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kevin m. o'connor

Working his way up from sales representative to president of two leading furniture companies, Kevin O'Connor (b. 1945) launched Legacy Classic Furniture in 1999. Partnering with Samuel Kuo of Samson Holding, Mr. O'Connor developed a new business model for Legacy that enabled customers to mix a variety of products and styles on a direct-container basis with door-to-door service from China, backed by a domestic warehouse for "fill-in purchases" and parts. This revolutionary plan enables independent retailers to affordably source smaller quantities of imported products and has been widely adopted by other companies throughout the industry.

Mr. O'Connor started his career in 1969 as a sales representative with Ethan Allen. He served as vice president of sales for Singer, Burlington and Lea Inds., before joining importer Hyundai Furniture as president in the 1980s, where he was deeply involved in product development. In 1993, he was named president of Master Design, growing the company's sales from $50 million to $100 million in five years. In 2006 Mr. O'Connor was appointed president and CEO of Samson Marketing, which includes Legacy Classic and Universal Furniture. Its business model for stocking inventory in automated storage and retrieval system warehouses in China and High Point, N.C. has enabled Legacy to grow to more than $200 million in annual sales in less than 10 years.

With a long track record of service to the furniture industry, he has served as chairman of the High Point Market Authority since 2007 as well as serving through the years on the boards and committees of the American Furniture Hall of Fame, the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the High Point Chamber of Commerce. In an effort to strengthen the High Point Market, Mr. O'Connor was instrumental in leading a group of 20-plus manufacturers in reinvigorating Premarket, providing top retailers a preview prior to the formal market debut. Mr. O'Connor has been honored with the Jerry Ganz Memorial Award from the Greater New York Home Furnishings Assn., the City of Hope Spirit of Life Award and the Pillar of the Industry Award from the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association.

Mr. O'Connor has made time to mentor many young executives, who note that his keen eye for design and his deep understanding of production make him a great "sounding board" for his teams. He is viewed by colleagues and competitors alike as a person of high moral character, working with great passion and commitment.

In addition to his church, St. Pius X, and Seton Hall University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in psychology in 1968, he is a longtime champion of the City of Hope, serving on the board and as chair for the 2012 Spirit of Life Dinner. The O'Connor family supports the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Raleigh, N.C., and he has served as a volunteer with the Senior PGA tournament in Kiawah, South Carolina, and the Wyndham Championship at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.