Don Wasek is an American entrepreneur and business executive best known for founding several successful companies in the fitness and nutrition industries. He has over 30 years of experience building brands and leading high-performance teams.
Some facts about Don Wasek’s life and career:
- Born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois.
- Earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University in 1978.
- Began his career working in sales and marketing roles for large supplement brands like Twinlab and Nature’s Way.
- Founded Nutraceutical Corporation in 1993 – grew it into a leading nutritional supplement manufacturer with over $500 million in annual revenue.
- Has served as CEO of companies like Genesis Today, DynoVite, and Nature’s Value.
- Known for his innovative marketing strategies and ability to identify emerging consumer trends.
- An avid athlete and health enthusiast who has completed over 25 marathons.
- Based in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife and has raised 3 children.
- Active philanthropist who supports educational causes and fundraising initiatives.
Don Wasek’s Early Life and Education
Don Wasek was born in 1956 and raised primarily in the Chicago suburbs of Illinois. His father was an accountant and his mother was an elementary school teacher. From an early age, Wasek developed an entrepreneurial spirit, starting a lawn mowing business in his neighborhood at age 12.
Wasek attended public schools in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He was an active student, playing on the varsity baseball and basketball teams. However, his primary focus was business. Wasek started several small ventures as a teenager, gaining experience in sales and customer service.
After high school, Wasek attended Northern Illinois University. He originally intended to study pre-med but soon switched his major to business administration. Wasek felt that major provided him with critical knowledge around marketing, finance, and company operations that would aid him in launching a company someday. He graduated in 1978 with his bachelor’s degree in business.
Don Wasek’s Early Life
- Born in 1956 in Chicago suburbs
- Developed entrepreneurial interests at young age
- Attended Northern Illinois University
- Earned a bachelor’s in business administration in 1978
Career Beginnings in Supplement Sales and Marketing
After graduating college in 1978, Don Wasek took a position with Twinlab, a nutritional supplement company. As a sales representative, he gained valuable experience in the supplement industry and discovered his passion for health products.
Impressing Twinlab executives with his marketing ideas, Wasek moved into a product management role. He helped launch several innovative supplement lines that expanded Twinlab’s customer base. However, Wasek eventually left, frustrated by the big corporation’s bureaucracy and inability to swiftly capitalize on trends.
In 1985, Wasek joined Nature’s Way, a smaller rival supplement company. As Marketing Director, he honed his skills around branding, promotions, and identifying consumer needs within the natural products space. Wasek’s team introduced several trendy supplements like probiotics and fish oils that boosted revenues.
By the early 1990s, Don Wasek knew he was ready to strike out on his own in the supplement industry. He had cultivated the marketing acumen and industry expertise to build his own successful company.
- Started in supplement sales at Twinlab in 1978
- Moved into marketing and product development
- Later worked as Marketing Director at Nature’s Way
- Learned skills in branding, promotions, consumer trends
Founding and Growth of Nutraceutical Corporation
In 1993, Don Wasek founded Nutraceutical Corporation and launched Solaray, a specialty vitamin and supplement brand. He served as CEO and Chairman, overseeing all areas of the business.
Wasek focused intensely on understanding consumer needs within the supplement market. He led extensive research into ingredient and health trends. Wasek also pioneered creative marketing strategies like collaborating with health food stores and niche magazines.
This market-driven approach allowed Nutraceutical to expand Solaray into a diverse line of over 700 supplement products. Revenues grew rapidly from $5 million in year one to $507 million by 2007. The company also acquired competitors like KAL, Nature’s Life, and Ayush Herbs. By the 2000s, Nutraceutical had over 1500 employees and supplied major retail chains like GNC, Whole Foods, and Walmart.
Under Don Wasek’s leadership, Nutraceutical became a leading player in the nutritional supplement industry. He built the company through smart branding, product innovation, and responding to emerging consumer trends.
Founding and Growth of Nutraceutical
- Founded in 1993 and launched the Solaray brand
- Focused intensely on consumer research and marketing
- Grew Nutraceutical to over $500M in annual revenues
- Acquired major supplement brands like KAL and Nature’s Life
- Expanded into 1500+ employees and major retailers
Time as CEO of Dynovite and Genesis Today
After taking Nutraceutical public in the early 2000s, Don Wasek stepped down as CEO in 2007. However, he remained active as Chairman of the Board.
Seeking new entrepreneurial challenges, Wasek acquired Genesis Today and DynoVite in 2008. He served as CEO of both supplement companies and accelerated their growth through product innovation.
At Genesis Today, Wasek oversaw the development and launch of new superfood juice and smoothie lines. He also expanded distribution into mainstream grocery retailers like Safeway and Publix.
For Dynovite, Wasek helped formulate specialized multivitamin products for active lifestyles. He also implemented creative marketing campaigns on fitness blogs and health websites.
During this period as CEO of Genesis Today and Dynovite, Don Wasek proved he could rapidly grow niche supplement brands. His sharp understanding of consumer behavior and willingness to embrace new strategies powered top-line growth.
Time as CEO of Dynovite and Genesis Today
- Acquired Genesis Today and DynoVite in 2008
- Served as CEO of both specialty supplement firms
- Led product innovation, marketing campaigns
- Grew distribution and revenues by targeting active lifestyles
Nature’s Value and Marketing Innovations
In the 2010s, Don Wasek has continued pursuing new ventures and sharing his marketing insights.
He serves as CEO of Nature’s Value, a natural supplement brand oriented around purity and quality. Wasek has focused on improving sourcing and production while expanding to new product formats like gummies.
Wasek also co-founded Brandarc Marketing in 2015 with his son Darren. The agency provides branding, package design, digital marketing, and other services to health and wellness companies. Don contributes his three decades of supplement marketing experience.
In industry speeches and interviews, Wasek has highlighted the power of digital marketing and the importance of simple, benefit-focused messaging. He’s an advocate for direct-to-consumer sales models and leveraging social media influencers.
Even in his late 60s, Don Wasek maintains his passion for innovations in consumer marketing and the supplement industry he helped build.
- Currently serves as CEO of Nature’s Value supplement company
- Co-founded branding/marketing agency Brandarc in 2015
- Shared insights on digital marketing, DTC sales, influencers
- Remains dedicated to marketing innovations in his 60s
Leadership and Management Philosophy
Over his long career, Don Wasek has developed a unique leadership and management philosophy that has driven growth across his companies.
He believes in hiring employees who are self-motivated and giving them freedom to identify solutions while providing clear strategic guidance. Wasek likes to foster a startup-style, entrepreneurial culture where creativity is encouraged.
Wasek emphasizes understanding consumer motivations and building brands that connect emotionally with customers. He is willing to disrupt the status quo of his industry if it aligns with emerging trends and needs.
Don pushes his teams to take smart risks and learn from mistakes rather than being afraid of failure. He wants people who will shake up established ways of doing things.
According to Wasek, the keys to success are being nimble, prioritizing marketing/branding, and constantly gathering insights into your consumers. He believes that sticking to these principles allows companies to outperform larger but less adaptive competitors.
Leadership and Management Philosophy
- Fosters entrepreneurial cultures with self-motivated employees
- Focuses on understanding emotional drivers of consumers
- Encourages smart risks and learning from failure
- Values nimbleness and continuous consumer insights
- Willing to disrupt status quo to align with trends
Passions and Perspectives
Outside of his corporate leadership roles, Don Wasek has passionately pursued sports, travel, and learning. These experiences have shaped his perspectives on health, business, and life.
Wasek has been an avid long-distance runner since his 20s. He has now completed over 25 marathons, including prestigious races like Boston and New York City. This dedication to fitness informs his insights around supplements and nutrition.
In summary, Don Wasek has had an incredibly successful career as an entrepreneur and executive within the nutritional supplement industry. Starting with his development of innovative brands like Solaray in the 1990s, Wasek demonstrated a keen understanding of how to connect with consumers and deliver products they need.
His unique leadership approach of fostering nimbleness, smart risk-taking, and entrepreneurial thinking has powered growth across multiple companies. Even after selling Nutraceutical, Wasek continues to take on new ventures and share his marketing insights.
His passion for fitness and learning informs his perspectives on business and life. Now in his 60s, Don Wasek has certainly left a lasting mark on the supplement world thanks to his vision, marketing acumen, and ability to build high-performance teams.
FAQs About Don Wasek
What companies has Don Wasek founded?
Don Wasek founded Nutraceutical Corporation in 1993, most well-known for its Solaray supplement brand. He also co-founded Brandarc Marketing, a branding and marketing agency, in 2015.
How did Don Wasek grow Nutraceutical so successfully?
Wasek focused intensely on consumer research and pioneered creative marketing strategies. This allowed Nutraceutical to stay ahead of supplement trends and rapidly expand its product lines into retailers nationwide.
What is Don Wasek’s management philosophy?
He believes in hiring self-motivated employees, encouraging entrepreneurial thinking, taking smart risks, and constantly gathering consumer insights. This nimble approach has powered his success.
What other CEO roles has Don Wasek held?
Wasek served as CEO of Genesis Today and DynoVite after selling Nutraceutical. He accelerated growth by innovating new products and targeting active lifestyles.
How has Don Wasek impacted the supplement industry?
With over 30 years in the business, Wasek has introduced many pioneering marketing concepts. He has shown how research into consumer behavior can transform supplement branding and sales.