Star City Six – Jeff Johnson
Based in Omaha and serving clients in a three-state area including Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado, Mil-tek Central is an exclusive distributor for Mil-tek DK, a company that has manufactured safe, small footprint, pneumatic baling and trash compaction equipment for the last 25 years. Jeff Johnson is the co-owner and CEO of Mil-tek Central (www.miltekusa.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
We provide businesses of all sizes equipment that is environmentally conscious in that the power source is compressed air and the safety record is spotless. We work with a wide variety of industries helping them recycle, save money, and create a more efficient workplace. Mil-tek Central also tries to bring together the complete solution by partnering with local recyclers to collect the material.
How did you get started in the business?
My wife and I were operating the Prometric Testing Center in Omaha, but we didn’t own the business, so we were looking for another business opportunity. We were looking for something we could call our own, but not be in the usual franchise business model. In doing research, we came across Mil-tek’s exclusive distributorship opportunity and felt that recycling/sustainability were areas that were going to become more and more relevant for businesses in the US. We also felt that the pneumatics, small footprint, and safety record would set the equipment apart.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Starting this new business and catching up on all the different social marketing approaches, understanding how people are buying today versus even 10 years ago, and defining markets to prioritize.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
I don’t know if this is the most important but one of the most satisfying experiences I had was being part of a small software company and seeing it grow to a point where most federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were using our product and it essentially was a standard throughout the industry. The experience was awesome and the people I worked with were great.
Tell us a little about your family.
My wife Dianna and I own and operate Mil-tek Central and have been married for 5 years. We have four kids: Will, Carly, Dustan, and Dana. Dustan and Dana are married and we have 6 grandchildren between them so that keeps us very busy. Carly is going to dental school in the fall of 2018 at UNMC and Will travels quite a bit working on a construction crew.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I’m a UNL alum and lifelong Husker fan so following sports, especially during football season, does take up some weekend time. I also enjoy golfing, skiing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
My great-great grandfather Luther French was the first settler of Sutton, NE and our family’s one claim to fame. Given the sparse building materials on the plains, the family’s housing consisted of a “dugout” that was literally built into the bank of a stream. In the summer Sutton still has the annual “Dugout Days” celebration.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Treat your customer the way you would want to be treated.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Taking Care of Business by BTO.
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