After several decades in the consumer products industry, Chet has become a proponent and expert in the principles of Conscious Capitalism. After building a reputation as an accomplished sales executive with Design House, Inc. and Cuisinart, he spent nearly twenty-one years, fourteen as President, at IRIS USA, Inc., part of a multi-billion-dollar global consumer products company. He led the U.S. subsidiary of this family owned Japan based enterprise into one of the most trusted and admired providers of storage and organization products in the retail industry. While building the business through strong relationships with many of the biggest and most respected retailers in the world, he excelled in developing strategies built on core values that delivered best-in-class products and services on a consistent basis.
IRIS USA launched the business in the US in 1992. Chet joined the company in 1997, and quickly became a trusted senior executive, serving as Vice President of Sales, and then Executive Vice President of the company. During these years, he led the company to tremendous growth and prominence, and was promoted to President in 2003. He was the first non-Japanese executive to be promoted to this level of management. At that time, he was also entrusted with mentoring the owner’s son for nearly six years, working here in the US. In 2018, the son replaced his father as President, and assumed the top management role for the entire global enterprise. Chet retired from the company that same year.
With a strong ability to bridge the cultural gap between IRIS Japan and IRIS USA, Chet added a new dimension to the corporate business philosophy in the U.S. by inspiring employees to develop a “purpose-driven” culture, rather than focusing solely on making a profit. The shared purpose was “to create great quality, innovation and value, with products and services to enhance and delight everyday living”. This transformed the company’s culture, driving better results in every facet of the business. Many outside stakeholders adopted this “Higher Purpose” as well. The improvement in sales revenue necessitated the expansion of two existing manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Texas, as well as the addition of a brand-new facility and U.S. corporate headquarters in Surprise, Arizona, which opened in 2016. Upon completion of the new Arizona facility, Chet set into motion the plans for a fourth facility in Pennsylvania, which will open in 2020.
Chet is currently working with local government, education and business communities, to teach and inspire stakeholders to evolve into a “Force for Good”. He serves as the Executive in Residence at the Surprise, AZ campus of Ottawa University’s Angell Snyder School of Business. He also serves as an Executive Board member on the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and is a member of the AZ TechCelerator Advisory Board.
Chet and his wife Donna have four children and nine grandchildren. They were life-long Wisconsin residents until relocating to Surprise, Arizona three years ago.