Get a peek into the lives of our members with The Faces of ADP™. Meet Mike Wier, General Manager of Northern Directory Publishing.
One-on-One With the General Manager of Northern Directory Publishing
ADP readers are anxious to learn more about what makes Mike Wier tick. Let’s start with your insights following the ADP Publisher Summit in Nashville that transpired just a month ago.
Following the summit, what takeaways were you able to bring back to your company, Northern Directory Publishing?
Nashville was a great place to hold the summit. The food and evening activities were top-notch, and the city certainly lived up to its reputation of “Music City.” This summit was one of the most productive for me and I left with a long list of to-do’s. Some takeaways were big, like utilizing the ADP Trusted Local Directory and listing database, or banding together to fight AT&T’s listing price increase. But there was a host of small ideas from publishers and vendors attending that will make big improvements to our company. One for me was Andrew talking about sendoutcards.com. That may not seem especially groundbreaking to most, but it solves a pesky problem for me. Can’t wait to get back together with everyone again. Dismantling the competition on the golf course with Cindi was a sweet additional bonus!
What convinced you to join the Association as a progressive move forward for Northern Directory Publishing?
We were members for years and I really enjoyed attending the conferences, but in the mid 2000’s our company underwent major restructuring and we dropped our membership. When that was behind us, I wanted to join ADP again – and that’s when Brent Cooper of CPC Publishing called me. He said he was running for the board and needed me to join so I could vote for him. That’s all the nudge I needed. Help out a good friend and re-join an organization that I loved. That’s a win-win and a decision I’ve never regretted. Thanks Brent!
You took a road trip to attend the Publisher Summit with fellow ADP members Rance Walls and Mark Smith.While on the trip, what directory publishing issues did you discuss and what did you get to learn about one another – and did you have fun?
We did. Rance and I flew to Dallas, Mark picked us up and we shared the 10-hour drive to Nashville. It was our version of Carpool Karaoke. We talked yellow pages for hours, sick right? But we helped each other work through several problems right from the road. Definitely time not wasted. With Mark and Rance trouble is never far away, but one of the golden rules of being a yellow page road warrior is what happens on the road, stays on the road. Let’s just say I’ll never be able to hear Trisha Yearwood’s “Wrong Side of Memphis” without calling Mark or Rance! Plus, I did learn that Mark is a connoisseur and collector of skid steer loaders.
Thank you, Mike, for sharing your ADP Publisher Summit trip and insights!
We have a couple of questions about your day gig that we’re sure ADP readers would be interested in.
What do you think is possibly the biggest challenge facing directory publishing businesses today?
Convincing people we aren’t dead. We all experience it and we’re all fighting to stay relevant.
What do you think is the best business decision you ever made?
In Northern Directory Publishing’s early days we printed our directories as well as published them. Keep in mind what directories looked like in the ’80s and ’90s, pretty simple compared to today’s Excellence Award winners. We hit a spot in the mid 2000’s where we needed to make a MAJOR investment in capital if we ever hoped of keeping up with the quality from ADP’s print vendors, and it just didn’t make sense to me. So, in 2006 we sold our print facility to Gannett. We all remember what happened in 2008. I looked like a genius but it was a case of better to be lucky than good.
What part of your job do you love the most?
I’ve always joked if I didn’t have customers and employees, I would have the greatest job in the world, but that’s the exact opposite of how I feel. I work with a fantastic group of people whom I am lucky to have known and who have enriched my life in so many ways. The part of the job that I am addicted to is the thrill of the sale. Even after 20+ years in the business, I love chasing sales.
Thank you, Mike, for sharing these insights with ADP readers. Now for a few more questions to give us an insight to the man that is Mike Wier.
As a huge golfing enthusiast, are there any analogies you have between golf, business, or life?
Playing a round of golf with business associates is the best way to get to know someone. The golf course is a great place to conduct serious interviews. You find out if they are competitive or easy-going, if they have a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves or if they are serious, how they handle failure and best of all, if they are honest. Cheat at golf, cheat at business!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was young, I always saw myself being an inventor of things like Post-it Pads or cell phones, a modern-day Leonardo DaVinci. I guess I’m still waiting to grow up!
Now that we know what you wanted to be, we’d like to know what job wouldn’t suit you, and why. So, what do you think would be the worst job for you to have?
I would be a horrible police officer. I just wouldn’t have a good temperament for the job. I am way too easy-going, not a strict rule follower, and see too much gray in what should be clear-cut decisions. I would let too many things slip by and then turn into Dirty Harry when I finally had too much. My wife was the cop in our house when our kids were growing up and I was way too comfortable telling the kids to ask your mother.
Have you ever won anything?
Best thing I ever won was a TV set. My first job out of college was in Los Angeles and I literally had nothing, a mattress, a handful of dishes and utensils and a 1980 Chevy Luv pickup. The two-and-a-half-week wait to get my first paycheck was tough, and I didn’t have electricity the first few days in my apartment. My neighbors let me borrow a lamp and they ran an extension cord out of their door and into mine so I could have light at night. Coincidentally, the company I was working for had a celebration for a company milestone the first Friday that I worked for them. I was elated to have free food and drink, but they also had a raffle for prizes and the grand prize was a television. Unbelievably, I won the raffle. The next day I took the set out of the box, turned the box upside down, set the TV on top, adjusted the rabbit ears and sat on the floor eating mac and cheese and watching television. I was king of the world! It wasn’t until years later that I found out my manager rigged the raffle so I would win the grand prize.
You and your family live in Montana, known as “The Last Best Place on Earth.” We would love to know a little about your favorite state. What are your five favorite things about your home state?
- One million people, three million cows, 147,000 square miles. My kind of math.
- Life is easy. No rush hour, no state sales tax, our politicians convene once every other year for four months, and no lines – except for Garth Brooks concerts.
- No pro sport teams – none. We are free to be fans or haters of any team we want.
- Family and good friends. That’s what gets us through the long, cold and dark Montana winters, or we go to Phoenix.
- Summer. Montana summers are the absolute best. I just hope I’m home for those couple of days every year.
What would you want to know about your future if you had a crystal ball?
Just six numbers…
Thank you, Mike, for sharing insights into your life with ADP’s readers.
If you would like to be interviewed for an upcoming Faces of ADP, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.