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Kevin Schnieders
38 years old
Chief Executive Officer
Educational Data Systems, Inc. (EDSI)

EDSI works with public sector, private sector and labor organizations to research, analyze and assess their workforce development needs -- leading to the development and implementation of strategies to recruit, hire and/or train current or future workers. Since being founded by Kevin's father in 1979 in Dearborn, Michigan (USA), EDSI has helped more than 25,000 individuals. EDSI has 489 employees at 27 offices.

Growing as a Leader
"I was trained as an educator, with a high school teaching certificate. I then went into television production, with a special interest in sports. I joined the business part-time in 1994. At that time EDSI focused on corporate instruction. An opportunity came up from a Director of Welfare in PIttsburgh to teach case workers how to help people find jobs. My father did not want to take the assignment, but I said that we should take it on, and that I would do it. We opened an office in Pittsburgh, and I fell in love with the work and helping people."

"My father and I have had four difficult discussions in 13 years -- all due to our rapid growth. At one point we grew from 75 to 175 employees in three months, so of course there was some tension. Six years before he retired he promoted me to the role of Director of Operations, and later to the role of Chief Operating Officer. At that point we were stepping on each others' toes because we each had equal experience in the industry. My father decided to focus on finance and new business development while I focused on operations. That was the last difficult decision which we have had. There was no more stepping on toes. At that point our 300 employees knew who to call for what. When my father wanted to retire I was disappointed! Following my father was like being in the kitchen with a great chef."

"When I joined the business there were 18 employees -- and I hired all of the rest of the employees. In that way they developed respect for me, so it was a natural process when I became President. Now we have 489 employees at 27 offices. We are trying to slow our growth, and be very particular about opportunities. We are also trying to diversify."

"I describe myself as a servant leader -- serving those who report to me. My father always said to put people before profits."


Nomination
Mr. Schnieders was nominated for the "10 Under 40" Award by Ed Brooks.

Family Business Wiki Town Square Profile: Kevin Schnieders

Categories: 10 Under 40 Award