“What you make people feel is as important as what you make,” says Hank Menke Jr., president and CEO of OFS Brands Inc.
Menke’s philosophy is backed by a significant furniture-making heritage and a commitment to provide OFS Brands’ clients with products that exceed their expectations in both quality and value.
The Huntingburg, IN-based company designs and manufactures furniture, and is the parent company for OFS, First Office, Carolina, Loewenstein and Styline Logistics. The family-owned company has seven manufacturing plants and four support facilities throughout Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina, employing 1,680 workers, and recently marked its 75th anniversary.
“At OFS Brands, you won’t find big company committees waiting for other committees to make a decision about what furniture we’ll be producing this year,” the company motto states. “What you will find are craftspeople who are dedicated to creating the office furniture you need.”
Menke’s first position after college was with Armstrong Corp., former owners of Thomasville Furniture Industries. Menke worked in production scheduling and eventually became an assistant plant manager. After five years with Thomasville, Menke made the decision to rejoin the family business in 1978.
“At that time, we were servicing 5,000 customers who were buying less than a thousand dollars average in a given year,” Menke said in an interview with MavenStar Consulting. “That was our clientele. We were selling all of these local furniture stores in every small town, but those businesses were dying on the vine.
“So we made the decision back in 1983 to move to office furniture,” he continues. “Our first office desk came out in 1983, and by 1987 we had decided to leave the residential industry completely. Then we retooled the plants and got busy.”
Menke is a leader in the community, serving on the board of directors of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and also is active in the industry, serving on BIFMA’s board of directors and recently being elected to the Board of Directors of the Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF), an international, non-profit, educational institution for sustainable forest management (SFM).
“Hank understands and is committed to TFF’s mission of conserving the tropical forests by maintaining their economic value,” says Bob Johnston, TFF executive director. “As we improve the skills and knowledge of local forest communities, he will provide valuable counsel and relationships that can advance our work.”
Menke frequently mentions in interviews his pride in OFS Brands and excitement about its future. “We’re constantly reinventing ourselves, which is important for any company,” says Menke. “I don’t care what you’re making – you need to constantly innovate and talk to your customers regarding their needs. And once you know your customers’ needs, you must execute with a superb delivery system.”
• Education: Millikin University, Industrial Engineering
• Number of years at the company: 35
• Number of years in the industry: 40
• Word or phrase that describes you? Not complacent.
• Who is the one person you’ve tried to emulate in business and why? My father. His saying to me was always: “Life doesn’t come on a silver platter. You have to work for everything you get.”
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