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Gordon Stula

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Gordon P. Stula is an American entrepreneur, born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who founded a number of successful companies both domestically and internationally.

Most recently in 2007, Gordon founded Stula Aviation, a commercial aircraft fleet management company that works with the Russian government, Aeroflot Airlines, The Boeing Company and Airbus.

Stula began his business career in Russia working for Smith Barney in the early 1990s. Thanks to his knowledge of the Serbo-Croatian language, he had the opportunity to work with Russian clients for the firm. He would later go on to open several Russian companies.

In 1994, Stula founded Engeocom Distributors in Moscow, Russia. Engeocom Distributors is a premium cosmetics distribution company that also owns and operates mono-brand retail stores throughout the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The company exclusively distributes and retails premium cosmetic products from many of the world’s most renowned cosmetics brands on behalf of leading manufactures such as Procter & Gamble and previously Unilever.

Gordon played college football at the University of Wisconsin while studying history and business in the early 1980’s. He began his journey as an entrepreneur in 1984, while still in college, when he and his brother went into the art business, buying American art prints and reselling them to Japanese art galleries. Though he didn’t speak Japanese and was unfamiliar with the culture of Japanese business, he was resourceful and determined to built a successful art business while still finishing his undergraduate degree and playing Big Ten football. After graduating from college, Stula opened Larson Art Gallery in 1987 and Gils Espresso Bongo Lounge restaurant in 1992, both in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Gils remained an iconic Milwaukee cafe & eatery, operating successfully under new ownership for more than 15 years on Milwaukee’s East side.

Today, Gordon Stula lives with his wife and four children in Coral Gables, Florida, and travels to Moscow often for business. He continues to play an interactive role with the management teams of the companies he founded, dividing his time between his distribution company and his aviation venture.

Companies and Investments

Stula Aviation (Founder)

Engeocom Distributors (Founder)


Lessons Learned

1. Go international, as quickly as possible and look for opportunity on an appropriate scale

In Gordon’s experience as an entrepreneur founding several successful companies in Russia, he believes that many significant opportunities still exist for American entrepreneurs abroad. His advice? “Go to China or Russia even if you don’t speak the language and just sit there and look around. There are opportunities to take advantage of multiple arbitrage situations as well as identify commercial needs in those continuously developing markets.” When asked what he wished he had known sooner, as an entrepreneur, Gordon admits he wishes he’d 'gone international' earlier in his career.

2. Keep overhead to a minimum when you’re small

When he and his brother began their art business in college, as the business grew, he recalls being eager to, “play businessman,” — leasing large, costly offices and outfitting them with expensive equipment and fancy furniture. In retrospect, Gordon would have kept his initial fixed overhead much lower, and eventually did downsize their original offices, completing most of the subsequent sales work out of his apartment—a decision that allowed them to retain more profits and ultimately allowing him to reinvest in the company as well as diversify into other businesses.


Inspiring Quotes

Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.

Unknown

Gordon P Stula's Quotes

Influential Books

William Manchester - The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

Mentors

  • Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.

References


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