University of Michigan Ross School of Business

Fred Keller

CEO, Cascade Engineering

fred_kellerFred Keller is Chair and CEO of Cascade Engineering, an industry-leading, diversified manufacturer whose markets include large truck and automotive transportation, waste management and recycling, furniture, RFID, agricultural/industrial containers, water filtration, polymer compounding and renewable energy project management. The company specializes in plastic injection molding, with 1200 employees in seven worldwide locations.  A materials science engineer by training, Fred started the company in 1973.  Cascade Engineering is comprised of 12 strategic business units and is one of the largest Certified B Corporations in the world, widely 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. A strong advocate for “sustainable” business practices, Fred 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 teaches a course on “Entrepreneurship in the Emerging Sustainable Economy” at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He 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. Fred has also served on the board of directors at Fifth Third Bank and Meijer, Inc. Fred is the founder and current chair of Talent 2025, a catalyst for the development of an integrated talent system to meet employer needs.  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.

Session: Beyond Lazy Thinking: A Discipline for Positive Business Strategy

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