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Ken Melrose | 2006-2007

The NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) announced Kendrick B. Melrose, President of Leading by Serving, LLC and Retired CEO and Chairman of The Toro Company, as one of the first individuals to be honored with the NASBA CPT Being a Difference Award.

The NASBA CPT Awards Program recognizes individuals and organizations practicing high standards of social responsibility and ethical leadership. Recipients do not simply aspire to make a difference. They are making a difference in their circumstances by embodying the very best in principled behavior in the face of difficult challenges, which might otherwise result in a compromise of ethical conduct. These individuals, entities and organizations have distinguished themselves by demonstrating innovative responses to ethical challenges, which inspire and motivate others to emulate similar behavior.

Kendrick B. Melrose joined The Toro Company in 1970 as director of marketing for the consumer products division. In 1976, he was named vice president of the company’s outdoor power equipment group, promoted to executive vice president in July 1980, named president in February of 1981, assumed additional responsibilities as chief executive officer in December 1983 and as chairman of the board in December of 1987. In March 2006 he retired from the Chairman position.

During his acceptance speech, Melrose credited Toro, “I’m honored to receive this award recognizing not only me, but all the Toro employees who helped build our ethical culture.”

In early 2006, Melrose formed a new company, Leading by Serving, LLC, whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in organizations. Melrose is a native of Orlando, Florida. He graduated with honors from Princeton University in 1962, where he majored in mathematics and electrical engineering. He was also a varsity track letterman for three years. He received a Master of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago, where he also was a marketing research assistant, a Ford Foundation fellow, president of the Graduate Business School’s student body, and on the Dean’s Honor Roll. He is also a member of the faculty at the Opus School of Business, University of St. Thomas, where he also serves on the Board of Trustees.

Melrose is the author of Making the Grass Greener on Your Side: A CEO’s Journey to Leading by Serving, published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers in October 1995. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of SurModics, Inc.; Center for Ethical Business Cultures (Chairman); the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis; National Association of Manufacturers; Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Inc. (Chairman); Park Nicollet Health Services; The Environmental Institute for Golf; Turf Equipment and Supply Company; Wesco Turf Supply Inc., and Professional Turf Products. He is a frequent speaker at national conferences on the subjects of servant leadership, building a values-based corporate culture, and how good cultures breed good ethics.

Read More: 2012 Update on Ken Melrose: Being a Difference, Then and Now