Honoree Headshot

Michael Spangenberg

CEO & Co-Founder
State Forty Eight
Industry � Apparel/Retail

State Forty Eight was founded in 2013 from the spare bedroom of Mike Spangenberg’s childhood home. At the time, Spangenberg was working as a manager in the hospitality industry but had ambitions to break into the fashion and retail business by launching his own clothing line.

The name came from Spangenberg’s then-roommate, Stephen Polando, in reference to the order in which Arizona received its statehood. Polando brought in his design-savvy brother, Nicholas Polando, who would go on to create the iconic logo for the company.

The trio invested $1,500 into purchasing the materials needed to produce their first run of T-shirts. From their social media and word of mouth, the company grew quickly. Their participation in the 2014 Phoenix Fashion Week gave them the exposure to scale and grow. Collaborations were also key. The company’s first T-shirt collaboration was with former Arizona Cardinals football coach Bruce Arians for his family foundation. The shirt was a hit and led to many other local collaborations for the business.

Today, under Spangenberg’s leadership as CEO, State Forty Eight runs an e-commerce website with three brick-and-mortar locations across the Valley and is in hundreds of retailers. The company has expanded to include collaboration designs, screen printing, embroidery and art and branding services. In the past year, the company has experienced rapid growth, seeing a 42% boost in revenue year-over-year.

In 2020, the company launched the State Forty Eight Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting local entrepreneurs through resources and funding and building community through volunteer-driven events.

In 2021, the foundation hosted a seven-week speaker series that awarded $12,500 in small business grants to attendees.

“(Spangenberg) has this unique ability to dream big without letting fear of failure stop him,” his team said. “He is an advocate for experimenting, learning and then adapting, which in turn leads the company to continuously grow, year-over-year.”

The collaboration part of the business is one example of that experimentation. In 2021 alone, State Forty Eight worked with 522 organizations to produce 124,867 shirts, and brought in over $1.6 million in total revenue, making up 47% of their total profits for the year.

In 2021, Spangenberg was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. He sits on the Economic Development Advisory Board for the City of Chandler, providing broad policy recommendations to the City Council. As a DECA alumnus, Spangenberg served for two years as a board member with Arizona DECA and often volunteers to speak in front of DECA students at high schools in the East Valley.

“State Forty Eight is proud to work with a diverse group of organizations in Arizona,” says Spangenberg. “One of the most rewarding parts of our business is building relationships with our partners and helping add value to what they do. We strive to be a recognized brand in Arizona that is known for making a difference in our community, and we will never take that for granted.”

Presented by:

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Honoree Fun fact

Mike is a very big sports fan and he loves Arizona sports more than anything. In fact, he has an entire arm dedicated to Arizona sports team tattoos.

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