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issue: May 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

People
Michael Schwartz of Lennox International Inc.


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Facing a challenge motivates Michael Schwartz, but to conquer it successfully, he knows he needs the right plan of action and the right people behind him.

In his new role as president and COO of Worldwide Refrigeration at Lennox International Inc. (LII), Mr. Schwartz will ensure the growth of commercial refrigeration, driving it to become a larger portion of LII’s overall operation. “I feel excited and challenged by my new responsibilities. It will be up to me and my team to research different avenues and markets for growth, set the strategy for the global operations, and ensure we have the right people in the right places to execute the strategies,” he tells APPLIANCE.

Dealing with challenges is nothing new to Mr. Schwartz. Managing a labor strike at Armstrong Air Conditioning forced him to manage workforce issues while providing customer service until the situation was resolved. “Through working with my staff and labor representatives, I learned people come first, no matter the outcome—after all, we all will eventually have to go back to our jobs and work together,” he explains.

One of Mr. Schwartz’s more recent challenges was helping to start LII’s manufacturing facility in Orangeburg, SC, U.S. and its Advanced Distributor Products operations in Grenada, MS, U.S. “Building a successful new operation entirely from scratch brings its own kind of excitement and sense of achievement,” he says.

As a manager, Mr. Schwartz takes pride in guiding others through challenges to accomplishment. “I work closely with them to formulate an overall strategy, and then let them execute,” he explains.

Mr. Schwartz’s past experience in management has provided for him a broad range of styles in managing a successful team. “I’ve learned different people respond best to different kinds of direction,” he says. “Sometimes you have to be a little more than a sounding board, other times you have to play a more active advisory role, and every now and then you need to be an out-and-out motivator.”

Although challenges constantly arise, to Mr. Schwartz, seeing others achieve professional goals and gain success is what makes it worthwhile. “When people start to grow professionally, you feel like you’ve played some small role in their development, and there’s a lot of satisfaction in that,” he notes.

Before being named president and COO of LII Worldwide Refrigeration, Mr. Schwartz was LII’s president for North American Distributed Products business. Prior to that, he was president and COO of Armstrong Air Conditioning Inc. and served as vice president for Commercial Products for Heatcraft, Inc., after Bohn Heat Transfer Inc. was acquired by LII in 1990. Mr. Schwartz earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University.

When Mr. Schwartz isn’t in the office, he spends time with his wife and children and enjoys the outdoors, where he regularly runs, plays tennis, and scuba dives.

 

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