Beer named president, CEO of Wenger Corp.

Beer named president, CEO of Wenger Corp.
Date October 06, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Special to the Daily News

OWATONNA, Minn. – The board of directors of Wenger Corporation announced that William L. Beer will succeed Bob McKenna as president and CEO effective Oct. 17, as part of a planned leadership transition.

Beer brings Wenger a management background across many disciplines, including strategic planning, marketing, product development and operations. He joins Wenger after a 30-year career at the Maytag Corporation in Newton, the Fortune 500 manufacturer of home and commercial appliances.

Most recently, Beer was president of Maytag Appliances, where he was responsible for 14,000 employees, nine manufacturing locations and five brands (Maytag, Jenn-Air, Amana, Magic Chef and Admiral).

“I’m very pleased to join Wenger, a company recognized for quality, innovation and outstanding customer service,” said Beer. “The future is very promising as we move ahead with exciting growth initiatives in new areas while strengthening the core businesses that have been Wenger’s legacy.”

Beer received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska. He and his wife Anne have two adult children and one grandchild.

Expansion was a hallmark of McKenna’s tenure at Wenger. Since joining the company in 2001, he helped spearhead exploration into new markets such as athletics. During this time, Wenger also reinforced its commitment to existing markets like theater and worship facilities.

“As a company, we developed a willingness to take some risks in new market expansion,” said McKenna. “I’m proud of how well Wenger employees embraced these challenges and the role I played in that growth.”

On the international front, McKenna led a group of Wenger executives to China in March 2004, to officially open the company’s sales office in Beijing. “We see terrific opportunities to partner with China in developing world-class performing arts facilities,” he adds.

Despite the expansion into new markets, McKenna and Beer both believe that music education remains the company’s pedigree, tracing back to founder Harry Wenger, the Owatonna music teacher who started the Wenger Corporation in 1946.

Wenger offers a complete range of products for music education and performance in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and music schools.Wenger equipment is used in new construction and renovation projects, as well as in existing facilities. Wenger products include music stands; music posture chairs; instrument, uniform and music storage systems; seated and standing risers; acoustical shells and acoustical panel systems; practice rooms and virtual acoustic environments; and a full line of staging products.

In addition to its headquarters in Owatonna, Minn., Wenger has facilities in Canada, Europe and China, along with international distributors.

Wenger is the largest privately held manufacturing company in Owatonna.


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