Greg Gloor retires this month after 37 years of creating Hardwood Artisans. I am sure it is a difficult thing to let go of. On the other hand, he has probably seen enough, and is ready to move on to something different. He is already enrolled in college classes!
I consider Greg the “Steve Jobs” of Hardwood Artisans. Brilliant, visionary, creative, difficult, compassionate, unrelenting, patient, generous, motivating. I suspect anyone who can create something this great must have all these attributes, good and bad.
I can honestly say that Greg is one of the smartest individuals I have ever met. Many people would agree with me about that statement. But you don’t build a business like Hardwood Artisans by just being smart. It takes so much more.
Greg has taught each of the current owners what he can about what it takes to run this company. Each of the six partners represents a part of Greg’s skills and knowledge. Curt took the financial and technical. Ricardo took the general managing and some design. John Hilgren took the very technical. John Buss took the maintaining and improving. Kevin took the day to day grind of getting the production job done. And I took the designing and branding of the company. Essentially, it now takes six men to do what Greg did alone years ago.
It is difficult to express the gratitude the partners have toward this man. Personally, he has taught me a great deal, and more than just furniture design. We have been through some of the best and worst times. We have shared booms and busts, weddings, births, and deaths. We have loved and hated, sometimes at the same time. If you have ever had the privilege of working with Greg, you know what I mean. Perfection does not come about seamlessly. It is the hard road taken that results in the complete fulfillment of an idea, a design, a need. This is Greg’s legacy.
Lois Gloor is the wife of Greg, the founder of Hardwood Artisans. She is retiring this month, along with Greg. Some of you know her, but many of our customers are unaware of her contributions to the organization over the past 37 years. Part of this reason is because many of her functions have been behind the scenes. Bookkeeping, technical support, and for the past 15 years or so, photographer and graphics work.
Lois has been responsible for all those pictures you see in the Washington Post Magazine and photo albums in the showrooms, as well as all the price sheets we hand out. So, you see, she has been out of site because she has often been on the “other end” of the camera.
Photography has become a passion for Lois, and she plans on doing more in retirement. She is selling the company her old camera, trading up to the newest and greatest model! Being more involved with the raising of grandchildren, travel, and just doing all those things that time would not allow due to a busy work schedule will fill the days.
Lois’ contributions to the organization have been huge. We hope to continue the work she has so carefully crafted, and continue the legacy of excellence. If you have time this month, send her a note – Lois@hardwoodartisans.com.
Ken Schell, The Redneck Dali Lama
Our dear friend and Rockville manager Ken Schell retired this past week after over 22 years of service. Like many of you, I will miss my weekly doling of his “pearls of Redneck wisdom”, as I liked to call it.
A self-admitted K-mart kind of guy with an eye for style, scale, fashion, and aesthetics, Ken was quite the contradiction. I loved the way he could say what sounded like the stupidest thing, and then make you see why it made sense. I know many of our customers will miss his peculiar strategy for figuring out what their actual needs were.
It is tough to write nice things about Ken without coming across as sounding critical about him. On the contrary, I have a tremendous respect for Ken, and am grateful to have known him. Funny, light-hearted, and able to put the correct perspective on most situations, everyone at Hardwood Artisans will miss him dearly.