I recently had the opportunity to interview Ellen Hains, our new Branch Manager, NYC.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
A race car driver. I grew up in suburbia and I think getting in your car and having a Sunday drive was very special. I was born in the sixties and the idea of having a nice car was a luxury. I was the youngest, so I sat in the front seat with my parents and they would sometimes let me steer the wheel. There was something about being a race car driver that just seemed appealing and dangerous. To this day, my father still says I am the best driver in the family.
What and where did you study?
I went to CW Post College which is Long Island University. I was originally studying TV/radio which evolved into public speaking, but my degree was in Speech Communications. It became clear that I was going into sales, so it was important that I learn to present and engage with people.
How and when did your career in this industry begin?
I was working in New York City in advertising sales but I was not loving it. My roommate at the time was someone that I grew up with from my hometown. She had just gotten a job as a receptionist at the Haworth showroom in New York. I started hanging out with her and some of her work friends. One day I came home, and I said, “I can't do this anymore” and she said, “Oh, one of our dealers is looking for somebody”. That is how I got started. This past February was 30 years in the office furniture industry.
What is the most important trend or change you see in the industry today?
This is going to age me, but it boils down to computers. When I first started, there was not a computer on every desk. I remember only designers had computers because they were learning AutoCAD. We typed on a typewriter and sent quotes to people via fax. The Internet and computers are really what has changed our industry so much. Now we can work everywhere and just about anything that you need, you can get on the Internet. You don't even need to have binders. You can simply assemble everything from your computer.
If you could meet one person in history, who would it be and why?
I'd probably have to go with someone like Queen Victoria or Joan of Arc. Someone who is a strong woman, overcame adversity, and had to lead when most people didn't think that a woman was capable.
Who was the greatest influence in your career?
My first job in the industry was working for a Haworth dealer here in the city and it was run by a very dynamic woman, Rosalie Edson, who retired from the industry last year. As a mentor, I couldn't have asked for anyone better. She started selling hats at Lord & Taylor in New York when she was sixteen years old. She went into her family's garment business and took over the furniture dealer from her husband and built it into a major force here in New York. She taught me everything that I know. There are many ways to sell but when you find somebody who is very successful, stick by them, listen to them, see how and what they do and then make it your own. Rosalie taught me so much about the industry, about people, about relationships and what's important to be successful in our industry.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
I would like to learn a second language. I know enough to be dangerous when I'm traveling. I know a little Spanish and a little French. The ability to speak another language is a skill I would love to have.
What three adjectives best describe you?
Positive - Energetic - Tenacious. It may be a little New Age kind of thinking, but I believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back. I believe in thinking about the most positive outcomes and treating people with respect. I feel like it comes back to you.
If you could have two superpowers, what would they be and why?
I would want to fly. One of my loves is to travel so if I could take myself there, that would be amazing. A second superpower might be super strength.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My passion is to travel. I love to go to exotic lands and faraway places. I try to leave the country at least twice a year because it's so great to meet people from different cultures and to experience their day-to-day lives, the food, the architecture, etc.
What are some career advice and keys to success?
I think it goes back to positive thinking. Whatever your job is, look at it as something that brings you happiness and joy. Then, put all your happiness and joy into it and you will be a success. I think when it comes to sales, it is about finding a connection with people. No matter what happens in business, you are doing business with people so it's important to understand them, try to find a way to connect with them, find some commonality and, obviously, always do what you say you're going to do. One of the things Rosalie told me is that in business you must always be honest. When you're honest and you tell people the truth, you will never have to remember what you said. We work in a very complex industry with a lot of moving parts. Sometimes there's bad news and sometimes there are things outside of your control. If you're upfront about it, most people are reasonable and will recognize that you're going to do whatever you can to address it.
ELIZABETH, NJ (September 2018): BFI, one of the largest office furniture planning dealerships in the NY/NJ metropolitan area, is pleased to announce the hiring and appointment of Kate Kerpchar as President and CEO effective immediately. Kate brings with her more than 17 years of business management experience, the last 6 of which is as the owner and founder of Lotus Rose Industries LLC, a certified women-owned project management and consulting firm that specializes in tenant representation for corporate office relocations and renovations. Kate was also employed by CRESA NY as a SVP of Project Management which followed a 13 year tenure as Director, Head of Facilities and Administration for the Asset Management business at Deutsche Bank.
Kate succeeds Daniel F. Morley, who joined BFI in 1984; becoming President in 1997 and CEO in 2016. Under Dan’s leadership the firm has achieved significant growth and now employs over 75 people in three offices and celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Dan will transition into a consulting role to ensure a successful change of control.
The BFI brand is well known throughout the real estate and architectural community and has completed some of the most visible projects in the marketplace including Pansonic’s relocation to Newark, the BASF North America Headquarters and Bayer Healthcare’s consolidation.
“Kate’s achievements in the corporate environment, her successful experience in starting and managing her own firm coupled with our outstanding leadership team, will take our company to the next level. This is an exciting time for BFI and I look forward to working with Kate on a seamless transition” said Mr. Morley when asked about this decision.
Ms. Kerpchar stated, “BFI has a reputation for being the best in the business and I have had the pleasure of working with Dan and his staff on several projects over the past five years, which has allowed me to meet many of the employees. What is incredibly impressive is how loyal its employees are with an average tenure of over 18 years! It is an honor and privilege to have been given the opportunity to assume this leadership role at BFI. I am excited to continue to build upon the legacy of excellence that BFI is known for and am grateful for the opportunity given to me by the Gold family.”
For more information, contact Kate Kerpchar, President and CEO at email@example.com or 908-926-6167.
Company URL: www.bfionline.com
This month's bfi Inner Circle networking group led by Stephanie Badillo featured a luncheon and showroom tour at Gunlocke. Thank you Gunlocke for your hospitality!
is pleased to announce
the appointment of
to our New York City office.
Stephanie’s career spans three decades in the luxury Interior Design and Real Estate arena. Operating through her own development firm and representing various manufactures, she has produced high end residential and commercial properties throughout the United States. Stephanie’s office furniture background stems from working with a Herman Miller dealer back in 1999. She has made several appearances on HGTV, Food Network and the Today Show as well as written articles for numerous trade publications.
Please welcome Stephanie to our team!
is pleased to announce
the appointment of
to our New York City office.
Cathy has been in the industry over 25 years and has worked in all aspects of this industry.
She has owned and operated a furniture dealership and design firm. She has worked for Herman Miller in New Jersey.
Cathy, has a stellar reputation in the industry and is known for putting the client first and building relationship.
For the last 2 years, Cathy has worked in Manhattan in the Architectural and Design community developing brand and product awareness for ALUR Walls (Smart Space).
Awards: Business of Women of the Year, Top Sales Person of Year numerous
Please welcome Cathy to our team!
The bfi New York office celebrated the grand opening of their new office by throwing a Cinco de Mayo party held last evening at their new location at 237 West 35th Street. Several of our manufacturer reps, clients and friends attended this very festive evening filled with Latin music, Salsa dancing, Mexican food, and some awesome tequila!
Our New York City office will be moving in February to our new facility located at
237 West 35th St, Ste 1004
New York, NY 10001.
Come visit us!
bfi was recently acknowledged by the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. New Jersey Chapter for our outstanding work along with construction firm V.J. Scozzari & Sons, Inc. for The Chapin School expansion project performed over the last two years for their Lower and Upper School additions. Not only did bfi provide the furniture, bfi did all of the furniture specifications and furniture designs, including the selection of the furniture finishes to work with the architect’s design and we managed the scheduling and installation of the new products for the project. This is a prime example of bfi's capabilities and project management abilities that our diverse staff performs every day.
BFI is pleased to welcome Helena Loman to the BFI-New York Office as a Sales Executive, Business Developer. Helena comes to us after a successful tenure at Innovant as a Senior Account Executive, Business Development and Dovetail, Director of Business Development and Sales. Helena also is a licensed financial services professional holding series 7.9.10, 25 63 and 65 FINRA credentials and has enjoyed success at PaineWebber and Wachovia Securities. She is also a licensed Real Estate Broker. Helena is active in CoreNet, IFMA, IIDA CIANJ and Professional Women in Construction NY/NJ.
She was born and raised in Sweden where she received her nursing degree and is multi lingual. Helena is quite networked in New York City architects, designers and other professionals and has worked with BFI-New York on several financial service opportunities during her tenure at Innovant. Some of her major accounts include Rothschild, Vermillion Asset Management and Aflac Financial Services.
BFI-New York is pleased to announce that Brian Glickman has joined our New York Sales Team as a Sales Executive. Brian brings a wealth of solid sales experience within the contract furniture industry, servicing multiple vertical market segments. During the course of his career, Brian has professionally achieved results with a wide array of end-user companies, assisted the architectural and design community and developed meaningful relationships with commercial real estate brokers in the greater New York Metropolitan marketplace. Brian enjoys a wide spectrum of experience on both the wholesale-manufacturer’s representative front and the dealer distribution side of our business. Prior to joining the BFI–New York Team he spent the last (9) years as a Sales Vice President with AFD in New York, a Steelcase distribution partner. Brian resides on Long Island with his wife and children and will report to Bruce Stone, Vice President.