Legacy Learning

What the current generation of  leadership learned from the people who started it all.

The presence of family-owned businesses in GAWDA isn’t limited to the distributor side. Many of the association’s most prominent supplier members fall into the category. They come in all sizes and product lines, but one thing remains consistent—the lessons learned by the founders are still guiding the companies today.


MK Products

MK Products
Chris Westlake, President
Milo (Mike) Kensrue,Founder/President 1966-1971

“Like my grandfather, I spend much of my time on new product development. He taught me to not over-engineer or over-evaluate during the beginning phase of product development. He showed me how to create something with my hands and not rely on a computerized engineering program for everything.”

Arcon Welding Equipment
ARCON Welding Equipment
Katarina Ennerfelt, President
Gunnar Ennerfelt, President 1999-2010

“My dad taught me to rely on other people. I learned that my expertise becomes more valuable when combined with the knowledge and experience of my employees and associates.”

Computers Unlimited
David Schaer, President
Michael Schaer, President 1978-2009

“My dad taught me to expect and embrace the unknown associated with managing a business that experiences constant change and growth. I learned to expect the unexpected on a daily basis.”


“My father always spoke about technology
and innovation. His entrepreneurial spirit
pushed him to be on a constant lookout for
the next new thing. I know that my job is to
continue that forward-looking tradition.”
FIBA Technologies
Jack Finn, President/CEO
Frank Finn, President 1958-2004


“My dad taught me the value
of relationships. Always a
gentleman, he worked on a
handshake and his word.
That philosophy and his work
ethic were and still are the
foundation of our company.”
Kaplan Industries
Rita Kaplan, Vice President/Partner
Morris Kaplan, President  1960-1997

 


“Whether talking with a customer or
an employee, my dad showed me how
to tell it like it is, even when it’s painful.”
Mid-West Instrument
Mike Lueck, VP of Engineering & Quality Assurance
Fred Lueck, President 1982-current


Victoria Marquard-Schultz
Superflash Compressed Gas Equipment
Victoria Marquard-Schultz, Gen. Counsel/
Regulatory Compliance Director
David Marquard
President/CEO 1993-current

“My father taught me to be thorough
when assisting customers with their
regulatory compliance issues. He knew the
emphasis always has to be on compliance
first and selling our products second.”


Thermco
Dennis Richardson, VP Sales and Marketing
Robert D. Richardson
Founder/President 1951-1982

“Dad taught me how important it is to
follow through. We complete the project,
even if we learn that the work is not as
profitable as anticipated.”


Sellstrom
David Peters, President/CEO
Roger Sellstrom, President 1965-1981

 “My dad taught me to understand the value
of relationships. A relationship doesn’t mean
anything unless the relationship means
something to the customer.”

 

Ray Murray, Inc.
Ray Murray III, Co-Chairman
Raymond B. Murray Jr.,
President/CEO 1973-2001

“My father used to say, ‘If you are not
helping the customer, you better be helping
someone who is.’ That philosophy formed
our emphasis on listening and searching for
solutions-based business, well before it
became popular.”

 

Anthony Welded Products
Frank S Salvucci Jr., CEO
Anthony R. Salvucci, President 1958-1970

“Guts! My grandfather started the company when he was 45 years old, with nothing. He taught me that if I believe in myself and do my best, I can be successful. Anything is possible as long as I believe it.”

 


“My mom taught me how to set goals,
implement them and perform the needed
follow-through to achieve them. A philosophy
passed down in our family is this: ‘It is better
to aim at the moon and hit the barn door, than
to shoot for the barn door and hit your foot.’”
LS Industries
Paul Enegren, International
Sales Manager
Linda Weir-Enegren, President

 


“My dad taught me that we should never, ever say that we can’t do something.  If I’m not sure of my company’s ability to fulfill a customer’s need, our first recourse is to offer to research the topic and then get back to the customer with our response. Throughout our company’s history, unusual requests have led to the development of new business.”
Parenta
Joseph Parenta, President
Dominick F. Parenta, President 1964-1985

 


“My stepdad knew we were not
General Motors, but he wanted
to be like them. As GM developed
challenges, he established Walmart
as a role model. He was fastidious
about the presentation of our
company’s image and taught me
the importance of conducting
business in accordance with very,
very high standards.”
Mailam USA
Ken Moore, President
Tommy Copeland, President 2004-2009

 

 

Saf T Cart
Jimmy Walker Jr. President
Jimmy Walker Sr., President 1986-2006

“My father’s greatest asset is his vision. It was almost like he could look into the future. I’m more of a nuts and bolts guy, and having more of a vision for my company’s future is part of the growth process. I am learning to delegate more of the day-to-day operations in order to see the big picture that was always so clear to my father.”

 


“Dad was big on delegation, and he taught me to give others opportunities to make their own decisions. In order to help others reach their maximum potential, he showed me the importance of giving others responsibilities and then allowing them to make the decisions that go along with
those responsibilities.”
Goss Inc.
Ken Goss, Vice President, Operations
H.C. Goss, President 1965-1987