Michael T. Luna, CEO Of Texas Wilson, Doesn’t Sell Office Furniture, He Sells Company Culture
Michael "Mike" Luna believes that combining the perfect team with the right culture is essential to a business’s success. His company, Texas Wilson, has become one of South Texas’ largest and most successful office furniture distributors by creating unique office interiors designed to impact their customers’ culture. Mike’s tailored approach to doing business has been shaped by his battle with cancer, experience in accounting, and philosophy of doing the right thing. He uses this philosophy to build buy-in with his employees and customers to create win-win environments where people enjoy what they are doing.
Mike’s first steps into entrepreneurship came from an unlikely place—his employer going under. In an interview with The Bank of San Antonio’s Business Heroes Podcast, Mike explains, “I think if in my career had things stayed the same, I'd probably still be there. But I've always had this dream and desire to be an entrepreneur. I think I was made to be one.” Mike began his career working for Arthur Andersen in Houston, and when the company went out of business, he decided that he was not going to take another corporate job.
The end of his previous role was the spark he needed to begin his life as an entrepreneur. Using his expertise in accounting, Mike founded The CAPROCK Group, to provide Project Management and Real Estate Services within the Corporate Interior segment in Houston, Texas. But they were always looking for more opportunities, and when 12 years ago they saw the potential in Texas Wilson, Mike purchased the company and never looked back.
With Mike as the team leader in the new venture at Texas Wilson, he quickly realized that culture is king. It is what Mike believes they sell to their customers, and what he thinks makes his company so strong. He says, “Probably the most boring thing anybody can tell you is ‘We're in office furniture,’ but we really do believe that we have an impact in the office world, in impacting people's culture, impacting how they work.”
Culture begins with everyone buying into the company’s vision and believing in what they are doing. “It starts at the top, obviously. And then, it's buy-in from everyone — from the janitor to the CEO,” Mike says, “That's where culture begins, is everyone buys in to ‘Yeah, we can do this. We can push this ship forward.’” The culture that Mike has created at his company is empowering and open, which encourages buy-in and impacts every facet of what Texas Wilson does.
"Seeing the result of teamwork, of the accomplishments you can achieve when everybody's hitting on all cylinders and we're busy and running. But you can, at the end of the day or at the end of the project, see the achievement. It's pretty satisfying."
According to Mike, buy-in starts with having the right people in the right places within an organization. Because of this belief, the hiring practices at Texas Wilson are in-depth. They often conduct up to five rounds of interviews before making a hiring decision. Understanding their candidates before hiring them is critical in ensuring they will excel and be happy in their role. Mike says, “If you don’t want to be there, you’re not going to be your best.” By hiring the best people for the right job, everyone wins.
Part of Mike’s business philosophy came from his battle with cancer. Being a cancer survivor changed his outlook on life and helped him to understand the importance of health. Entrepreneurship is often draining and stressful, but keeping up with exercise is one way to keep yourself healthy in spite of the stress. “Being an entrepreneur is great. It's glamorous. All those things. But it also takes a big toll,” he says, “Your peak performance comes when your body's performing at its peak state.” Mike views keeping up with health as an integral piece to the entrepreneurial puzzle.
Since moving to San Antonio 12 years ago, Mike and his family have truly found a home here. The tight-knit business community and welcoming atmosphere aided Mike in his journey to success. His advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs in San Antonio is “Just recognize that it's a smaller community and that your morals and ethics and the fabric in which you carry yourself is going to be scrutinized, or more open, than other places. And so pay attention to that. Always do the right thing.”
Mike stresses that people can get far in life by understanding lessons taught in kindergarten classes all across San Antonio: kindness, manners, keeping your word, and always doing what’s right. By embracing these lessons, building the right team, and creating a culture and individual buy-in, Mike has made Texas Wilson the sixth-largest minority-owned business in the San Antonio area and cemented himself here as a San Antonio Business Hero.