Kuhlman keys on empowering staff, maintaining legacyWritten by Michael Driehorst | | firstname.lastname@example.org
An almost inherent trait of any longtime, family-owned business is to continue the positive aspects previous generations established.
“Part of our job is to maintain the legacy of good products, of good people, of integrity and living by that. That legacy has served us well for 107 years and it will for another 107 years,” said Tim Goligoski, president of Kuhlman Corporation.
Goligoski is the son-in-law of former president Marion (Bart) Bartholomew, who was the son-in-law of Charles Kuhlman, the company’s second president and a son of company founder Adam Kuhlman. Goligoski joined Kuhlman in 1981 and has been president
Adam Kuhlman was co-owner of a building materials sales company in 1901, when his firm merged with three others to form Toledo Builders Supply, the predecessor to Kuhlman Corp. Today, with 140 employees, Kuhlman Corp., based in Maumee’s Arrowhead Park, is one of the region’s largest suppliers of construction products. The company’s product lines and services include ready-mixed concrete, and it serves as a wholesale distributor of building materials, and bulk materials storage.
Both Goligoski and Vice President of Sales Ken Kuhlman, grandson of Edwin Kuhlman, who ran the company with his brother Charles starting in the 1930s, said a key to the company’s success has been empowering employees.
“The sales people are running their own business within our business,” Kuhlman said. “We really empower the sales people to take care of their customers.”
With much of the Kuhlman business dealing in mature product lines, Goligoski said the company’s success depends on its people.
“Our success comes down to service, quality and relationships. Those relationships are built on dependability, honesty and integrity with the customer,” he said. “… It’s about giving employees empowerment to make the right decisions for customers.”
Kuhlman started working at the company during summers while in college. While interviewing for jobs as he neared graduation in 1979, his father asked if he’d be interested in an opportunity with the family business. Kuhlman said he was, and a few weeks later, he was hired. He became vice president of sales in 2003.
“There was never any pressure to join,” Kuhlman said. “My parents believed we should do what we want to do.”