McConnaughay spotlights every day hero: Janice Christiansen, President of FlagSource
This month, Senator McConnaughay spotlights Janice Christiansen, President of FlagSource, this year’s Kane County Manufacturer of the Year.
Originally based out of St. Charles, the flag manufacturing company opened its doors in 1920 and later found its home in Batavia. Christiansen took the reins in 1990, carrying on the tradition of the business’s original founders John Christian Schultz and Lillian Schultz—grandparents of her late husband and former President John Christiansen. Prior to being promoted to leadership, she held various roles across the business in sales, marketing, purchasing and vendor negotiations.
Under Christiansen’s management, FlagSource has continued to grow and expand, even following the 2008 economic recession. It has since grown into the nation’s leading manufacturer of American and customized flags. Christiansen’s success has received great praise from the manufacturing community. In 2010, she was elected Chairman of the Illinois Manufacturing Association and is the first woman ever to assume this role.
Family values and patriotism have been the roots of FlagSource for over 95 years. Since its opening, the business has been managed by Schultz and Christiansen family members. Working alongside Christiansen, currently, is her son Jon as the COO and Vice President of the company, and her son Spencer as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Together, with their years of expertise and exposure to the flag manufacturing business, they rely on each other to honor the family's longstanding legacy.
"Family business can have its challenges, but it's great to have a team you can count on," said Christiansen. It can be Thanksgiving every day—or not! My sons and I have different strengths, and that makes the company stronger. We consider all of our employees just as much a part of the 'FlagSource family' too."
American flags remain the cornerstone of FlagSource’s business, encompassing about half of the orders that come in. Christiansen is proud to provide the ultimate symbol of American patriotism, pride and unity. The company has proven a reliable source in times of crises and distress, including the Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“For all of us, many things have changed,” said Christiansen. “Since 1920, the one constant we have had is the American flag. We manufacture it … we fly it … we respect it. It is our symbol of hope in this ever changing, unpredictable world.”
As for the future of the company, Christiansen says FlagSource will continue to grow and diversify their products with the emergence of new technology, while maintaining their high standards of quality and integrity. She also hopes to someday have a grandchild or two to join FlagSource as the fifth generation.
FlagSource was recognized as Kane County Manufacturer of the year on October 6 at the 2016 Manufacturing Champions Awards hosted by the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing. Christiansen later presented the award at the Kane County Board Jobs Committee meeting on October 14.
McConnaughay congratulates Christiansen on the prestigious honor and looks forward to her continued success in the manufacturing and business communities.