June 16, 2014

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

The Colloquium, 6th Floor, Ross Building, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Fred Keller is Chair and CEO of Cascade Engineering a diversified manufacturer whose markets include large truck and automotive transportation, waste management and recycling, office furniture, RFID, agricultural/industrial containers, water filtration, polymer compounding and renewable energy project management. An industry leader in large scale plastic injection molding the company employs 1200 people with 13 locations in the US and additional operations in Budapest, Hungary.  A materials science engineer by training, Fred started the company in 1973.  Cascade Engineering is comprised of 11 strategic business units and is one of the largest Certified B Corporations in the world recognized for its business achievements and community involvement.

Fred believes that business has the unique opportunity to complement its focus on financial performance with important work in the social and environmental arenas. He has emphasized the key role business can play in building financial, social and ecological capital, often through partnerships with government and community agencies. His innovative management approach and work in advancing sustainability are featured regularly in business and industry publications.

Fred is the Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Positive Organizations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Fred has been a visiting lecturer at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University since 2002. He was formerly the board chair of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council and is a past chair and current member of the Board of Trustees for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Fred has also served on the board of directors at Fifth Third Bank of West Michigan and Meijer, Inc.

Fred has been part of many community organizations and change initiatives and currently is founder and chair of Talent 2025, a catalyst for the development of an integrated talent system to meet employer needs throughout 13 Michigan counties and co-chair of K-Connect a Kent County collective impact systems change collaborative. A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Keller earned a B.S. in materials science engineering from Cornell University and an M.S. in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Further Links:

Cascade Engineering website, culture page: www.cascadeng.com/culture

Fred’s 2013 TEDx talk: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Why-Business-Why-Now-Fred-Kelle;search%3Atag%3A%22TEDxGrandRapids%22

Sir Richard Branson’s Team B video: http://bteam.org/

B Corp website: https://www.bcorporation.net/

Center for Higher Ambition website: http://www.higherambition.org/

Patagonia Organic Cotton Case Study: http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2066

Video footage of all Positive Links Speakers Series sessions can be found here.