“I couldn't be happier about what Steelcase has become and where we're headed,” Hackett said, “But it's time to provide opportunity to others, and time for me to pursue some other interests. While continuing to run the company with as much energy and excitement as I did when I took the role in 1994, I'll also ready myself for the next chapter in my life.”
Steelcase has been around for more than a hundred years. But over the last decade the recession and technology have forced all the big office furniture companies in West Michigan to adapt to major changes in how and where people work.
Grand Rapids-based Steelcase, Holland based-Haworth and Zeeland-based Herman Miller are showing off new lines of chairs, collaborative office spaces, and home offices at the annual show for the office furniture industry show known as NeoCon.
Together, West Michigan’s ‘big three’ sell nearly $6 billion in office furniture a year; making up more than half of all sales in the country. Designers and suppliers from across the state are also involved in this year’s show - MLive.com/The Grand Rapids Press lists them all here.
Industry analyst Mike Dunlap has been going to NeoCon for 34 years. He sees new technologies like smart phones and tablets creeping even further into what would traditionally be considered furniture.
“All of the major manufactures now are beginning to change their thinking to putting technology into the furniture as opposed to putting it on it,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap says Haworth is getting lots of attention for its new product called Bluescape, which he calls “an Ipad on steroids.”
Steelcase, the world’s largest office furniture maker is celebrating 100 years in business. But sales of the metal filing cabinets Steelcase is named for are declining; same with traditional cubicles and other large pieces of office furniture. Steelcase is changing its identity.
Steelcase doesn’t manufacture much office furniture in West Michigan anymore, but it still has about 3,000 employees here. They gathered for the birthday celebration at the Grand Rapids headquarters for cake and a balloon drop.