It’s a quiet Saturday morning in Manila, where the pace has become more laid-back, as many look forward to a relaxing weekend. But for Dave Wentz, it is but the start of another hectic day, as he gears up for a day filled with activities– all part of his planned schedule to wrap up his Asian tour, before he flies back home to the US, where he is based. Wentz is the chief executive officer of USANA Health Sciences Inc., a direct- selling company that started in Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 years ago. And on the second to the last day of his Manila trip, he apprised several members of the press on his company’s latest developments.
“We’ve had a very full two days. We got to meet with [USANA Philippines] leaders and growers, and had a fun meet-and-greet. But the main reason I’m here is [that]13,000 people [are]coming from all parts of the Philippines who I will meet tomorrow.” Wentz explains that this huge gathering is part of their trimester plan, to keep in touch with their distributors and partners in the Philippines. He is ecstatic about the huge growth in numbers of their distributors in the country, even as he points out that the Philippines has been their fastest area of growth in the Asia Pacific.
USANA Health Sciences Inc., is a US-based nutritional company that manufactures high-quality supplements, personal care and energy and weight management products. It was founded by Dr. Myron Wentz, an internationally recognized microbiologist and immunologist and a pioneer in the development of human cell culture technology.
Since its inception in 1992, the company grew rapidly and went on to become a publicly listed company in several bourses, from the NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol USNA. It is classified as a direct selling company, with 2011 net sales of about $582 million. At present, USANA operates in 19 markets, which include Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
In the Philippines, USANA is headed by Aurora Gaston since USANA formally entered the Philippine market in January 2009. They are now on their 7th year of operations, and Wentz says he couldn’t be happier with the Philippines’ performance. “The Philippines has just been one of the stars,” he adds. Wentz says “China and the Philippines are by far the two most exciting and successful markets of USANA. And these two are definitely one of my highest priorities.”
Wentz says he knows the business by heart. Being the son of the founder, he started working for the company in the summer of 1992, even before the formal organization of the company. According to their corporate data, the young Wentz worked to develop the company’s look, establish product formulas and prepare the company for its debut. He had also served in a number of positions within the company, until he became CEO in July 2008.
Then and now he says, he enjoys connecting with their distributors around the world. “I started running USANA when I was 23 years old, and so with a lot of young distributors, I wanna try and connect with them, cause they are starting their businesses at a very young age,” and he remembers himself fondly when he was like one of them.
Wentz says he mostly wants to tell his story to these young distributors “so they can relate to some of the things and fears I’ve overcome and how basically how working on yourself and growing yourself is the most important thing they need to do in this business, because they have to keep getting better or else their business will stop. But I also want to tell them about the future and the exciting things down the USANA path.”
The young CEO also revealed that he had recently taken a one-year leave. He says he just wanted to spend the year with his 2 children. “With 19 countries and traveling all the time, I do miss my children growing up. And now the management team is so good, and I trust them completely, so August 2nd last year, I took a leave and told the management we got great capable people to run the business.” It was a great decision to do what he did, he says, because he was finally able to take his family traveling and bonding together, like a safari trip with his wife in South Africa, which was something they have always wanted to do. Wentz adds that he found great joy in being able to just travel with his kids and fetch them from school. In the end, he says, it is all about pursuing your passions, while not neglecting the things that are most important in your life. It is also about creating a balance, so one doesn’t get burned out.