Ken Melrose: Being a Difference, Then and Now
Author: Andy Goldstein, NASBA Electronic Media Specialist and Webmaster
Posted: May 15, 2012
When Ken Melrose took over as CEO of the Toro Company in 1983, it was two years after the company had its worst year in sales, posting its first loss in 35 years. Toro was hemorrhaging so heavily in fact, that when Melrose was appointed CEO, many believed Toro was past the point of saving.
But Melrose was unfazed, and instantly took to dramatic action. He cut executive perks and reduced the size of the workforce by 57 percent. Then, he initiated a change in Toro's corporate culture, making it an organization that empowered and trusted its employees, instilling value in its workers.
During his time as Chairman and CEO, Toro's sales grew drastically, from about $250 million in 1983 to $1.7 billion in 2005. This change did not happen overnight. Through patience and longevity, Melrose proved that running an organization with character and corporate soul can lead to financial success.
It is this perseverance and dedication to ethical leadership that caught the eye of NASBA's Center for the Public Trust (CPT); and in 2006, the organization honored Melrose as its first recipient of the Being a Difference Award. In receiving the award, Melrose set a high bar by which all future recipients of the award would be measured.
After winning the Being a Difference Award, Melrose maintained an active leadership role in several entities.
Melrose retired as CEO from Toro in 2005, and as Chairman in 2006. Following his retirement, Melrose created a company called Leading by Serving, LLC, whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in organizations.
"The servant-leader model requires a change in attitude more than structure," Melrose said. "To operate in this mode, leaders have to shed their egos and deeply embrace the belief that people perform best in an atmosphere of freedom and trust."
Melrose also served on the board of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, was a faculty member at the Opus School of Business at the University of St. Thomas and is a member of the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame.
In February 2012, the Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donated $1 million to the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG). The EIFG is the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game.
This generous donation was given to support the professional development of golf course superintendents, leading to the creation of the Melrose Leadership Academy. Through an application and selection process, 20 individuals will be selected to participate, beginning in 2013. The academy will offer education specific to risk management (health, safety and environmental compliance), operational efficiency, business and environmental stewardship.
"I have a profound respect for golf course superintendents and their role in the game of golf," Melrose said at the time of the donation. "Golf course management has become an increasingly more difficult profession, so to be able to provide resources to enhance superintendents' professional development has been very important to me."
Continuing the overwhelming display of philanthropy, Melrose issued the largest single donation ever made to the Orange County Library System in Orlando, FL on April 16 of this year. Given in honor of his mother, Dorothy Lumley Melrose, who was a lifelong proponent of learning, the gift will be used to create the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity. The Center will house labs for visual arts and filming, digital media, graphic design and audio engineering. This donation is important to Melrose because he grew up in Orlando, and his mother became the first female stockbroker in the city.
"Both of my parents used to tell me that the purpose of life is to serve others," Melrose said. "My dad's way of serving was in the military. My mother's way of serving was in Orlando."
A video of the gift announcement for the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity is available below.
In his 1995 book, Making the Grass Greener on Your Side, a CEO's Journey to Leading by Serving, Melrose writes that leadership is dynamic and active, always changing, always growing. Here's to many more years of Ken Melrose "Being a Difference," and continuing to teach valuable lessons about ethical leadership through his actions.
http://www.nasba.org/features/ken-melrose-being-a-difference-then-and-now/Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donates $1M to the Environmental Institute for Golf
"2005 Minnesota Business Hall of Fame" Twin Cities Business
"Center for Ethical Business Cultures - Leader as Servant" July 1996
"Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donates $1M to the Environmental Institute for Golf" GCSAA 2-28-12
"$1 million donation will Transform Orlando Library Into Digital Playground" Orlando Sentinel 4-16-12
The Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation has donated $1 million to the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) to support the professional development of golf course superintendents through participation in the annual GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show.
The EIFG is the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and has as its mission to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game.
The Melrose Family Foundation is supported by Ken Melrose, former CEO and chairman of the Toro Co. Melrose's relationship with the golf industry is longstanding as he joined the Toro Co., in 1970. He quickly ascended the ranks of the company culminating with his appointment as CEO in 1983 and chairman of the board of directors in 1987. He retired as CEO in 2005 and from the chairman position in 2006. That same year he formed Leading by Serving, LLC, a new company whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in business organizations.
"I have a profound respect for golf course superintendents and their role in the game of golf," Melrose said. "For golf courses to be successful, they need highly competent superintendents. Golf course management has become an increasingly more difficult profession, so to be able to provide resources to enhance superintendents' professional development has been very important to me. Together the GCSAA and the EIFG are the best organizations to deliver the education and training that will not only benefit the professional, but their facilities and the game."
The gift is the largest to be given to the EIFG. With the donation, the Melrose Leadership Academy will be developed. Through an application and selection process, 20 individuals will be selected to participate, beginning in 2013. The program will take into account financial need, geography, facility size, requirements necessary to achieve GCSAA Class A membership status and other factors. While attending the GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show, participants will also be provided opportunities to network with GCSAA and other industry leaders.
The academy will offer education specific to risk management (health, safety, environmental compliance), operational efficiency, business and environmental stewardship.
"We are deeply appreciative of The Melrose Family Foundation's generous support of the EIFG and GCSAA members," GCSAA Chief Executive Officer Rhett Evans said. "Ken has been a leader in the golf industry and it was his vision to support our mission by providing resources to enhance the competencies of our members. We believe one of the best - if not the best - professional development opportunities for our members is to attend the conference and show. Through Ken's vision we are able to make it a reality for more of our members."
In addition to Melrose's work through Leading by Serving, he is also actively serving on the board of directors for the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, Park Nicollet Health Services, The Melrose Institute for Eating Disorders, and others. He is also a member of the faculty at the Opus School of Business at the University of St. Thomas. Melrose is a native of Orlando, Fla., and earned a double major in mathematics and electrical engineering from Princeton in 1962. He received his master's degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later an MBA from the University of Chicago.
http://www.golfcourseindustry.com/gci-030512-kendrick-melrose-donation.aspxAvodah Institute - Ken B. Melrose
Ken Melrose, President of Leading by Serving, LLC Retired CEO and Chairman of The Toro Company
Kendrick B. Melrose joined The Toro Company in 1970 as director of marketing planning for the consumer products division. Three years later he was appointed president of Game Time, Inc., a former Toro subsidiary located in Litchfield, Michigan. In 1976, he was named vice president of the company's outdoor power equipment group, promoted to executive vice president in July 1980, named president in February of 1981, chief executive officer in December 1983, and chairman of the board in December of 1987. On March 15, 2005, he stepped down as CEO but remained as Executive Chairman for Toro's Board of Directors. In March, 2006 he retired from the Chairman position. In early 2006, Melrose formed a new company, Leading by Serving, LLC, whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in business organizations. He now offices in Wayzata, Minnesota.
Melrose is a native of Orlando, Florida. He graduated with honors from Princeton University in 1962, where he majored in mathematics and electrical engineering. He was also a varsity track letterman for three years. He received a Masters degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later received an MBA from the University of Chicago, where he also was a marketing research assistant, a Ford Foundation fellow, president of the Graduate Business School's student body, and on the Dean's Honor Roll.
Prior to joining Toro, Melrose was director of corporate planning at Bayfield Technologies, Inc. of Minneapolis, and a marketing manager in The Pillsbury Company's new products division. Melrose is the author of Making the Grass Greener on Your Side: A CEO's Journey to Leading by Serving, published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers in October, 1995. In addition, he serves on the boards for the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (Chairman); the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis; Park Nicollet Health Services; The Melrose Institute for Eating Disorders (Chairman), Ken Blanchard's Lead Like Jesus enterprise, The Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco, and is a member of the faculty at the Opus School of Business at the University of St. Thomas, where he also serves on the Board of Governors. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative and is a frequent speaker at national conferences on the subjects of servant leadership, building a values-based corporate culture, and how good cultures breed good ethics.
http://faithandworkblog.com/media/ken-melrose/Kendrick B. Melrose: Caring About People: Employees and Customershttp://ethix.org/2007/10/01/caring-about-people-employees-and-customers"New library center's namesake: 'Second mom' and trailblazer"
Article by Joy Wallace Dickinson about Dorothy Lumley Melrose, her legacy, and the new Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation, and Creativity at the Orlando Public Library. Appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, February 2, 2014.
"New library center's namesake: 'Second mom' and trailblazer"