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Former Kmart Vice President Continues on Exciting Career Path

Doug Meisner and Russ CherryMr. Doug Meisner described his career path and advised students on how to stand out above the crowd in the competitive job market. He said that a guiding question that he has asked himself over his career is, “how can we do better.” Mr. Meisner began his lecture in Marketing and Entrepreneurship by introducing a surprise speaker, Mr Russ Cherry of Billings-based, Dream Big Consulting. Mr. Cherry’s energetic presentation emphasized the importance in how we think in terms of accomplishing goals.

After telling the story of his career, Mr. Meisner gave the class the following tips:

  • People invest in what they value
  • Latch onto mentors
  • Leaders are not born, they are taught
  • Be flexible, don’t be rigid. Your idea might not be the best idea.
  • Be loyal … up to a point.
  • Don’t blow your own horn too much, only a little.
  • Don’t get yourself in a hole with credit card

Mr. Meisner speaking to a class of business students at MSUBDoug Meisner began his career with the Kmart Corporation in 1973 after finishing his under graduate work and being honorably discharged from the military. He joined Kmart Corporation as a Management Trainee and immediately moved from Billings to Rapid City. A fast growing company with constant need for management in all states kept him mobile throughout his career.

Mr. Meisner and his family moved three times in six years, becoming a store manager in Rexburg, Idaho in 1979. He managed one other store in Seattle and was asked to be a district manager in Tucson , Arizona. in 1984.  Two years later he was asked to be a Regional Office Executive with HR responsibilities over 450 stores.  After a restructuring in 1989 Mr. Meisner was asked to be a Regional Manager over 160 stores in the Northwest with full P&L responsibility. During this tenure he pioneered the opening of four unique and distinct stores in Alaska.

In 1995 Mr. Meisner was asked to become a Vice President and Officer of Kmart Corporation, responsible for 650 stores in the Western United States.  During his time in this position he was asked to manage two struggling regions.  He managed 700 stores in the Midwest for two years and managed  675 stores in the Northeast. 

During the time frame of 1996 to 2003 there were three CEO changes at Kmart.  With each change Mr. Meisner was recognized for his accomplishments and was continually asked to take on additional responsibilities.  With one change in 2000 he was asked to assume the role of Senior Vice President in charge of all company marketing, controlling a budget of 1.2 billion dollars.

In 2001 came another change in senior management and Mr. Meisner was again reporting to a new President and future CEO. He was again asked to move to an operations position and for two years he served as the President of 1000 stores in the Western half of the United States.

Mr. Meisner left Kmart two years later after going it went through tumultuous times.  An independent hedge fund operator purchased Kmart out of Bankruptcy and has since had difficulty regaining customers. He subsequently spent six years in the M&A business in Michigan.  After moving back home to Montana in late 2009 Mr. Meisner met Dr. Kevin Brewer and is now Clinic Administrator for two dental clinics and is opening a third in the spring of 2012. 

Mr. Meisner , his wife, and their four sons have had quite a journey and we are happy to be residing in Big Sky country working with one of the finest Dental facilities in America.

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