, a salesman at heart. With Adam focusing on the finances — first as an accountant, then as comptroller, then as CFO and recently as president — Tyler could continue in his role as CEO to focus on other partnerships and expansion opportunities.

Adam was a great foil. “Act by fact,” he liked to say, and it had served to counter some of Tyler’s more ambitious schemes, which he appreciated. Some companies had people running them who aimed for entrepreneurial, while still being practical. That was one way to do it but it seemed … a little self-defeating maybe? With Adam on board, Tyler felt he could be more visionary, more focused on the upside because Adam would always be there to run the numbers, ask the right questions and poke holes in the more whimsical parts. They made a great team.

Adam Raczkowski

Now they were on the verge of a very big move: refocusing the business on equine and animal care, which would mean selling the Absorbine, Jr business.

“After you,” Adam said, holding the door open for Tyler. “See you in the conference room in 10?”

Find the complete series on the history of Absorbine® here!

W.F. Young, Inc. is a marketer of many top equine brands, including ShowSheen® Hair Polish and Detangler, UltraShield® Insecticide and Repellant, Hooflex® and Horseman’s One Step® Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.

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