Interview with a CEO - Denny Thostrud from American Floors & Blinds
When did you start with AFB and what was your first position?
1991. I started in our Renton distribution warehouse pulling mini-blind orders and preparing them for shipment to apartment communities, universities and housing authorities across the country.
Where are you from?
I was born in Seattle and live in Magnolia.
One fun fact that people may not know about you.
I practice Krav Maga off and on and enjoy biking, snow skiing and sailing with my family.
What made you get into the industry and why did you choose to be involved with WMFHA?
I fell into the industry. I was taking a break from college and was offered a temporary position by the owner of the company. I became involved with WMFHA in its earliest days. I had already been attending various NAA conferences and events as our Director of Marketing and understood the power in engaging with the industry’s leading advocacy organization. It was a no-brainer for AFB to join when WMFHA was formed.
Do you have one or two regular habits that you feel aid your success?
I regularly carve specific time out of my schedule for strategic planning and evaluating my business, personal and family goals.
Did you have a mentor & how did they help you in your journey?
I’ve had many mentors over the years including numerous clients. The former president of our company, Greg Perry, had the greatest impact on my career. He recruited me onto our sales team, empowered me to develop and implement our corporate business development strategy, placed me on the senior leadership team and helped me develop the skills necessary to eventually take over management of the company.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
We believe multifamily flooring doesn’t have to be boring, and that people can and do make the difference. The core values of our company are Accountability, Collaboration, Innovation and Engagement. We live by these tenants every day through our clients, team members and suppliers.
Something fun or interesting about you or your company that people might not know or expect?
In addition to our monthly all-staff luncheons, we host one or two company parties per year. These might include team competitions or might simply serve to get us all together for some fun. Past events include the AFB Annual Olympics competition, go-cart racing, Family Feud trivia contests and roller skating and bowling parties. These events bring the various parts of our company together for good old-fashioned bonding and are a blast, although we had to discontinue the annual Olympics due to injuries!