Q: To what do you attribute Toro's success over the last decade or so?
A: First and foremost, our strong cultural roots dating back to our founding, that, following challenging times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, were restored and strengthened by my predecessor,
Q: The total return to shareholders of Toro stock trounced that of the general market on your watch. To what extent did employees share in the rewards through compensation, profit-sharing or otherwise?
A: The high average-service tenure of our employees speaks to Toro being a good place to work. In 1985, [then-CEO]
Q: Where do employees line up in the list of Toro "stakeholders," including customers and shareholders?
A: Our culture … starts with employees who care. Our people demonstrate that every day. Such employees are oriented toward doing more to serve customers by developing innovative products and services that drive market leadership. When you have people who care, and they take care of the customer, financial success ensues. Shareholder interests are also well served.
Q: You worked your way up, starting in the equipment-service end of the business 40 years ago. How did you get into management?
A: There are many paths to success. Mine was perhaps a bit unique. It definitely helped prepare me for future opportunities. Going to [two-year] technical school [in
Q: What were the toughest times during your career?
A: I watched
Q: What were the best days?
A: It is difficult to pick. There have been far more good ones than bad. Ultimately, watching people grow and new leaders emerge, like
Q: Would you do anything differently?
A: Toro has achieved much success. If I was given a "do-over" I would not change much, except investing even more in technology and perhaps re-prioritizing some investments we made. That's Monday morning quarterbacking. I think we still won the game.
Q: What does retirement look like?
A: Tami, my wonderful wife of 31 years, and I are figuring that out. First we have to get through weddings of our two oldest children this year. The next chapter will likely involve new ways to serve, philanthropy, travel and perhaps pursue more education. I'll strive to plagiarize a chapter from my older brother's story [Bill, a medical-science writer] and stay curious in order to keep learning.
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