Meet Our Neighbors: Horizon Packaging

Author: Emily Tyson

Dan Cunningham likes to run long distances and lift heavy weights.  Whether it’s a half-marathon or a CrossFit workout, he first educates himself with what he needs to know and then puts in the hard work to gain the experience he needs to accomplish his fitness goals.  


Dan also likes to run companies and "lift" them from average success to greater profitability.  He educates himself with what he needs to know about the company's product and market and then puts in the hard work to gain the experience he needs to accomplish his business goals.

This seemingly simple but effective formula of education plus hard work and experience began for Dan when he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Accounting.  Dan knew his education and degree would be the "vehicle" to owning his own company but he also knew he needed real-world experience in order to achieve his long-term goals.  So, after graduating in 1996 he joined an accounting/consultant firm and proceeded to work hard and get promoted.

Five years later, Dan launched into business ownership by purchasing a wholesale distribution company that sourced and provided bar coded labels and tags to retailers.  The business he bought had existed for several years but was operating at a local, small scale.  Dan thought bigger and knew scaling up would create efficiency and – of course – generate bigger profits for the company.  He also knew he'd be more likely to suceed with a business based on recurring revenue.

After several years of building this company to greater succeess, he sold it and bought another. This time the company he purchased was one that had been around for 30 years and, while successful, needed Dan to bring it to greater profitability.  Horizon Packaging provides custom, high-quality, flexible packaging to both food and non-food retailers. Dan runs the business efficiently from his office in Innovation Park supported by three employees who provide sales and administrative support out of the company's main office in Chattanooga, TN.

Education + hard work and experience = success. The simplest formulas often are the best -- and they work whether you are running a business, or just running.