Creating a Family Business: An Interview With Charles Wilson

June 12, 2014


Father’s Day is Sunday, and that got us thinking about family. And who better to talk to about family than Charles Wilson, the Chairman and CEO of Ernest Packaging Solutions who founded the company with his brother in 1946, and who works with his son, Ernest President, Tim Wilson. In addition to it being Father’s Day, Mr. Wilson also turns 90 years young on Monday. Happy birthday, Mr. Wilson, you  don’t look a day over 50!

Let’s take a moment and enjoy this video created to tell the early history of Ernest Packaging Solutions. It begins with two brothers returning home from World War II and creating a paper business running out of a garage.

Ernest Packaging Solutions is a family company, meaning everyone working here is considered a part of the family, but that’s a line you hear from a lot of places. What makes us different is that we live that statement, and that comes from leadership.

“Products are just products; everybody has products,” said Charles Wilson in a recent interview with The Ernest Buzz Blog. “The reason it’s a family business is because we’re all in this together. We feel very strongly that everyone is important whether you are in sales, a buyer, in the warehouse or whatever. Now, we’re considered one of the leaders in our industries even though we are a mid-sized company, and that’s because of the people and culture we have. We will work together and try to get you to do your best.”

What Ernest Packaging Solutions has become – a nationwide company advancing packaging technology and engineering – is remarkable. But that isn’t what Mr. Wilson is most proud of. No, he wanted to talk about family, both his blood and his extended company family.

“We wanted to have a family business, and we wanted everybody who worked for us to be a part of that family,” Wilson says. “If you enjoy the people you work with, you feel we’re all in this together and everybody is important in the business. We will work together and try to get you to your best.”

Mr. Wilson, who still comes into work every day, told us, “I think it’s fun to come to work, and I want other people to feel that way, too. … The success of the company is the success of all the people. When we accomplish something as a company, everybody is responsible, and they feel a part of that growth.”

“From my vantage point, every day is a gift. Challenges are what makes life interesting. If you just did the same thing all the time in life, it wouldn’t be interesting. Problems are to be solved – that’s what they’re there for. Sometimes you solve them right, and sometimes you don’t, but at least you’ve got something to do.”

Wilson continues, “One thing I’ve enjoyed about my longevity is I’m still able to do things. And I’ve got a store of memories that’s my fortune, wonderful memories. Nobody can match my memories because they’re for me. Each one of us has a lot we can be grateful for. All we have to do is look back and think of the wonderful things that have happened to us.”

Can we get a high five for that?

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It’s easy to call yourself a family-oriented company. It’s harder to live that for nearly 70 years in business, but Ernest Packaging Solutions has. We call this The Ernest Edge. And it’s what separates us from the rest.

This belief that the people you work with can be a family extends to our customers, as well. In fact, many of our customers have been working with us for over 20 years! What do you want from your packaging company: a business partner or a long-term relationship? Contact us today to learn how Ernest is the packaging partner for you.