Since co-founding Kuat Innovations in 2008, President Luke Kuschmeader has worked to grow the company from a one-man operation into a 25-member team, designing an increasing number of automotive bike racks and accessories.
“It has always been my goal to have a company that doesn’t just have superior products, but that also creates a company culture that is enjoyable and nurtures creativity and individual pride,” he says.
Continuing to grow and add products, Kuschmeader says Kuat will soon break ground on a new office and warehouse. And although not mandated by the Affordable Care Act, the company recently added health insurance to its benefits. In giving back, Kuschmeader says he’s mentored several entrepreneurs that are beginning a similar startup journey.
What was your professional aha moment? I was hiking with my wife in Colorado and I felt really inspired and empowered to take the risk and pursue Kuat with focused effort. The fear of failing was eclipsed by the excitement of possibility.
What is your best productivity hack? Hire talented people and let them do what they are good at.
What historical figure do you identify with most? I have a lot of admiration for John Muir and his fight for conservation. I think our national parks are invaluable.
Top secret alias if you worked for the CIA? Luke Smith – it would be a nice break from writing Kuschmeader.
Local medical marijuana dispensaries must find ways to get creative with their marketing in light of industry advertising regulations released this summer by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.