Meet James McHenry of Widgeteer Inc

Get to know James, a new member of the EFBC, who joined us in 2022.

Widgeteer Inc
Founded: 2008

Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Forum: Flex Forum

Tell us about your career leading up to where you are now:
I am a 2014 Michigan State graduate of The School of Hospitality Business. Upon graduation, I followed my stepmother’s footsteps into the hotel business, joining Marriott’s convention/meeting sales force as a business development manager for the San Antonio hotel cluster. From there I was promoted to the Houston cluster to open a new flagship convention hotel and lead a pilot program selling Marriott business services (sales/development) to a cluster of franchise hotel properties. After success with my Houston assignment, I was awarded another promotion, this time to Sr Sales Manager for large convention/meeting business supporting a 15 state regional territory for the Sawgrass Marriott Resort. From Sawgrass my goal was to get back to the Midwest to start building my personal life with my now-Wife, then girlfriend, settling in the Chicagoland area and with a company change to Fairmont Hotels as a Sr Sales Manager supporting a 20 state regional territory. I was fortunate to retain my role throughout Covid, which decimated the convention business, and eventually was my springboard for joining the family business which I started with in May 2021. My primary responsibility is business development/account management for a 100+ portfolio of retail, eCommerce, foodservice customers for which we supply Dining, Entertainingware, Home Décor and more.

What do you like most about what you do?
I’ve always enjoyed the hunting side of sales, learning about new customers, new businesses, etc excites me and satiates my curious nature. I am highly competitive and like to win! Joining my family’s business has been an absolute dream and is forcing me to re-shape my individual contribution mindset, focusing instead on helping our Widgeteers collectively win!

How did you hear about the EFBC?
I was researching for family business support networks. I’ve quickly realized the unique challenges of working daily with family are not something to take lightly and needed an outlet of shared experiences. It’s a complete change of mindset from just being here for a paycheck to being responsible for your success and others well being, too!

Why did you join, and what do you hope to gain from your membership?
I’m eager to hear of peoples experiences as they built their business, and how they managed their family relationships. Managing my relationship with my Dad/boss is a lot more complex than I ever imagined, but working with my family is also more rewarding than I ever thought possible!

Join us in welcoming James to the EFBC community.