Saturday, September 24, 2016

Michael Dlug: Telecommunications all-star

By Amanda Cregan Correspondent

Sep 23, 2016

Meet Michael Dlug of Stratus ip. He is one of twenty-one Burlington County business and community leaders who have been chosen as 2016 Emerging Leaders by the Burlington County Times and the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes rising stars who bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to their organizations and propelling them toward success.

Nancy Rokos/Photojournalist

Cinnaminson resident, Michael Dlug, is the CEO of Stratus ip, Tuesday, August 23, 2016, located in Cherry Hill.

Michael Dlug knows what it takes to hit a homerun in business.

Dlug is CEO of Stratus ip. The Cherry Hill-based voice and data broker develops telecommunications strategies for businesses.

Stratus ip identifies a company’s needs based on its operations, number of employees and locations and other factors to determine the most reliable and cost-effective internet and phone plan for that business. Then it matches a company with a carrier and it bundles all of the telecommunications into a monthly bill, and Stratus ip is paid a percentage of that monthly bill.

Growing up in a tight-knit neighborhood in Delran, Dlug wanted to become a Major League Baseball player. He played on the local leagues as a kid and spent four years playing baseball for Shenandoah University, a top Division III school in Virginia.

Two weeks after graduating with a degree in exercise physiology, Dlug was preparing to enter an independent baseball league when he broke his shin bone. The injury meant he would never get his chance to play baseball professionally.

It taught him an important lesson in failure.

“It’s being able to handle that is what makes you successful,” said Dlug, 40.

The same qualities he learned on a baseball field apply in business.

“You take what you can out of it all,” he said, of his time in baseball. “The character and attributes that made me good at baseball makes me good at what I’m doing right now.”

Nancy Rokos/Photojournalist

Michael Diug, of Cinnaminson, on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, is the CEO of Stratus ip, in Cherry Hill.

His first job out of college was at Gold’s Gym in his hometown. Soon, the young man was handed the keys to a newly opened Gold’s Gym at another N.J. location. Dlug made the gym a success but he realized that he could do more.

He landed a sales job with a voice and data broker.

“I never knew this industry existed,” said Dlug, of Cinnaminson. “Then I looked up 8 or 9 years later and I was the top sales guy in the company.”

That company was later acquired by another and Dlug decided to strike out on his own. It was just as economic recession hit, and his new business selling equipment in the hospitality industry failed to take off.

With a pregnant wife at home with two small children, Dlug knew he needed to find his niche quickly.

“The one thing I knew I can do is sell,” he said.

In 2010, he founded Stratus ip. Six years later, he has 10 employees and manages 150 accounts. On the weekends, he helps coach his kids’ soccer and baseball teams.

Dlug credits his dad, Dave, for showing him what it means to work hard to provide a better life for your family.

“I watched my dad take the bus to work into Philly for 30 years and never complain,” he said.

In addition to working a full-time job in the finance department at the Philadelphia Inquirer, his dad worked a night job to pay for extras like his son’s baseball gear.

“He’d come home, take a nap and then go to work at night waxing floors at Acme.”

Now, Dlug is dusting off the home plate to clear the way for his children.

"You strive to put your family in a better position than what you were left with.”

Nancy Rokos/Photojournalist

The CEO of Stratus ip, locared in Cherry Hill, on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, is Michael Dlug, of Cinnaminson.


The Burlington County Times and Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce honored 21 area leaders as part of the 2016 Emerging Leaders banquet at Aloft in Mount Laurel on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Video by Carl Kosola

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