Donald A. belgrad
Don Belgrad (b. 1939) is known as the epitome of diplomacy, loyalty and unselfish service. He works tirelessly for industry and philanthropic causes, showing compassion for others, a belief in building strong relationships, insistence on great customer service, and a commitment to creating a corporate culture that breeds corporate and personal success.
Except for a two-year stint selling Honeywell large frame computers just after college, he spent his entire career at Schnadig International Corp., joining the company, founded by his father-in-law, Lawrence K. Schnadig, as private brands liaison to Sears, Roebuck & Co. Through the years, Mr. Belgrad would hold many positions until becoming Chairman and now Chairman Emeritus. During his tenure, he built Schnadig into the largest family-owned producer of upholstery in the United States, bought a table factory in order to introduce correlated upholstery and occasional groups, and added case goods presented as correlated living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. He quickly recognized the global manufacturing trend and pioneered the move of production to Taiwan and China where he established a wholly owned subsidiary, Schnadig Ltd., to ensure quality and production control, and administration of the company's off-shore supply chain. In January 2009, he orchestrated the sale of Schnadig to Markor International Furniture.
Esteemed throughout the industry, Mr. Belgrad considers his single greatest accomplishment to be leading the industry effort to consolidate the Northern and Southern Furniture Manufacturer's Association into what is now known as the American Home Furnishings Association. In 2002, he was honored with the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association Pillar of the Industry Award and in 2006 he received the President's Award for service to the industry from the Greater Midwest Home Furnishings Representatives Association. He has served as president and chairman of the board of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers, on the board of the Home Furnishings Council and on the board of governors of the Southern Furniture Market Center. He has served two terms as president of the board of the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation, where he lead strategic planning that will result in the publication of all oral histories, the establishment of and plans for an extensive website, and the launch of the long term initiative to research and write a comprehensive history of the American furniture industry for future generations.
Mr. Belgrad's commitment to the industry is matched only by his equally impressive dedication to helping others. He was a director of the Powell Company and has received the City of Hope Humanitarian Award and the National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award. Mr. Belgrad is a director of the Scholarship and Guidance Association Youth & Family Services. He helped found the Roseland Children's Initiative and has served on the boards of Chicago Youth Centers, the American Jewish Committee and the Medical Research Institute Council of Michael Reese Hospital. His personal generosity is perhaps best exemplified by his contribution of time as an involved mentor to a troubled youth through high school, college and now as a productive and successful adult.