Employee Spotlight: Jim Lukens



The team members at Media Solutions Corporation have some pretty amazing qualities. Commitment, fairness, good communication skills, honesty, positive attitude, and respect are just a few that come to mind. But there’s nothing like a good old Q&A to reveal things you never knew about someone.

Keep your eyes peeled for MSC Employee Spotlight posts on Facebook and Twitter so you can get to know the faces and personalities behind the computers and phones. Together, our employees make one terrific team!

Jim Lukens

What is your role at Media Solutions Corporation?

President, General Manager

What would people never guess you do in your role at Media Solutions Corporation?

Running a start-up company requires the wearing of many ‘hats.’ When you’re running a company like MSC you’re handling a wide array of tasks, from meetings with attorneys on protecting intellectual property rights to handling workshops with our wholesalers and their retailers, to taking out the trash on Tuesdays and Thursdays in our new office.

Probably the item that most people would never guess that I regularly do is to spend time with manufacturers and brokers who are asking about our customers’ digital capabilities. In our industry there are large technology chasms between manufacturers and wholesalers and their retailers. To help guide our company I need to spend time listening to the challenges that exist and try to build bridges between those chasms for the ‘win-win-win’ that we all want in our industry. This also involves talking with other technology companies to understand their solutions to try to create synergies with our company that can benefit our company.

It makes no sense to me to build a beautiful bridge and place it in a sales lot with a FOR SALE sign on it and hope someone has a need for it and will buy it. It makes more sense to listen to those who are seeking a solution and build the best solution for them. And to do that you spend time listening vs. talking. I spend about 25% of my time listening and learning.

What would people never guess you have done in your life?

In the 1980s I ran in 6 marathons, 1 one hundred mile run, and over 120 10K and 5K races. My running days are long over now but I do walk my dogs every morning for 2 miles… and I’m exhausted for the day.

Before working at Media Solutions Corporation, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

As a Journalism major at the Ohio State University I wrote over 200 published articles for newspapers and Newsweek magazine—covering politics, sports, police, religion, and business.

If you could pick one theme for Media Solutions Corporation to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?

Developing a business model that is completely bullet-proof in terms of competition, completely flexible in terms of customers, and designed to help businesses compete with significantly larger competitors.

How has Media Solutions Corporation helped you in your career development?

It’s taught me that 40 years of experience in the food industry isn’t nearly as important as 4 years of experience in technology solutions for the food industry. Employees fresh out of college are expert judges of what will work and won’t work for Millennials. The number of years of experience isn’t as important in an industry that literally changes every day.

What has been your favorite project at Media Solutions Corporation?

The “next” project is always my favorite project. New and exciting solutions that jump from the drawing board to the business world provides the energy to begin new and exciting projects.

What’s different about working at Media Solutions Corporation opposed to other companies you’ve worked at before?

Nimbleness. Half of my 40-year career I’ve served as CEO, President, COO, Executive VP, Senior VP, or VP of major companies doing over a billion dollars in annual sales. Hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. At MSC I’m much more “in touch” with our employees and our customers and it’s so much more fulfilling – and fun.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

In the technology business, a 2-, 3-, or 5-year business plan isn’t nearly as important as a business strategy and operating plan for the next 120 days.

Least favorite food?

Any condiment is my least favorite food.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Lutefisk and and lefse – from my previous life in Minnesota.

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?

My favorite book is “How Starbucks Saved My Life” and my book would be named “How MSC Changed My Life.” It wouldn’t be a business or strategy book; it would be a book about how a life’s passion can evolve by serving others. Our company would have never started up if some of my very best customers and friends from past jobs hadn’t come to me and pushed me to start a new chapter in my life. It’s fun when those customers and friends remind me of our startup and what the challenges have been and will be.

What music is on your iPhone/Android phone?

I’ve got an iPhone and an Android phone I use. On my iPhone, when I just now turned on Pandora… Raffi “Singable Songs…” My grandkids demand that I play Raffi songs when they are in my car so my Raffi songs are listened to often. On my Android (Droid Turbo) I listen to Michael W. Smith, Colbie Caillat, Carole King, James Taylor, Enya, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, and Jason Mraz.