creative werks, llc
Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 1999
Industry Group Specific: Packaging, Manufacturing and Design
As an Eagle Scout and Peace Corps volunteer, Steve Schroeder’s personal mantra always centered on helping others. So, in 1999, when Schroeder spun off the packaging division of a family-owned business, he set out with the following purpose: To positively impact the lives of associates, their families and the community while helping clients grow, innovate and prosper.
He continues to live by that mantra as the president of creative werks, llc. “I must remind myself of the impact, negative or positive, that we can have on everyone,” said Schroeder. “We must grow and change to provide opportunity.”
creative werks, llc is a full-service co-packing, manufacturing and packaging design company that helps brand companies bring products to market. The firm’s mission is to be the ultimate packaging partner that delivers the highest quality products that win the hearts of consumers.
Under Schroeder’s leadership, the team at creative werks, llc, is encouraged to think outside the box, to approach problems with a can-do mindset and beat out the competition with a commitment to innovation and excellence. “Early on, Steve made the commitment to source and purchase 100 percent of creative werks’ energy from wind power,” said his staff. “While it’s not cost-neutral, Steve believes this investment is smart business and will have a positive impact on the environment, our clients and the Chicagoland communities where it operates.”
Beyond the investment in green energy, corporate responsibility is woven into the fabric of the company. “It gives associates a sense of purpose and reminds our clients that business can and should always have a positive impact on the greater good,” said Schroeder.
The first two decades taught Schroeder and his team a sense of resiliency and optimism that will continue into the firm’s long-range plans. While Schroeder said the focus will remain on financial strength and investment in new technology, he plans to continue fostering employee growth that has led to retaining strong talent.
His optimism and empathy have led the company to launch 14 items in a single year for one of the largest confectionery companies in the world, invest nearly $9 million in new capabilities for clients and double the square footage of the headquarters, generating hundreds of jobs.
According to his staff, the quality that makes Schroeder a titan is the fact that he does not view himself as such. “He is a servant and empathetic leader and would rather be in a brainstorming session, having lunch with employees or taking a factory tour than applying for an award,” they said. “But beyond empathy, Steve is a great businessman, a learner and a teacher.”
For leading with optimism and empathy, Schroeder has been named a titan.