Member Spotlight on AJ Jania of Diamond Envelope Corporation
CFBC: What year was your company founded?
AJ: July 2, 1984
CFBC: Tell us a little bit of the history behind the company.
AJ: My father, Alan Jania founded the company with two other partners, the plant manager and the office manager, who have since retired. Diamond Envelope Corporation is an envelope manufacturing company focusing on direct mail and statement fulfillment applications. Alan’s first job was a bookkeeper at Transo Envelope Company. With a good solid work ethic, he climbed the ranks and eventually felt there wasn't enough room for him to grow. He decided to leave and became a partner with Royal Envelope. He was with Royal Envelope for about 3-4 years and because of business differences about growth and the company’s future, he decided to leave and start his own company in 1984. I joined the company in 1990 full time. We are a three shift, seven day a week operation. We have clients throughout the continental United States and focus on direct mail with creative and impactful printing designs.
CFBC: What family members work with you in the business?
AJ: My father, Alan Jania, and my brother, Michael Jania, joined the company in 1995. My sister, Susan Jania, is also in the company and she joined in 2008.
CFBC: How did you hear about the CFBC and what motivated you to join?
AJ: I heard about the CFBC through my father and my sister. Diamond Envelope looked into the CFBC when they were still at UIC but didn’t decide to join. Alan received a call from Judy last spring and she came out and met with him. The motivation for us to join was so that we could get some outside perspectives on different business concepts. Our whole life has been Diamond Envelope with little outside experience and influence.
CFBC: How has CFBC helped your company succeed?
AJ: We’ve only been members since March. So far, it’s helping Diamond to change or establish some new business models that hadn’t been previously looked at.
CFBC: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your experience with your forum?
AJ: The most rewarding aspect of my experience is that, through the executive retreat and meetings, I’ve been able to gather information and I have learned there are possibilities for greater success. I’ve also learned that there are many different roads and perspectives/methods to achieve success.
CFBC: Is there one thing you have learned from being a member of CFBC that has impacted your business or your life the most?
AJ: I’m already taking what I learned from forum and the executive retreat and applying it to my business. I’m learning that as a family business owner you need to concentrate more on working on the business instead of in the business. Work is not the only thing in life; you have to enjoy life and family outside of the business as well.
CFBC: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
AJ: I enjoy coaching and volunteering with my kids' sports activities as well as attending all their games and cheering them on.
CFBC: Name one person who had the biggest impact on you as a leader.
AJ: I would have to say my father. I grew up with him in the business; he taught me a strong work ethic, which I continue to follow every day. I also have many colleagues that have achieved success and I take their strong points and model after them.
CFBC: Describe your ideal customer.
AJ: My ideal customer is loyal and collaborates with Diamond as a partner versus just giving orders. They view us as part of a team process to produce a product that achieves success and results through direct mail.
CFBC: How does your Company celebrate successes?
AJ: Diamond Envelope celebrates successes with an annual customer appreciation day every summer. Every year we have an annual Christmas party. Everyone is rewarded for results and successes. We’ll host various lunches throughout the year for good production days and super sales days
CFBC: What was your first job?
AJ: This was my first job. I started, in May of 1986, part-time in the plant, in the shipping and receiving area. Then I moved into accounting full time in 1990 and then sales. Now I am Vice-President of Sales.
CFBC: Do you have a favorite song?
AJ: I have two favorite songs:
Back in Black by AC/DC (my favorite group)
Volcano by Jimmy Buffet
CFBC: What one book would you recommend to your fellow CFBC members?
AJ: Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch
CFBC: What are your plans for the future?
AJ: Our plans for the future are to find ways to make our business more profitable but achieving better manufacturing results and creating greater profit margins in sales though added value customer service. We will look to grow in other businesses that support or mirror our current operation.