Tim Smith, a visionary and hands-on leader, has climbed up the ladder at two different companies in his career, from entry-level sales to top positions. Over nearly 30 years at the helm of Eagle Print Dynamics and its forerunners, Eagle Graphics and Forms Plus, Inc., Tim has increased annual revenues significantly. Yet, he leads from his heart and soul, and is primarily motivated by purpose and people, not profits –making him a unique and admirable business executive.
A change of plans
A southern California native, Tim was born in Glendale and raised in La Mirada as the middle child of five, with two sisters and two brothers. After earning an Associate’s in English, a hiring shortage put Tim’s dreams of being a teacher and football coach on hold. Forced to change directions, he spent a season in sales for the family’s truck tire business, hoping to continue his education in the future.
Tim’s creativity, people skills, and instinctive business abilities contributed to the company’s growing success. Over 14 years, he served as Vice President, General Manager, Secretary, and Treasurer, as well as owning substantial shares. During this time, Tim became a Christian and married his wife Torrey in 1980. Then, in 1984, he decided to leave the tire business and seek new challenges in alignment with his new beliefs.
Starting over again
At his men’s Bible study group, Tim met a man named Richard Rule, who offered him a sales job at his company, Forms Plus, Inc. Accepting the position, Tim started all over again from the ground floor, selling business forms and labels to organizations around Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Within several years he was once more essentially running the business, while Richard focused on his serious medical condition. Eventually, Tim bought out his half and partnered with Richard’s brother, Jeff Carte, to run the business.
As Eagle’s President since 1992, Tim grew the business from $1 million in annual revenues to its peak of $18 million—the result of strategic acquisitions in southern California, and the Pacific Northwest region. The company’s sales are currently around $12 million each year, following a split of the Oregon business, which was sold to a third partner several years ago. Through these acquisitions and under his leadership, Forms Plus, Inc. expanded into full-service printing, graphic design services, apparel, promotional products, and more, updating its name twice in the process.
Back to school
During Tim’s successful second leadership role at Eagle, he decided it was finally time to return to the classroom. Enrolling in part-time programs designed for mid-career professionals, Tim graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor’s in Sales and Marketing. He then went on to earn his Executive MBA in Business Management at Claremont University’s Drucker School of Management.
Tim says, “It was a lot of hard work, but very rewarding personally. It was beneficial for Eagle as well. Many of my EMBA courses had projects that focused on real-world business situations, so I was able to receive some valuable insights and firsthand advice from experienced leaders that impacted my business decisions.”
It’s all about family
Tim has strived to create a friendly, caring family environment, where employees, vendors, and clients alike will always feel heard and supported. Eagle Print Dynamics also happens to be a family business: Jeff’s son, Andrew Carte, joined Eagle’s leadership team as Vice President of Sales in 2017. Tim’s adopted son, Tim Smith, Jr., ran the northwest operations for several years until moving on to other pursuits.
Tim lives by his “family first” values outside of work as well. He and his wife had one child together and joyfully spent a decade raising 13 foster children. The couple, who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2020, lives in Orange County and has a second home in Washington state near their two grandchildren.
Giving back to the community
Beyond his business and family, Tim is committed to his Christian faith and compassionate community service. He is an active participant in Jesus Christ CEOs, Christian Business Men’s Council, World Vision, Yorba Linda Friends Church, Standing Stone Ministries, and Windows of Heaven. He also volunteers at Royal Family Kids/For the Children as a summer camp counselor for foster children.
He has similarly encouraged the Eagle employee team to participate in volunteer service projects for nonprofit organizations in the Orange County region. Tim’s larger vision for the company is to improve the lives of at least 2,100 children over the next decade. He is excited about the opportunity to implement this ambitious goal.
Practicing the Golden Rule
What does Tim appreciate most about his position?
“Eagle Print Dynamics is the vehicle for me to build relationships with people, whether it’s customers, suppliers, or employees,” he says. “I’m a relational person at heart—I like getting to know people, listening to understand their needs, and helping them as much as I can.
Maybe I could have been even more successful doing something else, but I’ve enjoyed this industry, and money is not my biggest motivating factor. One of our core values, “ethical,” means treating everybody the way we want to be treated. We do so with kindness while running an honest business. That’s the Golden Rule, written into our core values. And it’s how I want to live my life.”