Head of Ashley Furniture, an alumnus, is Cabot speaker Oct. 26
October 23, 2017
A University of
Wisconsin-Stout alumnus who heads the world’s largest furniture manufacturer
will return to campus for a special program.
president and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., will present “Leadership
and Innovation in Changing Times” from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in
the ballrooms of the Memorial Student Center.
will include discussion of Ashley’s growth internationally, how it has kept
pace with technology, aspects of leadership and the future of manufacturing, as
well as company history. Ashley is based in Arcadia, in west-central Wisconsin.
The keynote address
will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event is free and open
to the public.
Wanek is the
featured guest for the annual Cabot Executive in Residence program sponsored by
the Provost’s Office. As part of the daylong program, Wanek will meet with
students, faculty and staff and tour several campus industry and technology labs.
Discussions and presentations at the labs will be coordinated by faculty and
administrators, including Chancellor Bob Meyer.
Wanek graduated from
UW-Stout in 1988 with a degree in industrial technology; the program has since
been renamed engineering technology. He worked for five years in Asia as head
of the company’s Taiwan manufacturing and distribution center, developing
Ashley’s supply and manufacturing base throughout Asia.
In 1994 Wanek oversaw
Ashley’s purchase and expansion of an upholstery facility in Ecru, Miss., that
has become the largest in the world, more than 2 million square feet covering
He was named Ashley president
and chief operations officer in 1996. He became CEO in 2002.
Wanek is on the
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Board of Directors.
Cabot Executive in Residence program
This is the 33rd year of the Cabot Executive in Residence
program, which is named in honor of Arthur R. Cabot,
a successful pet products manufacturer. His son, Scott Cabot, earned a
bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in 1978 and a master’s in 1979.
Recent Cabot executives have
included Stephen Marcus, chairman of Marcus Corp.; alumna Shelly Ibach, CEO of Select
Comfort; alumnus William Hendrickson, CEO of Lineage Logistics; alumna Kelly
Matter, president of Resource Inc.; and alumnus Dale Evans, president of EVCO
The Cabot Wall of Honor, featuring
plaques of previous Cabot presenters, was established in 2014.