These 20-Under-40 Up-and-Coming Printing Industry Executives Share Their Success Stories
Tonya Kowa-Morelli, 34
Tonya Kowa-Morelli will be the first to admit that, as printing industry education and experience goes, there are still many opportunities for her to expand the frontiers of knowledge. Given the wealth of experience that surrounds Kowa-Morelli, there are plenty of resources to tap, as well.
"As president, I'm still in the early stages of learning, but I'm very open minded and motivated," Kowa-Morelli notes. "People here at Huston Patterson have a lot more experience and have been in industry a lot longer. So I am willing to listen and let people help me, rather than say we need to make changes or do something differently. I work well with people."
A 2001 graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, Kowa-Morelli didn't plan on getting into the family printing business. She'd graduated a few short months after 9/11 with a degree in broadcast journalism, but discovered that the entry way into sports broadcasting is extremely narrow. In the meantime, she decided to sell supplemental insurance for AFLAC, which she found to be challenging.
Around the time she started to investigate getting into a new line of business, she was contacted by her father, who advised of an opportunity that had became available at Huston Patterson. Kowa-Morelli honestly had not considered working for the family business; even in college, she had waited tables and worked at summer camps to earn extra money. Printing was not on Kowa-Morelli's radar, but it quickly grew on her.
"It's never the same; every project is different, every project we get with a new client is a different opportunity," she says. "There's variety all the time and it's ever-changing.
"We are very innovative, a forward-thinking company, which is exciting to me. Other companies have the same types of equipment, the same processes and are calling on the same people as us, but it's our employees who make the difference and help us stand apart from competition."