Excalibur’s new President & CEO “energized” by opportunity
The new leader of Excalibur Seasoning, Mike Shrier is no stranger to the company. He was in college when his late father-in-law Jerry Hall started the business, and he spent summers working there. Mike was 22-years-old when he joined the Board of Directors and was named chairman in 2018.
Get to know Mike in Part I of our conversation …
Tell us how your relationship began with Excalibur?
The original building for the company was an old car dealership and I helped Jerry tear down the walls for the initial production facility while home from college. My summer job involved running the back room and sending out samples. I photocopied labels, cut and pasted them on bags. We had small blenders that took us all day to make small quantities of products. I created an inventory system for Jerry as part of a final in a college IT class so we could better calculate prices. The operation was quite primitive compared to the ERP system and everything else that we have today.
We understand you were even somewhat instrumental in naming the new company?
His daughter (now my wife) Dianne and I were on a date one night. We went to see the movie, Ladyhawke. When we got back to the house, Jerry asked us about a name for his business. We started tossing around medieval terms. I wanted to call it Uncle Jerry’s, but Jerry thought that was too casual. He and Dianne liked Excalibur. The name stuck and it has served us well over the years.
What has helped fuel Excalibur’s growth especially in the past decade?
I think we got to a point where we could invest more in the business for new product development, the ERP system, and add new salespeople. I watch our ERP dashboard and I can see the sales, accounts payable and receivables updated live at my fingertips. ERP helped us grow organically and allowed us to make more informed decisions on where to invest the money back in the business. Better information helps you make smarter decisions.
The opportunity came along this year for you to lead Excalibur. Can you tell us how that came about?
I made a promise to Jerry that I would help keep this company going and growing as long as we could. Dianne and I talked to her dad a lot about the possibility of me joining the company over the years, but the timing never worked out for me. I always knew this was going to happen, but I didn’t know how it would happen. I thought Tom Hornstein would eventually retire and I may need to step in as a bridge to the next generation, but I expected it to happen years down the line.
I’m 100% energized by this next phase. I’m committed to promoting the corporate culture that’s been in place and enhancing and growing the business. I think the best days are ahead. We’ll continue to grow and great things will happen for Excalibur.