02.07.11 // Wood Stone Announces a New Chapter…
The little company that could be changing
the culture of foodservice
Wood Stone announces a new chapter in its leadership. From our roots comes our future. Here’s a little bit of that story…
Keith Carpenter and Harry Hegarty founded the Wood Stone Corporation in Bellingham, WA in 1990. At the time Keith was a foodservice manufacturer’s representative and Harry a designer and builder of industrial incinerators. Though the two had met on a few occasions they were just getting to know each other as they hung a shingle out to build ovens. They set on this venture with a few simple ideas, an incredible reserve of energy and a sense of humor. Little did they know what an adventure they were embarking on. Within a few years a market for their wood-fired ovens was starting to take shape, more merry makers were starting to join the band and Keith and Harry were suddenly more than business partners: they were friends.
By the late-1990s and early 2000s Wood Stone was starting to make an impact in the market and, it turned out, on its founders. What started out as a way to build ovens for restaurants was maturing into a way to make a living. Keith and Harry began to look at Wood Stone not just as a business with P&L statements and balance sheets but as a kind of a cultural experiment driven by the unique family of people who came together every day and shared their lives with each other. Through the many years of ideas and products it is this idea of building a lasting Wood Stone Culture that has become, undoubtedly, their proudest innovation.
Keith and Harry realized that this unique enterprise they’d founded would need a different kind of plan for the future. As Wood Stone grew Keith and Harry began cultivating a leadership team that could steward the company business and its culture forward.
After 20 years Keith and Harry are ready to begin taking a few more Mondays and Fridays off. As they do this the new leadership team at Wood Stone will step forward and take on the day to day management of Wood Stone. As Keith and Harry were always equal co-Presidents, they have knighted two new equal presidents: Kurt Eickmeyer will be President of Sales and Marketing, and Wade Bobb will be President of Engineering, Manufacturing and IT.
Keith & Harry aren’t going away. But they will take on new positions that allow them more free time: Keith as CEO and Chief Story Teller and Harry as COO and Chief Tinkerer. This transition would not be possible without the skills and knowledge of our industry, our products and our unique company culture that Kurt and Wade bring to the table.
Kurt is a well known face and charming personality at trade shows and has been a part of Wood Stone for 15 years, most recently in the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He is also a degreed Ceramic Engineer which has been instrumental in the manufacture of the finest stone hearth ovens. He is a surprisingly good tenor.
Wade Bobb has been an integral part of the Wood Stone family for 12 years. Wade’s degree in Industrial Engineering and his expertise in manufacturing systems have made Wood Stone’s ventures into entirely new products feasible. An avid Mountain biker, Wade shreds the trails!
And there is more: Phil Eaton who was a manufactures’ rep with Eaton Marketing representing Wood Stone for over 10 years and then joined the band in 2003 as our regional sales manager will assume more of Kurt’s former role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. – Fish fear Phil.
Jackie Van Zwol who has been with Wood Stone for 15 years starting as bookkeeper and transitioning into sales will take on her new role as Vice President, Consultant Champion and Team Building. Jackie is even more colorful and vibrant than her hair.
Merrill Bevan who has been with Wood Stone for 12 years and has covered our International Marketing for 10 years will become Vice President of International Sales and Team Building. Merrill always brings his-his-his boogie shoes.
Tim Tracy and Justin Mitchell continue making music in their roles as Vice President of Manufacturing and Vice President of Finance.
All of Wood Stone congratulates their founders Keith & Harry, as well as their new presidents Kurt and Wade and their new Vice Presidents, Phil, Jackie & Merrill. We pledge to continue building the best equipment, providing the best customer service and helping our industry partners and families find success just as we have for over 20 years.
To be continued…Check back in 15 or 20 years…
Well wishes? Love to hear your comments below!