Mike Wagner is a serial entrepreneur who founded Target Freight Management, as well as a number of other companies, including Remarkable Auto Works, Remarkable Auto Service and multiple real estate holding companies. He’s now in the process of starting a new construction company. An avid sportsman, Wagner is currently the head coach for the Seton LaSalle Catholic High School baseball team.
Target Freight Management was deemed essential during the pandemic. Even though most of your staff worked from home during this time, you chose to come into the office. Why?
I was never good at working from home. I learned that at the age of 24 when I had my first work-from-home job. I realized pretty quickly that’s not what I wanted to do.
How has your work schedule changed since the pandemic started?
I have worked a lot more actually. We did allow most people to work from home. Out of the 75 employees, I think about 70 were moved to a home office once the pandemic hit, despite us being an essential business. We just felt it was what was best for the employees, especially the ones with underlying medical conditions.
What’s the biggest change for you?
I haven’t traveled anywhere in months. When the pandemic started to hit, I was in Oregon, California and then Vegas for 12 straight days. I flew out of Vegas on March 14. They closed Vegas down and all hotels on March 17. I also had a substantial travel schedule over that next six weeks that all got canceled.
What do you do to reduce stress?
Working out with my trainer helps to keep me on an even keel. I used to run all the time, but I have a torn meniscus right now, so that’s not really an option anymore. Heading to my cabin and doing all the work that needs done up there helps me as well. I have about 10 acres to take care of up there that I do myself. It’s also where I come up with some of my best new ideas.
What’s the most stressful part of your job, and how do you deal with it?
I am not a person who stresses very often. The weight of having 75 families depending on you on a daily basis for leadership and their livelihoods is probably the thing that I take the most serious, but it’s not something that stresses me out. After starting this company from scratch in 2009 during the Great Recession and making it out of that, there really isn’t anything else out there that can stress me out more than I was at that point.
Why did you start your company?
One of the main reasons I started my own company was to be able to see all of my kids’ events when they were young. When you are your own boss you can do that. It’s a lot harder when you work for someone else to not miss a single event, but I was able to see everything for years. All those lifelong memories for me and my children. That was so important to me considering my father left us before I was 1 year old and was never around for me.
How do you define work/life balance?
I’ve always followed that my family comes first and then my business. My kids are older now, so I don’t have nearly as many family events or sporting events to attend. Lexi is playing softball at the University of Oregon, so I can just watch her games on TV. … I only have Brett’s tournaments now to attend in the summer.