Matt Harthan, Design & Research Specialist
Get to know Matt in this Q&A Series
What path brought you to this business?
I took a job right out of high school at a printing facility and worked there for several years gaining skills and experience in their web press printing and shipping departments and wrote standard work procedures. From there I chose to further my education and got an A.A.S. Degree in Imaging Technologies. I had been dating Kate Kubat (the owners’ daughter) while going to school and we got married. After finishing school I got what I thought to be a part time job working for Kwik Trip while I prepared to open my own photography studio. After a year, a few promotions, and a lot of hard work, I found myself to be the Assistant Store Leader at the store I worked at. I received 6 weeks of management training and completed Certified Food Management Training through the Minnesota Department of Health. After being in that position for a couple years my wife and I decided we both needed to make a career change. We found ourselves realizing that a lot of the education, training, and talents we had received aligned with the needs of Corporate Recognition and if we made the jump we could work with each other every day and grow the business.
What is your title and a few of your responsibilities at Corporate Recognition?
My title is Design & Research Specialist which is kind of a fancy way of saying, Jack of all Trades, Master of None.
I do photography and web design, build web stores, research products for customers, do some low level IT stuff, and write standard work procedures. My background in retail sale with Kwik Trip has been helpful when meeting with new clients and explaining what we can do for them.
What are you known for professionally? What do you have a knack for?
I would say I am a good listener. Where other people like to talk to sell a product or service, I prefer to listen and ask questions like, what is or what isn’t working for you currently? I find it easier to meet your customers’ needs when you know what they are looking for. I make notes and I follow through on my promises.
What is the one problem you are best at solving for your clients? What do your ideal clients say about you?
I get things done. They ask, I do it, done. I am a problem solver and don’t like looking for excuses, I prefer to look for solutions.
What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work & the contribution you can make?
I grew up in a family where hard work and integrity were synonymous with our name. Most people who have met a Harthan learn quickly that we would rather do the right thing the hard way then to cut corners and sacrifice integrity. We do what we say, we say what we mean and we always strive to do what’s right. So I would reliability and integrity are what I am passionate about and I guess it naturally makes its way through from my personal to my professional life.
What is your favorite Hobby?
I love music! I love writing lyrics, I love writing music, and I love listening to music. In my off time I am learning all I can about my recording software and hope in the near future to be able to build a room dedicated to music and recording. Other favorite hobbies of mine are photography and cooking and hope to do more of both as Kate and I start a food blog with some of our friends to share recipes.
Where did you grow up and why aren’t you there now?
I grew up on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota. I moved to southern Minnesota just out of high school for a job. I miss northern MN. I hope someday to buy some land and build a cabin up there.
What would be impossible for you to give up?
What is your favorite color, favorite food, and favorite time of year?
My favorite color is orange, my favorite food is pretty much anything Mexican, and autumn is my favorite time of year.
Who are a few of your favorite bands?
Stavesacre, The Cure, Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay, Goo Goo Dolls, Imagine Dragons. Classic rock bands like E.L.O. I’m getting pretty into bands in the Dubstep genre like Nero.
What is your favorite Movie or Movie Character?
The Man Who Knew Too Little (Bill Murray)
What is your motto(s) or a code you live by?
"Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said." - Mark Twain