Doug Sayer, Co-Founder of Premier Technology, joins us for episode 8 of Artists, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs (ae2). In the episode, Doug teaches us about the importance of specialized knowledge, a burning desire, and having an enormous stomach for risk when starting a new business.
As a young man, Doug rode his motorcycle from Wisconsin to Idaho and never looked back. He first started out doing custodial work and maintenance in the food processing industry. While working in the maintenance department, he learned and developed the specialized skill that helped him to establish Premier Technology: welding. After a decade of working in food processing, Doug left to spend more time outdoors and start his first business, an outfitting company that took customers on hunting trips. It was there that he met the mentor that inspired him to start Premier Technology.
Doug saw himself at a crossroads and said to himself, "if you can take something that you love and be an entrepreneur and own your own business, that would be ideal." In the offseason from his outfitting business, he had worked at various companies as a contract employee welding. In these jobs, he saw that there was room in the market for a company that did things differently and cared about its relationship with customers and employees.
Premier Technology is a diverse company that builds metal fabrication for a variety of industries, but the one that has made the greatest impact on its success is the nuclear industry. The key to success, he says, is to get into an industry with extraordinary barriers to entry. To be an entrepreneur, Doug explains, you have to have an enormous stomach for risk. After establishing that "burning desire," you have to decide what you are and aren't willing to sacrifice for success. As you're making decisions for your business, you have to ask, if you lost everything tomorrow, if your business failed, would you be okay?
Watch the interview below to learn more about how to hire the right people and Doug's opinion on whether or not a college degree matters.
ae2 is a web-series from Hiller Measurements is a long-form interview-style program that explores thought leaders at the “business end” of companies, creative works, and research. In each episode, Hiller Measurements’ President Jeff Olsen explores the creative drive, personal motivations, and stories of perseverance of visionaries who are still “in the hunt.”
Through ae2, our aim is to find the business model in the engineering mind, the drive and technique a gifted artist is developing, and the impact for good that outweighs the personal risk taken on by bold business creators. Overall, the goal of our series is to inspire viewers to step out, build, and create.