Leading in Central MA: Casey Cormier, VP of Angel-Guard Products
Monday, March 17, 2014
A Conversation with Casey Cormier
SW: When was Angel Guard Products founded and by whom?
CC: Angel-Guard was founded in 1991 by my father, Fred Cormier. My uncles Dave Cormier and Scot Peterson joined as partners a few years later. My father had an idea for a foam broom used to quickly clear snow off of cars. Now, more than 20 years later, the Sno Brum is still one of the top selling snow tools in the country. The best part is that nearly all the components are manufactured here in New England, and all assembly and packaging is done right here at our facility in Worcester. In fact, one of my first jobs when I was a teenager was assembling Sno Brums. Growing up in a small, family business afforded me the opportunity to learn and work in all aspects of the business. I'm very grateful for that.
SW: Can you describe how you help bring inventions to market?
CC: Inventors come to us usually on reputation or recommendation. Typically an inventor will come to us with a patented and, often, prototyped invention. We license the invention, and work closely with the inventor on the design to make sure the product can be manufactured in a cost effective way without sacrificing quality. Once we have arrived on a final design, we source and oversee the manufacturing. The majority of our products are made here in MA. With more than 20 years in business we have been able to build close relationships with some truly fabulous companies in the area. This has allowed us to be competitive against the larger corporations manufacturing overseas. Final assembly and packaging is done at our facility. Marketing, branding and sales are all handled in house as well. It's unique in that we get to see an idea take shape from an inventor, and go all the way to market.
SW: Have you brought some of your own inventions to the market?
CC: Unfortunately my inventions, so to speak, haven't made it past the drawing board or prototype stage. Hopefully some day I'll come up with the right product at the right time, but until then I'm happy working with inventors. It's always amazing getting a call from one of the inventors after he has seen his product on the shelf or in a catalog for the first time.
SW: What is on the drawing board for Angel Guard Products in 2014?
CC: This is going to be a very exciting year for us. We have several contractor and homeowner tools launching in Home Depot this spring. Additionally we have been working with an inventor from Connecticut who seems to turn out inventions faster than I can keep up with. We'll be launching several more new tools this year at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas and at the Deck Expo/Remodeling Show in Baltimore.
SW: Are you involved in the community?
CC: Our core value is creating employment opportunities for disabled individuals within our community. When my father first founded the company, he had it written into the corporate bylaws that as much assembly and packaging as possible is to be performed by people with disabilities. To this day nearly 90% of our assembly and packaging provides employment due those with disabilities. We have worked closely with the Center of Hope in Southbridge for a number of years. Giving back to the community and helping folks in need was always a huge part of my family’s life, and that has certainly carried over to the business as well.
SW: Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
CC: First and foremost would be my parents. My mother, Dale, is one of the kindest and warmest people I know. She taught me the value in truly listening to people. Of course you can see my father's influence in my business life, but it is his integrity and generosity not just with friends and family, but with complete strangers as well that has always inspired me. My wife, Jamie, has a level of compassion for others that I can only hope to try and keep up with. And of course my kids; kids have a funny way of changing your perspective on just about everything.
SW: Your favorite quote?
CC: That is tough one. A lot of great quotes come to mind depending on the situation, but if I had to choose:
"A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting."
- Jon Pertwee, as the Third Doctor from Doctor Who
SW: What is something that few people know about you?
CC: I read just about anything I can get my hands on, and I'm typically reading 2 to 3 books at any one time. Always a book on improving an aspect of our business (or myself within the business), usually some sort of philosophy book, and a sci-fi or fantasy book because a little escape from reality grants a little bit of mindful rest and often times sparks my creativity in the real world.
SW: How do you spend your free time?
CC: I have a 3 year-old son and a 2 year-old daughter, so I use the term free time very loosely. Every opportunity I have I spend with them, and when they finally fall asleep you can usually find me either reading a book or watching a Doctor Who marathon.
SW: How do you define success?
CC: Success, to me, is a life well lived. I don't remember who said it, but there is a quote that goes "it's not the years in your life, but the life in your years." When I look back years from now I want to know that, without a doubt, I lived my life to the fullest of my potential.
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CC: I would certainly like to see Angel-Guard grow into a nationally recognized brand as a company that fosters creativity, innovation and quality into all out products. To me, that continued growth would help create a number of opportunities for folks in the Worcester area both at Angel-Guard and at the local companies that we work with. (And maybe by then some of my own inventions will have made their way onto retail shelves as well!)
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens. If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].
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