How CPSI Helped Me Launch My Company By Greg Shoemaker

ShoemakerAs a young business owner, I launched a cell phone cleaner and struggled to figure out my next move. I took meeting after meeting trying to make that one important connection that would help me grow my brand.

At yet another meeting, my contact recommended that I attend this “CPSI” Conference. He said at CPSI the best minds in the world gather to give workshops about creativity. I was astounded. How could I not know about a conference like this in my own backyard? I registered, and that changed everything for me.

Today, I am President of the Asset Recovery Company of America (ARCA), which began as a small project and has quickly grown. We now have four locations throughout the Northeast.

At ARCA, we reduce the environmental impact of waste created by Fortune 1000 companies by recovering, repurposing, refurbishing, and recycling assets regardless of size, location, value, age, or condition. For every asset we tackle, we hire industry experts to work with our marketing, sales, and environmental teams to plan and execute efficient relocation and dissolution. We mobilize sales teams, e-commerce channels, invite-only auctions, and a vast network of sustainable, certified recyclers. Literally, nothing we handle ends up in a landfill.

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) spurred my interest in ARCA, and shapes our corporate culture. We separate divergent and convergent thinking, we ask: “How might we?”, and use “yes and” vs. “yes but”. Because I attended CPSI in 2015 and each year since, CPS is an integrated part of my life and work; it helped me found my company, create jobs, and helps me solve complex material solutions problems for my clients.

We often avoid separating divergent and convergent thinking, and this limits us. A common first reaction to new ideas is to list why they will not work. However, when we generate lots of ideas, even wild ideas, it allows us many options to choose from. Often, our best ideas start off as jokes, and when we don’t immediately dismiss them, they blossom into solutions. It’s easy to think this way; you just have to get into the mindset.

Above the learning and training that I enjoy each year at CPSI, I keep coming back for the experience. When I first attended, I thought that there must be something wrong with me because of how much I enjoyed it. When I realized that everyone at CPSI was enjoying themselves as much I as I was, it was a relief and it was also the moment that I realized that CPSI is something special.

It truly feels like magic to be surrounded by a diverse crowd of caring, intellectual, and motivated people, all with the goal of learning and sharing as much as possible. The judgment-free atmosphere at CPSI is hard to come by. Every person there is willing to teach and listen to what you have to say. Even if you try to keep to yourself, someone is going to ask to join you for lunch.  I take those lunches, and make use of the skills I learn at CPSI every day.

One Comment

Kelly Speidel

As a collaborative SPED teacher working with a Regular Ed teachers I have found out first hand how important it is to brainstorm and tweek ideas to see what works and what doesn’t work for us in the mainstreamed setting.


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