The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) traveled to Kohler Co. headquarters this week not only to host a leadership program with its staff, but also to plant a tree in memory of the company’s legendary Executive Chairman Herbert “Herb” V. Kohler, Jr. Kohler passed away in September at the age of 83.
The tree ceremony took place this morning at the large grassy meadow by the entrance to the Kohler plant and in front of The Beacon, Kohler’s Communication Creative Offices. The meadow is the future site of a memorial sculpture for Kohler and will also feature the Bur Oak Memorial Tree, donated by NKBA. The tree was chosen because it is an adaptable, resilient, and strong specimen, characteristics of the iconic Kohler.
“As a member of the Inaugural Class of the NKBA Hall of Fame 1989, Mr. Kohler carried on an amazing legacy that began just shy of 149 years ago,” said Bill Darcy, NKBA CEO. “His support of the NKBA & KBIS has been consistent and generous and has made the Kohler name synonymous with a brand that truly represents what leadership means in our industry.”
Joining Darcy from Kohler were David Kohler, chair and CEO; Laura Kohler, senior vice president of human resources, stewardship, and sustainability; and Scott Edmunds, vice president of marketing – KBNA.
“We are so proud to build upon the legacy of our father… and NKBA will always be a part of that,” said David Kohler, whose father’s six decades of leadership were integral to the company’s growth and success.
Joining Darcy from NKBA was Suzie Williford, executive vice president and chief strategy officer who, along with members from the association’s leadership program, watched the ceremony.
The existing meadow where the future Kohler memorial will be featured will be restored back to diverse native prairie. As part of the native landscape theme, a few widely-spaced Bur Oak trees will also be planted around the prairie edges to emulate the historic “oak savanna” character that was once prevalent throughout the Midwest prior to agricultural development.
Herb Kohler’s passion for the outdoors and environmental preservation led to the development of the Kohler’s 12 Environmental Principles, which helped the company combine its environmental stewardship with manufacturing. In September 2022, the KOHLER Center for Marsh Education opened at the Sheboygan Marsh Wildlife Area to promote the environment, conservation, and stewardship through education, hands-on activities, and advocacy.
For more on Herb Kohler: