Name: Michael Strong
What is your current title/role?
I am the Co-Owner and Principal of Mike Strong, Inc. dba Mike’s Rent-To-Own. I operate the company with my father, Mike Strong, and my sister, Angela Strong-McCool.
How many years have you been working in rent-to-own?
I have really grown up in the RTO business. The company began in 1981, and even at a young age, I was at the store after school, and all day during the summers. I’ve done just about every position – from doing in-store assembly to delivery to store management, whatever needed to be done.
What did you do before you began working in RTO?
I worked as a high-steel rigger for rock-and-roll concerts for a while, and managed a scuba-diving and travel shop, as well as a few other odd jobs during college.
What is your favorite thing about rent-to-own?
I think it’s the people – the people you work with and the people you meet. It’s a really fun and interesting business.
What has been your proudest professional moment?
My proudest professional moment is just working daily with my dad and sister. I think we knew all along that this was the direction we’d go, but being a true family-operated business can be a difficult thing to get going. It can be hard, but it’s extremely rewarding. I’m very proud of what my dad started, and what Angie and I have helped him build.
Why did you want to be a member of APRO’s Board of Directors?
I feel that APRO needs a bit more of the independent operator’s voice.
What issues do you hope to work on, and what sort of difference do you hope to make, during your time on the BOD?
Education and advocacy work are important issues to me. I’m also excited to see what direction the Board as a whole envisions for APRO.
What’s your favorite non-work-related way to spend your time?
I’m a fairly active triathlete and skier. So all year, I’m typically finding some time for a swim, bike, or run, or some hiking in the mountains with my wife Shelly and our two dogs. As soon as the snowflakes start to fall, I spend as much time as I can chasing deep powder and soft bumps.
What’s your “happy place,” and why?
We have a cabin in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. It’s beautiful, and has plenty to do in both summer and winter. It’s a great escape for us, and we’re always happy there.
Please share a favorite quotation, lyric, or saying, and what it means to you.
Nobody Cares; Work Harder. While a rather direct and pointed quote, it’s good to tell yourself when things are getting difficult, problems keep cropping up, or you’re having an off day. Everyone has troubles – how you react to them and what you do to turn them into opportunities is what matters.