Eight years from now, when Lance Ruttenberg blows out the candles on a birthday cake celebrating his company’s 100th birthday, the CEO of American Textile Company will be savoring an industrial hallmark that no Fortune 500 CEO has ever known. Lance and his brother Blake are the third generation of Ruttenbergs to own and lead the textile firm first established in 1925. While the company may not be in the same weight class as other successful firms with generational-family origins (Ford Motor Company, IBM Corp.), ATC’s longevity is a testament to an ownership/management model that has successfully served an industry, a family, and a devoted employee population for nearly 100 years.
Guest: Lance Ruttenberg, CEO
Company: American Textile Company
Headquarters: Duquesne, PA
“Finding talent has been one area where we’ve enjoyed success. The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and other educational institutions have provided this area with a great pool of young talent to bring in and develop. Hopefully, when a newly graduated person comes here and sees that at a young age, you can get a lot of responsibility and have an impact on a business from day to day, they’re inspired by that, and they look for an opportunity to build a career with us.
“However, the most talented person in the world might not fit in here culturally. Making a great hire, for us, is first a function of the characteristics of the person, independent of their skillsets.
“The key for us in hiring, and hiring correctly, and maintaining people’s interest in being in American Textile, is trying above all things to protect our corporate culture. To make this a place where people want to come to work, and like the people with whom they work, and then, you know, absolutely have a particular skill set that’s of value to the business. That’s our thinking there, and it has, I think, served us well.”