In March 2017, Gerald Leary will be retiring from Koike Aronson, a manufacturer of welding and thermal cutting equipment, in Arcade, NY. He will leave behind a thriving company that has grown substantially during his tenure, adding sales, floor space and employees. But it wasn’t always that way. Koike under Leary is actually an incredible turnaround story. When he arrived in Arcade in 2002, Koike was on the ropes. Debt was 37% of revenue, employment was down to 73 and bankruptcy was looming. Leary went to work revamping the sales organization, retraining customer service people, pruning and updating the product offerings, bringing back outsourced work and, yes, instituting short-term pay and benefit cuts.
Leary’s dramatic restructuring paid dividends quickly. By 2007, Koike’s sales had doubled, the debt was reduced, employment spiked to 170, a 12,000 square foot expansion was completed, ISO certification was secured and 17% employee incentive bonuses were paid. Koike had gone from worst to first among its Japanese parent’s seven American subsidiaries and it was named Wyoming County Manufacturer of the Year in 2006. It was a remarkable and rare achievement that has had a huge impact on Wyoming County, Arcade and dozens of families who rely on Koike for their livelihood. It is hard to imagine a more fitting legacy for a great executive. Congratulations Mr. Leary and thank you!