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2013 Donors, Memorials and Tributes | Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Erick J. Laine
Mr. and Mrs. Erick J. Laine
• Erick J. Laine (716) 968-1279 or (716) 372-7952 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Erick Laine, CEO of ...
Erick Laine, CEO of Alcas, Inc. manufacturers and markets some of the highest quality kitchen knives in the world under the brand name "Cutco.
One division once manufactured the K-bar knife, the official knife of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Its sales have reached over $200 million a year.
But when Laine took over as CEO in 1982, sales were only $5 million.
That's a 4000 percent increase in a field that older, established brands from Europe dominated.
When Erick became CEO of Alcas, his manufacturing arm was in disarray.
In a nine year period prior to his becoming boss, there wasn't a single contract that was settled without a strike and there were no less than 270 outstanding grievances on the books!
He was born in Finland, and in addition to integrity, his parents taught him something that doesn't translate easily into English.
The word in Finnish is "Sisu.
"Sisu" means a sort of stubborn persistence wrapped up with sheer guts.
knows what he
is doing, and he
is no pushover.
truly cares about his
people and he
insists on treating them fairly.
met with his
union in a spirit of openness and listened.
And when the union was right, he
And when he
thought they were full of bologna, he
told them that, too.
Over time, a strange thing happened.
always accepted the money on behalf of management, but then he
always used the money to purchase something that would benefit the workers like, TV for the cafeteria or a large clock that could be seen by everyone in the production area . . . that type of thing.
Now why do you think the workers and their union did this?
Obviously they could have just collected the money and gone out and bought something themselves.
didn't tell me this, but I believe this informal ceremony during which Laine
was presented with this money was a symbol of the trust between Alcas' union and management, between the company leaders and their workers.
Community Foundation to honor Erick and Marianne Laine, Peter Laine | Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation
Community Foundation to honor Erick and Marianne Laine, Peter Laine
Erick and Marianne Laine of Olean and Peter Laine of Asheville, N.C., formerly of Olean, will be presented with the award at the Community Foundation's annual luncheon in July.
Erick Laine is the former president of CUTCO Corporation.
He now serves as chairman emeritus.
wife, Marianne Letro Laine, have long been affiliated with improvements for local higher education.
Together they were instrumental in the development of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University
Erick, along with CUTCO, also led the Jamestown Community College Cattaraugus County Campus' capital campaign, helping to raise private funds needed for the creation of the $31 million campus in downtown Olean.
Erick also has served as commissioner of Cuba Lake District, trustee of Alfred University and St. Bonaventure University, and director of the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Olean General Hospital, American Cutlery Manufacturers Association, Community Bank, Cattaraugus Economic Development Zone.
Before being appointed president of Alcas, now CUTCO, in 1977, Erick worked for 22 years at ALCOA.
In 1982, he
and three of his
senior management team bought CUTCO
and it is now privately held.
retired from the company January 1, 2008.
has been named Businessman of the Year (the L.O.U.I.E. Award) by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce
The award is given to recognize achievements and community dedication of outstanding business leaders in the Olean community.
also received the John D. Hamilton Award, presented by Jamestown Community College
for those who have exemplified support of the college and its mission.
Erick received his bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin.
studies at the Graduate Schools of Business of Ohio State University and Iowa University
In 1998 he
completed a 9 week Harvard Business School course in the Owner/President/Management program.
"Erick, Marianne and Peter Laine join a distinguished group of community philanthropists who have made our region a better place by their active involvement and generosity," said Karen Niemic Buchheit, CRCF Executive Director.
Ms. Buchheit noted that while Erick
and Marianne Laine support numerous nonprofits directly they also contribute generously to a number of funds at the Community Foundation
Erick J. Laine - Chairman Emeritus, CUTCO Corporation