How did a cabinetry maker working out of his barn during the Great Depression manage to exponentially expand his business into what has now become a $600 million revenue-generating corporation? Kevin Sauder, the president and CEO of Sauder Woodworking Company, will reveal the tricks of the trade – applicable to anyone who is adventurous enough to embrace ingenuity – at the first fall 2018 University of Findlay Fridays at Findlay. His Sept. 28 talk, titled “Innovating from Your Core Product,” will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s TLB Auditorium.
Sponsored by First Federal Bank, the Fridays at Findlay breakfast lecture series is designed to encourage educational opportunities for members of the community, campus and alumni regarding best leadership practices.
Admission, which includes a hot breakfast, is $10 per person and $5 for students. To register and for more information, contact Cindy Lahey at email@example.com, call 419-434-5334, or visit the Fridays at Findlay webpage.
America’s fifth largest residential furniture manufacturer got its start in 1935 as a one-man cabinetry and casket-crafting operation. Founder Erie Sauder likely never imagined that his business would one day offer items ranging from hospital furniture to cat towers, but the Archbold, Ohio-based company’s ethos has always hinged on proactive adaptation that has never lost sight of its heritage. Its founders’ use of recycled wood for small occasion tables, and Sauder’s first patented ready-to-assemble table developed in 1953, sets the third-generation, private family business apart from other industry heavyweights.
While offering superior products in traditional styles, Sauder also continuously reimagines and delivers on ideas that serve customers’ changing needs. For instance, its contemporary desk offerings cater to the digitally-influenced, growing work-from-home force; and its Eden Rue collection features retro-chic designs that draw buyers of all ages.
Here are more fascinating Sauder facts:
- Ninety percent of the company’s products are made in Archbold.
- Sauder is a major contract supplier to IKEA.
- About 2,000 of Sauder’s 3,000 workers are employed within the village of Archbold, population 4,300.
- “Sauder” is pronounced like “chowder.”
Kevin Sauder himself exemplifies leadership at its best. Following completion of his bachelor’s degree from Miami University and Master of Business Administration from Duke University, he joined Northern Telecom in business systems and marketing in Raleigh, North Carolina. Three years later, in 1988, he returned to Sauder as marketing and sales director for the newly formed Office Products Division. He was named vice president of marketing and sales in 1992 and president in 1999. Sauder has received the Advertising Age Marketing 100 Leaders Award, the IHFRA Pillar of Industry Award, and the Northwest Ohio Twenty-Under-Forty leadership award.
Sauder was 2015 chairman of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and is a director of the Farmers & Merchants State Bank. He is on the executive committee of the ProMedica Health System and the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism boards of trustees. He is also 2018 president of the Archbold Rotary Club.
The next Fridays at Findlay is scheduled to take place Oct. 12. It will feature a panel of professionals connected with the premature birth and care of Cincinnati Zoo’s Fiona the Hippo, who has become an international sensation with her adorable survival story.