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Bill Bollin of Bostwick-Braun receives lifetime honor

From left: Gary Cosgrave, chairman of PRO Group, and Bill Bollin, chairman of The Bostwick-Braun Co.

Bill Bollin, chairman and CEO of The Bostwick-Braun Co., was honored with a Lifetime of Achievement award on Nov. 3 by the PRO Group at its annual Executive Planning Conference in Naples, Fla.

Bollin joined the Toledo, Ohio-based Bostwick-Braun Co. in 1970, working in the warehouse and later moving on to shipping, office support, data processing, purchasing, management and all the way to his current position as chairman.

He oversaw many significant changes for the distributor, including transitioning from private ownership to an employee stock ownership plan, progressing from data processing punch cards to the launch of a turnkey point-of-sales system, and moving Toledo’s outdated distribution center to a new 300,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Ashley, Ind. 

Under Bollin’s leadership, the company grew its hardware presence from eight states in the Midwest to 18 states across the country. Bostwick-Braun acquired Steel City Products in 2006, expanding the company’s reach into automotive products, pet products and lawn and garden. Four years later, the company purchased Southern Hardware in West Helena, Ark., expanding its hardware reach. That same year, 2010, the company acquired JMC Sales and Engineering, expanding the wholesaler’s manufacturing offerings.

Steve Synnott, president and CEO of PRO Group, presented the award to Bollin, noting how Lifetime of Achievements awards are often associated with retirement. But in this case, PRO Group wanted to recognize Bollin -- who has no immediate plans to retire -- for his continuing impact while he is still at the helm of Bostwick-Braun. 

Synnott credited Bollin with shaping the company, setting the tone for a can-do and thrifty culture “[that] demands careful analysis and thoughtful implementation.”

“The result is a company that has made money every single month since January of 1987,” Synnott said. “Think about the enormity of that accomplishment. That’s 286 consecutive months of profit generation. Coincidentally, Bill Bollin was promoted to executive VP over all operations in late-1986.”

Synnott added that a $1,000 stake in Bostwick-Braun in 1986 is now valued at more than $110,000.

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