Center for Positive Organizations Appoints Fred Keller as First Executive in Residence

April 14, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business today announced that Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering, will serve as the Center for Positive Organizations’ first executive-in-residence. In his two-year appointment, Keller will unify his successful business background with the ongoing research, teaching, and organizational partnerships of the Center.

Keller’s appointment represents a further step by the Center for Positive Organizations in bringing research-based practices to organizational leaders in inspiring and practical ways. In 2010 and 2012, the Center for Positive Organizations was recognized by the Academy of Management for first opening up a new field of scholarly inquiry, and then for its impact on management practices. Keller will mentor students, and serve as a bridge to business leaders aspiring to build positive organizations.

The Center for Positive Organizations will serve as a platform for Keller to distill and share the leadership insights generated over 40 years of building Cascade Engineering. With headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI, Cascade is a leading diversified manufacturing company and a certified B-Corp with 1,200 employees. Cascade has been celebrated with awards and media coverage for its innovative practices, and its compassionate approach to conducting business for the good of shareholders, employees, communities, and the environment.

“I’m thrilled to be connected with the Center’s excellent faculty and research. We can assist the acceleration of the work being done by businesses to solve some of the world’s toughest problems,” said Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering and executive-in-residence at the Ross Center for Positive Organizations. “I believe the work that the Center is doing is important not just to the University, but to the world as a whole. I look forward to helping this be a great think-and do-tank.”

In this capacity, Keller will be speaking at the inaugural Positive Business Conference, which will take place May 15-17, 2014 at the Ross School of Business. His session will focus on how making money and making a positive difference in the world are not mutually exclusive, drawing on the decision-making process used at Cascade Engineering. The Conference will focus on the latest trends, research, practices, and results in positive business, with real-world business cases of impact on employees, communities, the environment and financial success.

“We’re very excited to welcome Fred to the team at the Center as our first executive-in-residence. We see this as a true co-learning experience, and an opportunity to create a safe space for leaders, students, and faculty to come together and learn from each other,” said Chris White, managing director for the Center for Positive Organizations. “Fred’s involvement with the Center will serve as a bridge to help us take our research to a wider audience in inspiring and practical ways.”

In addition to his role at Cascade, Keller has served as the former board chair of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council, and as the former board chair of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Board of Trustees, where he remains on the board. He is the founder and current chair of Talent 2025, a catalyst for the development of an integrated talent system to meet employer needs in Western Michigan. For more information on the Positive Business Conference at which Keller will be speaking, please visit or contact Angela Ceely (

About Ross

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a vibrant and distinctive learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today’s dynamic global economy. The Ross School of Business’ mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.

Ross is consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Entrepreneurship, Master of Management, BBA, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.