Tim Murray of Vulcan-Hart
Returning to Vulcan-Hart, an independent division of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), after serving as the commercial cooking equipment maker’s controller from 1990 to 2001, Mr. Murray took a position as president in 2001 to lead Wittco, also an ITW division. Then in 2004, he was named president of Vulcan in order to lead the company into expanded growth. As a 25-year veteran of the foodservice industry, Mr. Murray says that his past career—full of both challenges and opportunities—helps him run Vulcan successfully today. “There isn’t one, simple strategy that will work in all situations,” he says. “I have found that the best formula involves keeping a cool head, analyzing all available data, and then making the best decision I can.”
Mr. Murray says that the company’s principle of 80/20—the concept that 80 percent of a business’ sales are derived from 20 percent of its product—is one of his most valuable learning experiences. “Look around and you’ll see that many companies do not spend enough time and energy on the critical 20 percent of their customers and products,” he says. “Instead, they lose focus by spending too much time on the less important 80 percent.”
To ensure Vulcan keeps its focus on the 20 percent, Mr. Murray says the company will concentrate on research-driven product innovation, customer and product service, and improving its manufacturing capabilities by opening a new facility in Charlotte, NC, U.S. to assure additional growth.
Mr. Murray describes his management style as financially orientated. His strong background in accounting includes working for Hobart Corporation from 1978 until 1990 as general accountant and manager of manufacturing accounting. Mr. Murray says that although finances are important, a company’s products should be a primary concern. “After this last economic downturn—which we’re still climbing out of—I think the business community has a newfound respect for fiscal responsibility,” he says. “In addition to that, I am concerned about other issues such as new product innovation and the overall vision of the company.”
Mr. Murray’s new responsibilities with Vulcan include the strategic direction and financial well being of the company. He brings a wealth of experience with him, as he successfully led the merger of Wittco and Crimsco Foodservice Equipment in 2000. “Any executive who has overseen a merger knows the hard work really begins once the deal is signed,” he explains. “Not only do you have to continue running the business you know, but you bring a new entity into the fold with little to no disruption. A successful merger is always a source of pride.”
Mr. Murray earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH, U.S. In his spare time he enjoys reading, watching movies, playing tennis, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.