k. bruce lauritsen
From his start as a sales trainee to his rise to CEO, Bruce Lauritsen (b. 1942 d. 2007) embodied the qualities of a true leader. A graduate from Creighton University, Mr. Lauritsen was an officer in the U.S. Army, became an Airborne Ranger, and served in Vietnam. He joined Flexsteel Industries Inc. in 1968 as a sales trainee. He served as regional sales manager, Midwest sales manager, national sales manager, vice president of sales and executive vice president of sales before becoming president in 1989 and chief executive officer in 1993. Flexsteel's revenues grew from $19.9 million in 1968 to $172 million in 1989 to $425 million in 2007. Mr. Lauritsen recognized the value of independent dealers and used the Flexsteel brand to support the independent store brand. He launched Flexsteel's first in-store gallery in 1984; today there are more than 600 Flexsteel Signature galleries.
Under Mr. Lauritsen's leadership, Flexsteel became a major competitor in the residential upholstery industry, and in contract and vehicle seating. After acquiring DMI Furniture, Flexsteel gained entry into wood furniture and global sourcing. He helped Flexsteel develop its proprietary blue-watch steel spring unit into many uses, thus diversifying Flexsteel and creating new opportunities for the company. He also developed regional factories to better serve retailers and reduce transportation costs. Throughout Mr. Lauritsen's career, he practiced the highest ethics with his employees, customers, suppliers and competitors.