Following is a letter from Tim Baucom, president and CEO, Shaw Industries, sharing his perspective on the impact Vance Bell has had on Shaw, the flooring industry as well as the local community.
By Tim Baucom—Shaw Industries has grown globally from our founding in North Georgia more than half a century ago. We have built on our leadership legacy in carpet to provide a full range of soft and hard surface flooring, turf and more. Generations of associates have invented, innovated and designed products and services for evolving customer preferences and needs. The world in which we operate today is unrecognizable compared to the one in which Shaw was established.
Success amid this constant change has required a keen focus on our customers and an outside-in approach. By anticipating shifts in customer preference and translating insights into actions, we learn, innovate and lead. Simply put, we have to disrupt or be disrupted.
I have no doubt that Shaw would not be the company it is today if it were not for the steadfast leadership of Vance Bell. As Vance moves from executive chairman to chairman of the board this month, I’m grateful for his leadership for the past 16 years—as CEO for 15 of those years and as an invaluable source of counsel during my first year as CEO at Shaw.
Vance has guided Shaw through economic expansions and downturns, a global pandemic, rapid innovation and market transformation. His market-led approach has shaped who we are as a company. His 45-plus years at Shaw leaves a strong legacy and a foundation from which we will continue to innovate and grow. Vance has led us to put the customer at the center of everything we do which inspires us to create a better future for our customers, our coworkers, our communities and the company. We call this the “Shaw Way.” We owe Vance a tremendous amount of credit for setting us on this trajectory and keeping us on course.
Beyond the tremendous impact Vance has had on Shaw as a business, his leadership has been felt throughout the Dalton and northwest Georgia community. His ardent support for Shaw and its people contributing their time, talent and treasure has allowed us to invest millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours over the past decade and a half alone—helping to foster healthy, thriving communities everywhere that we do business.
I am thankful for Vance and the foundation he built, and has built upon, to make Shaw what we are today. And by building on that foundation and perpetually combining deep market knowledge with new ways of thinking, we will continue to drive innovation into our business and set the standard for the next generation.