Wood Industry Market Leader: Max Verkamp, Indiana Furniture
October 30, 2018 | 1:37 pm CDT
Max Verkamp, president & CEO, Indiana Furniture

Max Verkamp recalls the advice a customer once gave him: “You and your company can differentiate yourselves from your competition when something goes wrong, which will occur at some point.”

“Everyone makes promises when they are trying to sell something, but the best partners are those that show a high level of urgency in effectively resolving issues,” said Verkamp, president and CEO of Indiana Furniture. He has made this his mission throughout his entire woodworking career.

Verkamp was introduced to woodworking at an early age; his father worked at Aristokraft/MasterBrand Cabinets and Verkamp worked summers there. After a brief foray in banking, “I felt the pull of the woodworking industry and desire to work with a tangible product pulling me back to the kitchen cabinet industry.”

 Verkamp worked at MasterBrand for 24 years, gaining insights in multiple disciplines. “Having knowledge of these different areas and the challenges they face has enhanced my decision making by providing me the ability to look at problems/challenges from all perspectives,” he said.

Those experiences also “created a very solid foundation for me, which is a major reason why I was selected to lead Indiana Furniture.” Verkamp was named president of the large contract furniture firm in 2016.

In his tenure, one of the manufacturing facilities achieved certification in the Indiana Safety and Health Recognition Program. Indiana Furniture also has been recognized multiple times by INDEAL dealers for its exemplary service.

The company also recently expanded its showroom at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. “Over the past couple of years, we have worked very hard on improving the relevancy of our product and our image in the marketplace in order to increase our sales. 2018 has been the year we have started seeing the benefits of our efforts.”

He added, “Going forward, it is imperative we continue our efforts to develop more innovative products in the face of a rapidly changing office environment.”

Verkamp continued, “We are committed to maintaining our high levels of service to our customers, which is our foundation, and to keeping the family feel we have within our organization.”

Community service is another foundation of the company. Verkamp is involved in many endeavors including Mentors 4 Youth, Friends of the Arts, his church’s Pastoral Council, and BIFMA's board. “I believe it is important to give back to the community which has given me so much opportunity throughout my life.”

Verkamp also enjoys spending time with family, traveling, boating, and skiing.

Quick Glimpse:

Education:  BA Economics Notre Dame, MBA Xavier University

Number of years at the company: 2-1/2

Number of years in the industry: 26-1/2

Phrase that best describes you: A trusted leader that is committed to excellence

Business mantra: Live up to your commitments

Who have you tried to emulate? My father, Gilbert Verkamp, who was the president of Aristokraft/MasterBrand for 20 years. Key reasons: He knew how to surround himself with very talented people that would challenge and work with him to drive the business forward. He respected all the employees, and built a level of trust throughout the organization. He was always willing to challenge the organization to innovate and change as the market was changing.

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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