10/1/2014 1:58:36 AM

Building A Career The Home Depot Way

Friday, April 11, 2014

By Jim Eaton

The Home Depot CEO Frank Blake visited campus to share how his company is thriving despite a housing market crash a few years ago. Home Depot, the 5th largest company in the United States, has generated more than $79 billion in sales since its founding in 1978, including $5 billion in 2013.

Frank Burke of The Home Depot

“We have been successful due to our focus on customer service and product authority,” said Blake, who had lived minutes from the Siena College campus for 10 years. “We had to reinvent ourselves during difficult times, but that is what a good business does.”

The Home Depot prides itself on treating hourly employees well. Despite the hard times in 2007 they were able to maintain salary increases, bonuses and 401k plans for their orange apron-wearing workers.

“Happy people in sales who know their products is the start to good customer service. Ultimately we are investing in these people to be our company’s future leaders,” Blake said.

Students like Michael Cesario ’16 packed the Sarazen Student Union and found the presentation insightful. “It was very interesting to hear from someone in charge of a large, successful, global company," Cesario said.

Blake also gave those in attendance a glimpse into some of Home Depot's future products.

“Computer chip lighting and battery-powered lawn mowers will be very popular in 10 years,” Blake said. “We are also investing heavily into building new distribution facilities for our .com website and looking at localizing our product delivery better (cutting back on sending lawn mowers to the desert and snow blowers to warm climate stores).”

Siena College and The Home Depot share a lot of the same values, including respecting others and giving back to their communities. A Siena business degree prepares students for this kind of industry by developing both the required technical skills and the character needed to succeed. It also introduced students to The Home Depot CEO, someone who may help them land their first jobs after college.

“He touched on aspects from various classes of mine and brought many of them to life today,” Christina Perrotto ’14 said. “I’m definitely considering a retail career now.”


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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