Our Story – The Folks Behind the Curtain

Where did the idea of streetsmartprof come from?

“Walking along side students as they are finishing up their last few years of college has taught me many things. It has also reminded me about my career path and how numerous times I wished there was a resource to help me out in certain situations.”

Learning life’s lessons one hard ship at a time was exciting, frustrating and darn right painful all at the same time.

Wasn’t there a better way to learn these life lessons?

“Thinking back, there were numerous experts, mentors and coaches who helped me leap frog years at a time. I was able to gather their years of expertise and wisdom simply be being in the right place at the right time. It was their life lessons which helped me thrive and have fun in my business career, not just survive from day to day.”

“Going back to the students I’m always walking beside, one day it strike me, why not help them learn life’s lessons an easier way. Passing on my experiences I was fortunate enough to accumulate over time. As well as all of the life lessons from those around me who have similar stories. It was this train of thought, which led to the creation of streetsmartprof.” – John Kratz

John Kratz at the LakeJohn Kratz:

My mission is to help people get what they want. Specializing in coaching and mentoring young adults in the areas of sales, marketing, and seeking their dream career.

My day job is at the University of Minnesota Duluth Labovitz School of Business and Economics where I hold a full-time position in the marketing department.

My classes focus on the areas of integrated marketing communications, selling and business-to-business marketing. Teaching, coaching and mentoring a number of process-disciplined personal selling approaches for identifying, evaluating and penetrating “organizational buying centers.”

These process-disciplined approaches have been adapted to “organizational buying centers” involved specifically in hiring entry-level sales and marketing employees. Many of my current and former students, have successfully used my process disciplined approaches for securing entry-level sales and marketing positions with Fortune 500 companies.

Ken Jondahl in EgyptKen Jondahl

In our business careers, every one of us is our own  sales and marketing department. To thrive in the competitive world we live in today requires us to rise above the noise.

Helping you advance in your career while having fun along the way.

Assisting you to be known as a person who is chosen to take on new opportunities because of your abilities which include book-smarts and street-smarts. Helping you build a network which talks about your capabilities, skill sets, and business-beliefs in a positive tone to others. Describing you as an individual who is not afraid of taking on risks to succeed and also understands there will be failures along the way.

This is all part of what I will bring to you through stories of my life lessons. Discussing the successes and the failures along the way. Drilling into the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, Why and When.

Yet most importantly, the one thing which is always missing, the “How”.

Background: I am a Chemical Engineer who went to the dark side in sales and marketing after college.

Red wine turned into white wineMy first project was turning red wine into white wine. After this I was hooked. Helping bring new membrane separation methods to customers to satisfy their needs. Working for a company at the time called Osmonic’s, now owned by GE.

My early years with Osmonic’s was spent hiring and training new application engineers. Our belief, hire engineers and teach them how to sell. The end result was our customers loved to work with us. Due to our ability to focus on their needs and design systems which had significant cost savings and paid for the equipment in short order.

We were a medium size manufacturer in Minnetonka, MN known for our separation abilities in the industry. On the sales and marketing front, as a smaller company, we pulled ourselves up by the boot straps learning what works and what to improve. Living a life of numerous successes and our norm of failures along the way, (which we called opportunities).

A few years into my new career, my main focus became International Sales. Longer term helping the company open offices around the world, while traveling and living abroad in foreign countries, (without joining the military).

Learning to “navigate and translate” not only cultural issues, also language and technology issues which come up when selling overseas. My specialty is not languages, it is technology, business, sales and marketing.

And some will say I know pivot tables, but that is a story for another day. Related to moving from International over to IT while helping Osmonics become one of the first medium companies to successfully install a small system called SAP.

Since leaving Osmonic’s, I’ve been working with The Vision Group. We help Sales and Marketing personnel have business conversations with their customers around the products and services they promote. Using consultative sales and marketing methods. The objective, help customers develop a vision of a solution based on value.

None of us want to be “sold to”. We want a knowledgeable person to help us figure out “how” something can help us achieve our needs.