Wood Industry Market Leader: Sylvain Garneau, Groupe Lacasse
October 11, 2016 | 2:40 pm CDT
Sylvain Garneau, chairman & CEO, Groupe Lacasse

Opportunity led Sylvain Garneau to join Groupe Lacasse. A passion for woodworking is what has kept him there.

Prior joining the multi-million dollar contract and office furniture manufacturer, Garneau worked in the pulp and paper and steel-related industries. His experiences focused on the operations/general management side of the business, including the role of executive vice-president of a Chicago-based multi-site steel firm and CEO of a large North American trackwork manufacturer based in Vancouver.

“Joining Groupe Lacasse back in 2010 was an exciting opportunity, a return to my home province of Quebec, and I sensed that I would become very passionate about the industry and this company,” said Garneau, chairman and CEO.

Two bits of advice have helped him throughout his career: To “sleep on a matter” he said, “and thus not feel the obligation to make a snap decision that I may regret later.” Also, he added, “that as thin as a sheet a paper can be; it will always have two sides to it… forcing me to always know the most important facts when a decision or a conflict needs my attention.”



2016 Wood Industry Market Leaders revealed

Meet all the 2016 Wood Industry Market Leaders: Farooq Kathwari, Ethan Allen Interiors; Paul Wellborn, Wellborn Cabinet; Todd Wegman, Stevens Industries; Sylvain Garneau, Groupe Lacasse; Jack Lansford Jr., Decore-ative Specialties; Bob Lewis, Closet & Storage Concepts/More Space Place; Rick Thaler, OGB Architectural Millwork; and Brian Preston, Lamon Luther.

It is his attention to detail that helps Garneau stand out. Also: his commitment to the overall success of the organization; his hard work, discipline and resilience; willingness to take risks; and the ability to adapt.

The ability to adapt, particularly in regards to the economy, has been critical to the Canadian firm. Garneau noted that one of the smartest things the company did was to “stay focused on the U.S. market, even when others were pulling out of it because of competitiveness and/or currency fluctuations.” He added, “The company is invested in growing market share in the institutional market segment.”

Under Garneau’s leadership, Groupe Lacasse has continued to be proactive with regards to productivity, diversification and in particular, creativity. It has been recognized for its achievements, including several “Best of NeoCon” awards. 

Service, to the industry and community, is also a priority for Garneau and Groupe Lacasse. Garneau has the distinction of being the first Canadian to be elected president of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association. The firm is also a longtime partner with the University of Montreal on a student design competition, including a paid summer internship for winners.

In his leisure time, Garneau enjoys reading, exercising, and “spending quality time at home with my wife and kids.”

Quick Glimpse:

Education: BA from University of Ottawa; MBA from HEC Montreal  university

Number of years at the company: 6 years

Number of years in the industry: 6 years

Word that describes you: Resilient

Business mantra: A small change can sometimes make a big difference.

Goals for the company: Healthy/sustainable growth and longevity.

Who have you tried to emulate in business and why? I have had the chance to work for or with several remarkable business leaders throughout my career, but the ones who were the most entrepreneurial have had a long-lasting impact on me and still are true inspirations.

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at karen.koenig@woodworkingnetwork.com