Furniture hall fame launches leadership institute

Feb. 6—HIGH POINT — A program designed to foster leadership skills in the home furnishings industry will kick off with its inaugural class this month.

The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame recently announced a group of emerging industry leaders who will participate in the Home Furnishings Leadership Institute at High Point University Feb. 20-24.

The 25 participants from across the industry were selected from a nominated pool of candidates. Fashioned after the prestigious Harvard Business School Seminar for the Young President's Organization and Chief Executives Organization — attended by many leaders in the furniture industry — the institute provides peer-based learning and instruction.

Leading the institute will be four inducted members of the hall of fame: Ron Wanek from Ashley Furniture Industries, Bob Maricich from International Market Centers, John Bray from Vanguard Furniture and Irv Blumkin from the Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Select faculty from HPU's Phillips School of Business and the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication will lead a combination of lectures and discussions.

"The response to this first Institute has exceeded our expectations and we found ourselves with difficult decisions in choosing who would attend," says Caroline Hipple, president of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors and president of Norwalk Furniture. "This inaugural class is made up of proven leaders, innovators and achievers who aspire to greater achievement."

The members of the inaugural class are Alice Anderson, Haverty's Furniture; Ryan Blumkin, Nebraska Furniture Mart; Tan Cheeranont, Hooker Furnishings Co.; Alex Cihak, Elements International; Bo Coconis, Coconis Furniture; Ryan Fitzpatrick, Wayfair; Anderson Gibbons, STI/Revolution; Sydney Harris, Furnitureland South; Kyle Heikes,; Jill Johnson, Tempur Sealy International Inc.; Alex Kirsch, FurnitureDealer.Net; Mike Korzin, La-Z-Boy Inc.; Ryan Mahoney, International Market Centers; Damian Pherigo, C. S. Wo & Sons LLC; JasonPhillips, Phillips Collection; Troy Pittenger, Norwalk Furniture; Shane Pohlman, Nebraska Furniture Mart; Bennett Rasmussen, RC Willey; Patrick Shelton, Valdese Weavers; Patrick Spaugh,Womble Bond Dickinson LLP; Garland Turner, 1915 South; Travis Wagner, Ashley Furniture Industries; Cameron Wanek, Ashley Furniture Industries; Erin Weir, Gail Doby Coaching; and Jared Worrall, Classic Home.