Entrepreneurship - Buying a Business

CareerCast - Life-long Career Development

Russ Maki There are many ways to become an entrepreneur and Russ Maki, ’95, president, Graphic Conservation Company, did it two ways. The first was a startup. It didn’t go as well as expected and eventually folded. The second was buying a business several years ago. He leveraged his previous experience and Booth MBA and has made it a great success. In this CareerCast, Russ shares his insights, lessons learned, and practical advice you can use as you consider various avenues to becoming an entrepreneur.

Aired April 17, 2015

Russ Maki, ’95, is the president of Graphic Conservation Company (GCC), one of the nation’s largest private conservation labs. GCC’s practice is limited to the conservation, restoration, and preservation of works on paper and vellum. These include works of fine art, important archival documents, high-end collectibles, and important family papers. Treatments performed are generally divided into three categories: works of significant financial value, works of sentimental or emotional value, and works of irreplaceable historic value. Clients include museums, research libraries, presidential libraries, collectors, art dealers, and individual families. Recently, the company performed a series of complex conservation treatments to the House Resolution for a 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, signed February 1, 1865 (the abolition of slavery).

Maki is also an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago, where he teaches the capstone course for the Conservation of Art and Materials undergraduate program.

Prior to his acquisition of the company in 2009, Maki was the president of Epicurean Art Foods, LLC, (EAF), a Chicago-based specialty food manufacturer. He joined EAF and its investor group after an executive sales and marketing role at Vita Food Products, a publicly-traded specialty food manufacturer.

For close to 20 years, Maki served in a variety of executive sales, marketing, and general management roles in the fine printing paper industry.

Maki attended Roosevelt University and DePaul University, and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Maki is a resident of the western suburbs and is married with two sons.