Jeremy Guest

Jeremy Guest and Darrel GriffinGood Sport

Guest Receives Inaugural IADD Cutting Edge Award

What do you look for in a team player? Someone who is amiable? Fair? Friendly? Someone who can get the ball rolling and go the distance … someone who will be in your corner and help you hit it out of the park … someone who can support from the sidelines or call the plays … someone who gives it his best shot?

In that case, the IADD suggests you place your bets on Jeremy Guest, President of Diansuply, Inc. of High Ridge, MO, USA and current President of the IADD. At IADD’s recent Annual Meeting in Savannah, GA, USA, then-President Darrel Griffin presented Guest with the IADD Cutting Edge Award, one of the Association’s highest honors. Revamped and renamed from the PEAK Award, the Cutting Edge Award focuses on the person or team who has made the most positive impact on our industry—preferably within the last 24 months— by demonstrating a unique, meaningful or emerging contribution to the diecutting/diemaking industry.

Guest used his passion, experience, knowledge and drive to co-lead with Griffin the 2015 IADD•FSEA Odyssey Committee to its most successful show yet. Keeping the group focused and on track, Guest’s organization and creative approach resulted in record-breaking exhibitor participation and attendance. Drawing on his promotional background, Guest helped formulate supportive messages regarding the Odyssey’s new location and positively impacted other IADD activities, such as the website redesign implementation.

From sports to dies

Like many career paths, Guest’s was not a standard play. His undergraduate degree is in elementary education; he wanted to be a teacher, coach and athletic director. When he didn’t get a teaching job right out of college, he went to graduate school in Daphne, AL, USA at the United States Sports Academy and received a Master’s Degree in Sport Management. Sports had always been a passion of his, so he decided to work in professional sports. He worked for the Mobile Bay Bears in Mobile, AL, USA and the Fort Wayne Wizards in Fort Wayne, IN, USA. He then transferred via the ownership to a new startup minor league hockey team, the Missouri River Otters, in a suburb of St. Louis, MO, USA. It was there that he met Christine, his wife and most important professional mentor. After three and a half years with the hockey team, he took a job with a sport and event marketing company called ’62 Sports Group. After three and a half years there, Christine came home with a great idea.

Guest had always wanted to own his own business. Christine had gone to work at Diansuply to help her mom get the business organized and help her sell it. After working at Diansuply a few months, Christine came home and said, “I know you have always wanted your own business and, well, this isn’t exactly what you had in mind, but I think there is an opportunity here.”

As Guest describes it, “Before I met my wife, I had no idea what diecutting was, what a steel rule die was, much less what role ejection rubber played. I was the guy at the party who had no clue what you were talking about when you were asked about your job!”

That was 10 years ago. Guest’s advice to someone considering entering the industry? “Do it. The people of this industry are amazing. I can honestly say the absolute, single most important thing Christine and I did when we purchased Diansuply was become active in the IADD. Diansuply is a Patron Member and a founding member of the original Association. Diansuply has always been an active member of the IADD, and we simply followed Ollie and Beverly’s lead. Christine and I learned our industry because of the IADD and the great people. We grew our business because of the IADD and the great people. We have great, life-long friends all over the world because of the IADD and the great people.”

Guest also attributes his success to excellent role models. “Since I have been old enough to understand what a true role model is, I would have to say my parents are my best role models. Growing up, I thought we were normal. I grew up in a small town without a ton of opportunities. My parents both worked full time and I had one younger brother. We went to church nearly every Sunday, got grounded if we got Cs on our report cards, had strict bedtimes and our parents never missed one of our sporting events. My dad was home after work every night, and I cannot remember him not willing to play catcher while I pitched, rebound my jump shots or play quarterback while I played wide receiver. I was told I was going to go to college, and as the day neared, I couldn’t wait to leave my little town in southern Illinois.”

“If I have learned anything over the last 20 years, it is that we were not normal. My parents are wonderful people who set a great example for me and instilled the morals and work ethic in me that makes me who I am today.”

When he was 22, Guest decided he wanted to retire when he was 50. Now he says, “That doesn’t mean I am really retiring when I am 50, but my goal has always been financial freedom. Of course, that was a wife and two children ago, and paying for college in 2028 might be a bit expensive, but I have always kept my focus on the future. Setting long-term goals and then keeping your eye on them is important, and it gives you an internal, daily drive. I am about building futures. Personally, I have my goal. For our business and our family, Christine and I share these same beliefs. We want to raise children who can do great things for themselves in the future. At Diansuply, we want to positively impact our employees’ lives in all ways.”
Guest underscores that all businesses need an identity; a mission statement. They need to know who they are and who they want to be. He asserts that they make every business decision based on their mission statement:

Diansuply, Inc. will be recognized as the most service-oriented ejection rubber provider in the diemaking and diecutting industry. We will provide quality products at a competitive price with the most outstanding service in the industry. Excellent customer interaction and prompt, timely deliveries will differentiate us from our competition. This is accomplished through dedication to our valued employees, strong inventory, adequate workspace and equipment and a focus on both cost and operational efficiencies.

Like many, he recognizes that good companies become great companies as a result of their people. He explains, “A great company has great people on their bus, excited about getting to the same destination. When Christine and I took over the company, we changed the culture. We have created a team culture, and we practice open book management. Our employees understand our business, and they understand how they impact the business. They understand why we need to improve a product or a process, and they understand all decisions are made based on the betterment of the company … and that THEY are the company.”
Looking to the future
When asked where our industry may be heading, Guest replies, “I have only been in the industry for ten years, and this is a tough question for me. Will a cutting die cease to exist in the next 100 years? I doubt it. But what I do know is our industry is made up of creative leaders who will continue to keep their businesses on the cutting edge of technology. There are always opportunities in change.”

As for his accomplishments, Guest prefers the simple answer. “I have an amazing wife and two wonderful children. My wife and I are passionate about our family more than anything, and raising two great kids with her will always be my greatest accomplishment.” Guests’s son, Tristan, shares his same passion for sports. Daughter Trevi shares the same passionate personality as Christine. Both Jeremy and Christine are very active in their children’s activities, which means volunteering at school, coaching, etc.

Whether he’s calling the plays or carrying the ball, it’s clear that Guest is a good sport and the right choice for the IADD Cutting Edge Award.