Harry E. Figgie Jr., grew up in Cleveland in the 1930s. He lost his father in 1940 at the age of sixteen, and five years later was fighting in General Patton’s Third Army with an infantry division in Europe. After returning home, he finished his last two years of undergraduate work with a Bachelor’s in metallurgical engineering. Next he received an MBA from Harvard as a member of the Class of 1949, which Larry Shames, in his 1974 book about the Class, called “the most wildly successful batch of MBAs to have shared a campus anywhere, ever.” Along the way he also accumulated a law degree and a masters in industrial engineering by going to night school while working full time in various sales and manufacturing positions.
From 1953 until 1962, Mr. Figgie worked at the consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, where he became one of the country’s leading cost reduction experts. He then used this expertise to build Figgie International from a struggling $23 million sprinkler company into a consistently profitable, $1.3 billion diversified corporation. He used tried and true methods that are just as effective today as they were then—common sense measures, like ratio analysis and work sampling, ABC inventory control, product redesign, and a focus on those areas where the company was spending most of its money. Most importantly, he implemented fundamental changes to eliminate waste and improve efficiencies that became part of each company’s normal mode of operations.
Mr. Figgie has already written a best-seller, Bankruptcy 1995, in which he warns America of the dangers of high deficits and profligate government spending. It sold more than 300,000 copies and was on the New York Times bestseller list for almost a year. He is also the author of Building a Billion Dollar Company From Scratch (Ruder Finn Press, 2008) and the successful Cutting Costs: An Executive’s Guide to Increased Profits (AMACOM, 1990), some of which will be revised and incorporated into Maximizing Profits Immediately.
Mr. Figgie passed away on July 14, 2009. His management strategies continue to be used and evolved by his son, Matthew, and those who work for the Clark-Reliance Corporation, the company the Figgie family has owned for more than 50 years, including, of course, Rick Solon. For more information about Mr. Figgie’s background and expertise, visit harryefiggiejr.com.
Since 1989, Matthew P. Figgie has been Vice President of Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Investments at the Clark-Reliance Corporation. He served as Interim President of Clark-Reliance before the appointment of Rick Solon as President.
The younger Figgie is also the President and CEO of Figgie Capital, a diversified investment company. He is a member of the board of directors at a number of companies, including American Fire Group, BGI Broadcasting, Clark-Reliance® Corporation, Diversified Amalgamated Enterprises, Icon Management Systems and Marri Broadcasting. He previously held the position of Director of Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Investments at the public company, Figgie International. And he is currently a trustee for The Figgie Family Charitable Foundation.
A resident of Novelty, Ohio, Figgie received his B.S. from The McIntire School of Business at The University of Virginia and his B.A. from Baldwin Wallace College. He went on to earn his MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
As Chairman of Clark Reliance, Mr. Figgie is continuing his father’s strategy of internal growth through product expansion and the profit improvement strategies described in Maximizing Profits Immediately, and through strategic external growth centered on the senior Figgie’s “nucleus” theory.
Rick Solon has more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing and operations. Hired and trained by Harry E. Figgie Jr. in 1975, Mr. Solon was in the first management training program at Figgie International, where for four years he rotated among various divisions, being exposed to almost every business discipline. That is also when he first began to study the latest management theories and techniques, and learned how in many cases they seemed to be spun off of the principles and techniques espoused in Mr. Figgie’s Cutting Costs guide, first published in 1983.
In the various stops during his business career, Mr. Solon has repeatedly used the profit improvement methods discussed in Maximizing Profits Immediately to build a track record of sales and profit growth success. After spending the first 24 years of his career at Figgie International, Mr. Solon spent three years as President and CEO of Orion Bus (a DaimlerChrysler business), before rejoining Mr. Figgie as President and CEO of Clark Reliance Corporation, the Figgie family business.
Adam Snyder is a freelance business writer, will assist in writing Maximizing Profits Immediately. Mr. Snyder and the senior Figgie have worked together on writing projects in the past, including Building a Billion Dollar Company From Scratch and Cutting Costs: An Executive’s Guide to Increased Profits. Mr. Snyder has also collaborated, co-authored, or ghost written many other business books, including The Digital Silk Road: Struggles Going Global by William J. Amelio (2011), An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice by Bruce L. Katcher (AMACOM, 2010), 30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers by Bruce L. Katcher (AMACOM, 2007), Trust: The Secret Weapon of Effective Business Leaders by Kathy Bloomgarden (St. Martin’s Press, 2007), and Crossing the Road to Entrepreneurship by Bert L. Wolstein (Case Western University Press, 2004). Mr. Snyder is also president of the video and animation company, Rembrandt Films LLC. For more information about him and his company, visit www.rembrandtfilms.com.