David Pugh knows how to say “no,” and he’s taught his employees how to use that often-dreaded word as well.
He knows growth for growth’s sake does-n’t do any good, so he makes sure they do it the best way to benefit the company. As chairman and CEO of Applied Industrial Technologies, Pugh has helped take the company to the next level by empowering employees. He gives them the power to do their jobs, permission to run the business using their best judgment and the protection needed to assure they take risks in the organization. This allows the employees to know the company’s worth and to say no to deals that don’t benefit the organization. This outlook has changed the culture, and trusting his people exemplifies true signs of an entrepreneur.
It is also important to Pugh that he understands the needs of his customers and not just those of his vendors. During the dotcom era, analysts challenged management about the lack of spending on e-commerce, but Pugh hired college graduates and imbedded them at the company’s customers to understand their needs so that Applied Industrial Technologies’ e-commerce capabilities were just the right size to meet its customers’ needs.
As a result of all his efforts, the company finished fiscal 2006 with 15 straight quarters of year-over-year earnings per share increases of 20 percent or more.
On top of his business commitments, Pugh is dedicated to helping the community by fighting hunger and encouraging education. He served as the co-chair for the 2005 and 2006 Harvest for Hunger campaign. He also serves on the regional advisory board for the March of Dimes and serves as the Midwest Region national trustee for the Boys & Girls Clubs. His dedication to community service sets an example for all of Applied Industrial Technologies’ employees, and he hopes that his dedication to philanthropy will inspire his employees to get involved with their own causes. And that’s all the recognition Pugh wants for his efforts.
HOW TO REACH: Applied Industrial Technologies, (216) 426-4443 or www.applied.com