There is a corporate family focus at AMS, and we often talk about what this focus achieves: from the free educational and job training opportunities to the wide-ranging hiring practices to safety training and community service, we focus on the family. AMS knows it’s our employees who serve the clients and make a fulfillment business successful. But what we don’t often talk about is how AMS started, and the fact that we are not just family-focused, we are also family-owned and operated.
Recently the Santa Clarita Business Journal ranked AMS the #1 family-owned business in Santa Clarita. Santa Clarita is the 3rd largest city in Los Angeles County, with Los Angeles and Long Beach coming in as one and two. At AMS we are very proud to employ more than 300 individuals, and grateful to the Journal for the ranking as #1.
The AMS family began with Jay Catlin and his father David Catlin. David had been a successful business owner for a number of years when he acquired an independent packaged media (DVD/CD) company. Since Jay had been working in fulfillment for nearly a decade, he was a perfect fit to assist David in shoring up his company’s distribution operations. Jay’s first order of business was to form a new fulfillment entity to assemble packaged media, warehouse and manage inventory, fulfill orders and process returns. That was the beginning of AMS – Advantage Media Services, Inc. – and the year was 2002.
Now, fifteen years later, AMS has grown tremendously from 15 employees to over 300, and from one client and product line to 50+ clients and 10s of thousands of unique product types. David Catlin remains Chairman of the Board and co-owner along with two others: Jay, who serves as President, and Ken Wiseman who serves as CEO.
Reflecting on the past, Jay comments, “It’s really incredible to see how much AMS has grown over the past 15 years, and fun to tell the story of our journey from packaged media to where we are today with so many unique clients and industries that we serve.”
Jay and Ken have managed the rise of AMS into a large and successful fulfillment company with Jay focusing primarily on client development and Ken focusing on workforce development, training and community relations. Both business partners work together in overseeing operations, technology and finance.
AMS has tapped into the skills of three more Catlin family members as well; Jay’s step-brother, Craig McCracken, works part-time for AMS in online marketing, Jay’s mom Ida Lawrence writes web content and blogs for AMS, and his 16-year-old daughter Trinity Catlin was recently introduced to the family business as she worked an internship in client services and sales.
Ken and Jay were acquaintances within the fulfillment industry at the time AMS was formed in 2002. Ken’s son Eric was actually the first Wiseman to join AMS, after Jay hired Eric to serve in warehouse operations. Within months (after a ‘thumbs up’ report from Eric about the team at AMS), Ken joined Jay and David as a partner in the business, coming in as CEO.
Ken and his wife Betty Lou have been together for 38-years, and have worked together for 37 of those years! The two were reunited at AMS soon after Ken’s arrival, with Betty Lou coming in as Vice President of Client Services (now EVP). Ken and Betty Lou’s older son Justin Wiseman, a fulfillment-lifer himself, arrived at AMS in 2004 as well, and holds the position of Director of Operations. Eric now serves as Operations Manager at AMS.
Ken summed it up well by saying, “It is very fulfilling to share my career with my wife, my boys, and the Catlin and AMS family. We have had the chance to grow together. I’ve watched people start in entry-level jobs and develop a career at AMS. There is a level of trust, expectation, and reliance that comes from working with family and long-time associates that feel like family.”
Thank you again from AMS to the Santa Clarita Business Journal for ranking AMS the #1 family-owned business in Santa Clarita! We are proud of our company and of the city we call home.