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2014 Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence
SCORE guidance helps Cumberland firm thrive
In 1977, Herrick & White started as a two-man woodworking shop in a small garage. Today the company occupies a fifty-five thousand square foot manufacturing facility, utilizing state of the art technology and employing more than one hundred people. Having completed jobs as far away as London and Tokyo, the firm is widely recognized as one of the finest architectural millwork shops of its kind.
In fact, Herrick & White’s reputation is so well known that ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition reached out to them to help build a new home for a deserving Warwick family in 2008. Naturally, Herrick & White rose to the challenge, with employees working around the clock to produce the millwork for a 3,000 square foot home that was entirely constructed in just seven days.
From heirloom quality furniture to exquisitely detailed cabinetry and millwork, Herrick & White’s creations can be found in some of America’s finest homes. Commercial projects include the beautiful curved benches in the Providence Train Station, woodwork at Foxwoods Casino, counters and millwork at several Hampton Inns, as well as counters, bars, and seating at many upscale restaurants throughout the country.
After 30 years of operation, Herrick & White was bought in 2007 by Ken Bertram and his partners, Steve Brannigan and Gary Rousseau, 3 long term employees. Shortly thereafter, with a recession looming, Ken realized that while he was a skilled craftsman who could also run day to day operations, he had little training in strategic planning and managing the organization’s growth. Hence, he enlisted the assistance of SCORE. SCORE quickly became a resource of experiences businessmen working in an advisory role to this new ownership group. SCORE assisted senior management to help them understand critical financial metrics. They helped make connections with other business partners in both accounting and human resources and they provided invaluable insight and guidance on challenging business decision.
Continuous improvement is most definitely part of Herrick & White’s corporate culture. Over the past year, the firm has been implementing lean manufacturing techniques, re-engineering the plant’s layout to reduce the steps required to transform raw materials into finished products. Several efficiencies have been created, and the positive impact on the bottom line has already facilitated reinvestment in new equipment and technology.
Ken and his team realize the importance of being a good corporate citizen. Every year the employees and their families donate their time and creative talents to The North Pole Toy Company, designing and manufacturing wooden toys and games so less fortunate children throughout the community can experience the joy of Christmas.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to join with the Rhode Island SCORE chapter to honor Kenneth Bertram, president of Herrick & White of Cumberland, with the 2014 Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
The Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence was created to honor the memory of Joseph G.E. Knight, who passed away in October 2005 at the age of 96. Mr. Knight was one of the founders of SCORE in 1964. He served as the association’s national chair in 1977 and 1978. The Joseph G.E. Knight SCORE Chapter 13 in Providence is the only SCORE chapter in the nation named in honor of an individual.
Mr. Knight dedicated more than 35 years to helping countless entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership through his sage mentoring and expert advice. This award is presented annually