After being friends for many years and reconnecting later in life, John & Tracy McNerney are a duo that turned into a trio when daughter Carley joined the team!
How did you meet?
John: We went to high school together and went our separate ways. We reconnected on Facebook years later. We had a class in high school called “Family Living” where they teach you the fundamentals of marriage and you can run for the bride and groom of the class. We won and got to get married in class and you do the least amount of work. Local bakeries and restaurants even donated to the ceremony.
Tracy: I actually wore his mother’s wedding gown during the ceremony.
How long have you been together?
John: We’ve been married 8 years in May.
How long have you been with American?
Tracy: Tracy & I will have been at American for 9 years in September.
Carley: I’ve been with American for almost 5 years.
Do you work on many projects together?
Carley: All of them. One of the major things are our fulfillment and kitting projects in different large orders for customers, sending them around the United States. We had to pack recently close to 800 duffel bags that we sent out to different customers around the country for their sales meeting. The whole family is recruited for these projects whether they’re in the promo industry or not.
John: Yes. Our fulfillment projects really saved us during the pandemic. We use our house so it’s overwhelming how many trailers of product are delivered there.
How did you decide to add Carley to the team?
Carley: At first I didn’t know what I was getting into, but they took me to PPAI right before I started my last semester of junior year. They told me to take it all in, take notes and take pictures. At the end, they said, “If you can survive the show, you can survive the industry.” I really liked it and dove into big projects as soon as I came on the team. I love that it’s so different very day.
Tracy: She interned with us for 2 years during college before she came on full time before she graduated.
John: She was the only one in our family of 7 that stepped up and wanted to join the team. She didn’t know any better, but she picked up fast and has learned to know more than the customer.
What’s the hardest part about working with your spouse/child/parent?
Carley: The opinions on different things. When we’re sourcing on a project and John hates my idea, he won’t take credit for them, and I do the same thing. “Here are the ideas that John put together for you.” I think that’s one of the hardest part because of the way we do different things. John has been in this industry for much longer and knows how he wants certain things done, and it’s hard to understand each other’s methods. But at the end of the day we get done what needs to be done.
John: I hired Carley so I wouldn’t kill Tracy, or so there would be a witness. It’s nice having younger people on our team to connect with younger customers.
What’s the easiest part?
Carley: Trust is a big thing. We can count on each other to get the job done, we get to work with someone that you enjoy working with, and have to like each other because we’re family. It’s nice to have time together to get things accomplished and have that family time.
Tracy: He knows what I can do and what I’m good at, and he knows what I can take care of. That’s why Carley takes care of the stuff that we used to argue about.
John: Getting family involved with business, I’ll be able to exit out and retire and Carley can take over the business because she knows every aspect of it. God forbid you die, you have someone who can take over what took years to build.
Tracy: We like having family time and we get to spend it together. We can extend times we go to conference and go out to dinner and have conversations with vendors while we’re out. When John and I go to a show and we have meetings, we get to spend more time together than if we had different jobs.
Why do you recommend working with family?
Tracy: The time invested from everyone in the family, because working for a larger corporation makes you just another number. I love that you can work from home and get that time with your family. American has a lot of personal touches that makes their employees feel like they are actually a part of your family. I just recently saw that American has put together care packages for new parents!
John: I would say by bringing your family into the business, you’re investing in your knowledge and passing it down to your children so they can learn a lot faster than you did. I didn’t work for a family business and I’m able to give them that benefit that I didn’t have. You can say what you think is right and wrong on how to do things because they have tougher skin and they can take your criticism. That’s a big, big benefit; that you’re learning in 5 years what took me 30 years in the business to learn. Imagine how powerful she’ll be in the future!
Carley: I think the biggest thing is being able to count and rely on each other while going beyond just John and my mom. Our family as a whole, even though they’re not formally with American, come together and help us out when we’re stressed. We all just work together and it’s nice to know that they will always have your back, whether it’s work or personal lives. We know we always have each other’s back regardless. I’ll have my family with me while I’m on maternity leave and I can count on them regardless of when I have to come back to work when I’m ready.
To learn more about American Solutions for Business, visit http://www.americanbus.com.
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