John Urbin
john urbin container store
Title: General Manager
Company: The Container Store

After graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in architecture, John Urbin decided to do some soul-searching. In 2001, he was back in his hometown, Chicago, looking for a part-time job while he got himself together.

Being the organized architecture major that he was, Urbin decided to apply to work at The Container Store, a place he had often shopped. He interviewed with the store's then-manager, Teri Williams. "She asked me if I would ever consider a career in retail. If you ask her, she says I said, 'Hell no,' which, I would never say 'hell' in an interview."

Nevertheless, Urbin didn't see himself at the store for long, though he promised to give his the company his all while he was there. Williams hired him and, he says, "She made it kind of a personal mission to change my mind."

Urbin eventually started working with the store's product "elfa." Container Store employees use the product to create a custom design for customers looking to organize spaces in their houses. Here's where Urbin's architecture background kicked in. He found he was good at helping people manage space efficiently.

Suddenly, he was surprised to find he liked going to work. "I never went back to school, I was just having too much fun, is the best way to put it." Now, he is the general manager of the Edina store in Edina, Minn. He lives there with his wife, whom he met at The Container Store. Their house, he says, is very organized.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 17 2013 09:46 AM ET
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