A chemistry whiz who grew up in Poland, Michael Major left his job as a tenured professor when he was in his early 30s to immigrate to Milwaukee for a job as a chemist at Aldrich Chemical. Two years later, in 1992, he moved to Cambridge Chemical, where he rose to vice president of research and development. When Cambridge Chemical’s owner passed away, leaving his widow with all the equity in the company, it underlined for Michael what would eventually become a life-changing reality: he needed to start his own business.
In 1998, Michael formed his own company, Major Laboratories, which merged with Cambridge a year later. Under Michael’s leadership, Cambridge Major grew exponentially, employing more than 100 people at its peak and becoming one of the largest suppliers of custom research and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry.
Cambridge Major was acquired in 2011 for $212 million by American Capital Ltd. Michael now leads MPP Group, a Mequon startup that formulates and manufactures nutraceuticals, medical devices and injectable drug products.
Here are some tips Michael has for other entrepreneurs:
- Focus on solving your customers’ problems.
- Be on time.
- Understand the pyramid of success: 80 percent is hard work and 20 percent is education, time and skills.
- When you’re ready to ship, that’s when you have a product.
- Business success is based on your ability to make something happen.
- Don't move forward until you analyze the market potential. Look at how other people did it.
- Once started you’ve got to prove yourself, make the best of what you’ve got.