EDMARKET MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Name: Greg Moore
Title: CEO, President and Co-Owner
Years in the education business: 29
When was your company founded and how (brief history)?
My mother, Lorraine Moore, a past president of EDmarket, founded our furniture division (previously called Balt) in 1985. She purchased BestRite, which was originally a division of American Desk in the 1950s. In 1990, we incorporated Vanerum into our Mooreco umbrella that today includes Mooreco essentials, Mooreco contract, and Vanerum North America.
How did you get started in the educational products business?
My mother began her work at Royal Seating, and she used me as a model for a new children’s chair, the Royal Prema chair, when I was 5. Sadly, I was not compensated for my work as a child model, despite the embarrassing sailor suit. Later I worked on the shop floor in production and shipping, earning my stripes of respect so to speak, and learning the business from the ground up. It was an invaluable educational experience.
I have been involved with the company “officially” since 1990 when I joined Bestrite after college. However, having grown up in the business, it has felt as if I have lived my whole life time within the educational industry. My mother brought her work home with her as literally her best friends were from the industry, so I grew up in education.
What makes your company unique?
While I am proud of many things that make up our company successful, I am proudest of our ability to continue the innovative culture that my mother founded the company upon years ago.
What do you like best about the educational products industry?
I have always loved the people in our industry, first and foremost. However, what I love intrinsically about what we do is we service children. We have an ability in our industry to impact the lives of children across America through educational environments. Having struggled in a non-progressive school setting myself as a student, makes our mission in this industry very personal for me.
What are you most proud of?In terms of the association, I am incredibly proud to have been part of the group of industry leaders who created the EDspaces event as it exists today. There were a handful of us who really pressed for this event to change into what it is today, many of them friends of mine. While it ranks as a prime time event in its current form, there was a time where making this show what it is today was considered a high-risk investment.
As far as my career, I am most proud of providing a very profitable exit to my family from the family business, and then years later buying out my private equity partners. The ending of this story has yet to be written and I still have a tremendous amount of work to do before all is said and done.
How had EDmarket helped your business?
My career in this industry would not be what it has been without EDmarket. You can’t do business in education without knowing all of the right people, and you can’t know all of the right people unless you area member of the EDmarket association. Our association has always been the venue for maximizing potential in the educational market place. When it comes to EDspaces and environments there is no equal to what EDmarket can deliver.
What changes are you witnessing in the educational marketplace?
If you are a champion of change, these are the most exciting times we have ever experienced in the educational industry. Technology began this change, with the curriculum, products, and delivery methods used in schools requiring a different teaching approach. On top of this, a greater understanding of psychology around how humans learn differently as individuals is quickly changing the environments, tools, and furniture used to best achieve optional results in preparing children for their future careers. At the same time, we have seen schools shift from low cost procurement to quality, sensitive, better- built product, incorporating goal achievement in terms of student success allowing for more innovation in furniture focused on solution-driven environments.
How has your company adapted?
Mooreco is a company founded on innovation and embracing change. If you were to look at Mooreco from three years ago and then fast forward to today, we look nothing like we did then, and we will continue to remake ourselves going forward based upon our vision of the future. Change has always equaled opportunity at Mooreco. We are a very different company than the one my mother built, but the basics of our culture — have fun, make it personal, focus on the customer, and innovate for the future — still work, they just look very different than they did 20 years ago. One of the greatest compliments I receive from customers today who knew us in the past is “this sure is different business than your mother’s company.”
What one piece of advice would you give others in our industry?
Ship orders on time, under promise, and over deliver. It sounds very simple but is easier said than done in an industry that requires 70 percent of its shipment revenue for the year over a 4-month time period. Besides that, follow the golden rules; Momma was right about all of them.
What are your top goals to accomplish as Chair of the Board?
1. Strengthen the balance sheet by eliminating distractions and focusing on our core. When my year as Chair ends, I hope to leave the balance sheet stronger than it is today.
2. Continue improvement on our best product, the EDspaces show, and leave it even stronger than it is today with constant expansion of exhibitors and attendees.
3. Remain true to our mission of member participation in our leadership group. EDmarket has survived numerous years of upheaval in distribution only by the graces of leadership pushing us to change who we are. We do not exist today without our member leaders.
How can the membership assist you in reaching these goals?
I have worked on almost every committee that I could serve on over my last 30 years in our industry. In a year from now my time will be up. How can the membership help? Step up and volunteer!