By Kait Kisel, student writer
Mike Uckele saw the big picture.
“I understood where and how it started, how it had grown, and its potential. I had an inherent vision for its diversification, expansion and exponential growth. And above all else besides family, nutrition is my passion,” said Uckele (BA General Business Administration ‘92) in regards to why he decided to take over the family business, Uckele Health & Nutrition Inc.
The company recently made Inc. Magazine’s 2018 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America. This was the 10th straight year on the list for Uckele Health, which Uckele took over as owner, president, and CEO in 2005.
Uckele Health is built on the central focus of providing optimal health through the formulation and manufacturing of dietary products for humans, horses, and dogs. Founded in 1962, it has grown through the years as a family-owned business with a solid reputation.
“I didn’t have any other thought than going into the family business” said Uckele. “I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in being the third generation to successfully own the business started by my grandfather,” who also graduated from Michigan State University.
Through its reputable performance and networking, the company has expanded distribution to over 40 countries. It is through the Eli Broad College of Business that Uckele credits learning the latter skill: “There I learned the importance of networking and more importantly beyond that, the value of relationships.”
While the company has become more corporate through expansion, it manages to maintain and emphasize the company’s mission of “making people and their animals healthier” through the core values of “excellence, integrity, and synergy.”
“Our purpose is to make them more than just words on a piece of paper, but the living, breathing atmosphere throughout the organization,” said Uckele.
Uckele seeks to improve the health and lives of people and animal alike. “Surviving is very different from thriving and optimal health,” said Uckele, who believes good nutrition is what keeps life worth living: “What could be more inherently important to the health and function of the body than the nutrients that go into it?”
Uckele Health prides itself in educating customers in the science of how ingredients, formulas, and delivery systems work together to produce their supplements. “We consistently deliver quality and innovation with proven results, at a fair price, but more importantly it’s the relationships that continue to propel the business,” said Uckele.
Uckele offers three key attributes to the company’s continual growth:
- First and foremost, it is about planning for the future expectations – what does the business look like in 1 year, 3 years and 10 years?
- You must build solid relationships with clients, suppliers and staff members.
- Then, you must reinvest in the business continuously to promote future growth.
Reinvestment for Uckele includes expanding production plants and warehouses, improving machinery and processes, and continuing to launch new formulas and create new positions to enrich his team’s brain trust. It also includes acquisitions, of which Uckele has done several.
In the future, Uckele Health seeks to continue to expand branded human and pet supplement lines with increased distribution, as well as expand to the specialty pet segment. The company also hopes to strategically involve the business in functional medicine and personalized medical centers, as they believe nutrition and dietary supplements will continue to play a major role in the growth and expansion of this field.