COE Distributing Equips Future Ready Center to Prepare Brownsville Area Students for Workforce

UNIONTOWN, Pa. – Oct. 19, 2020 – PRLog — A donation of stylish, modern office furnishings helped students in the Brownsville Area School District turn an underutilized middle school library into a next-generation center for career preparation and development.

From a reception area to comfy sofa and club chairs with tablet arms for the fireplace work area, COE Distributing outfitted the new career resource center by donating more than $40,000 in furnishings from its private-label brand OfficeSource in silver, black and blue. Four pedestal tables, 16 stools and funky, cushioned “spool chairs” round out the Center’s unique new look.

District officials will cut the ribbon on the Future Ready Center on October 22, ushering in new opportunities for students to prepare for post-secondary life. Located in the former Brownsville Area Middle School library, the Future Ready Center was designed from the ground up by students to provide the resources and tools they’ll need to explore a variety of careers in an environment that will inspire them.

“We wanted it to be a modern, urban design with large open spaces and an airy feel” said Lynn Jellots, a Brownsville Area teacher who coordinates the Center with librarian Jennie Karwatske. “Mr. J.D. Ewing from COE made a generous donation above and beyond our expectations, offering furniture designs that met our vision for the Center.”

The FRC will afford students opportunities to complete career interest inventories then gain familiarity with various careers, explore internship and job shadowing options, increase preparedness for success in post-secondary institutions and obtain industry-based credentials. It also will be an information hub where students can conduct research and monitor opportunities for scholarships, internships, employment, SAT exam dates and upcoming workshops.

The project was an ideal collaboration for COE. Not only is President and CEO J.D. Ewing a Brownsville Area High School graduate, he volunteers with organizations that mentor students to become productive members of the workforce. At COE, he’s instituted special training for Rising Stars and a host of offerings to help all employees continually grow both personally and professionally.

“Our strength as a company comes from our employees,” Ewing said. “I’m passionate about employee engagement and about sharing with the next generation and equipping future employees for success.”

Andrea Jenkins, one of our Accounts Receivable Clerks, was recently awarded the Warrior Helmet. The honor was passed along to Andrea because of her dedication to the company and her department every day, and how she shows up and does her best no matter what. Thank you for your strong teamwork Andrea! Continue reading below to hear what Andrea thinks about this honor and the partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fun Fact about Andrea

I absolutely hated math in school.

 What does winning the warrior helmet mean to you?

It means a lot to me to be recognized for just doing my job and trying my best each day.

What did you or what do you look for when it comes to choosing the next recipient?

With so many of my peers already being awarded with the helmet, it made this decision a little easier actually. I looked for someone who always shows up and does the job without question or complaint and is always willing to help no matter the issue.

How has COE helped you to get where you are?

When I made the move to the accounting department two years ago, I had a lot of self-doubt and hesitation, but now I believe that I have truly made a difference within our department. It has given me more self confidence in my abilities to do my job

What goals do you want to achieve and how can COE help get you there?

Personal and operational growth.
I am looking to expand my knowledge within the accounting department, and if the opportunity would come about for an assistant management position within AR, I would hope that I would be considered for the position.

What is your favorite part of our employee engagement programs at COE and why?

The book club that I was recently a part of has given me a more detailed look at my job from a different point of view and I found that to be interesting.
I really enjoyed the past employee engagement events that I have been apart of. While I didn’t participate this year, last year’s golf outing was super fun. It gave me, as well as others, a chance to get to know each other outside of our individual departments. We are often so busy in the office we rarely have the time to get to know our coworkers. While it is different now with COVID, I think that more events like this help us to become more connected to one another.

What are you most excited for when it comes to our Penguin partnership?

I think its awesome that a small town, locally owned business has been given this opportunity to be partners with the Pens.

With this partnership, I was able to participate in book clubs with individuals that otherwise I would have never been able to work with. Hearing their stories of all the things that they are able to experience and pass on that same pens experience to their fans around the world.

That along with the discount tickets is an extra bonus, if we can ever get back into large groups again.

What COE value do you think you’re the strongest in and why?

For me, now more than ever, it would be teamwork. It is amazing to me the job that our team has been able to do through this pandemic, not only that, but doing so being down a full-time position since March. I believe that my coworkers would agree that we have all stepped in and stepped up in many ways to ensure that we get the job done. While some days were tough, we were tougher and our numbers prove just that.

COE Distributing Named to Pittsburgh Business Times Fast 50 List


UNIONTOWN, Pa. – Sept. 30, 2020 – PRLog — The Pittsburgh Business Times has named COE Distributing, one of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors of office furnishings, among the Pittsburgh region’s 50 fastest-growing, privately held companies.

The 2020 Fast 50 were celebrated in a virtual event on Tuesday where it was revealed COE ranked 41 on the list.

To qualify for this award, companies were required to have at least $2,000,000 in revenue in 2017. The Fast 50 are then ranked by the percentage of revenue growth during a three-year period, 2017 and 2019 for this year’s rankings. COE achieved an impressive 51% growth in sales in that time frame, joining a prestigious list of flourishing companies from diverse industries, including health care, logistics, home building and legal services.

“Our team is thrilled to be recognized for our progress over the past three years and to be ranked among some of the most successful organizations in western Pennsylvania,” said CEO and President of COE Distributing, J.D. Ewing. “Our ability to grow even when market dynamics are tough is a testament to the dedication and drive of our incredible team.”

COE has been recognized among Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing companies by the Business Times since 2013. The Fast 50 honor is the latest in a string of achievements for COE. In the past month, the company has been named a Pittsburgh Top Workplace by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and included on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America.

A full list of all the Fast 50 winners can be found on the Pittsburgh Business Times website (…).


COE Distributing Recipient of Pittsburgh Top Workplaces 2020 Award

UNIONTOWN, Pa. – Sept. 23, 2020 – PRLog — COE Distributing has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2020 honor by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, ranking 21 of 57 small companies recognized on the list.

Altogether, the Post-Gazette spotlighted 92 Pittsburgh-area companies of various sizes and industries on the rankings which are based solely on feedback from employees who rate their workplace culture through a third-party survey administered by the Post-Gazette’s Top Workplaces research partner Energage LLC.

Data collected addresses employee satisfaction with the basics like pay, benefits and training and gives a unique look at the importance employees place on issues such as their alignment with their company’s values and direction, having meaningful work and feeling appreciated and employee engagement and development.

COE Distributing has a robust employee engagement program. Whether it’s career development programs such as Rising Stars, Employee Recognition, Profit Sharing or those geared toward a more personal approach such as Financial Workshops, Volunteer Paid Time Off and Virtual Book Clubs, the more than 100 employees benefit from an extensive list of offerings. Perhaps the most exciting addition for COE has been the Bi-Weekly Warrior Helmet Handoff in partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is a peer-to-peer recognition program based on demonstration of COE values of customer service, teamwork, quality, transparency, safety and respect.

“One of our largest focuses over the past several years has been on allowing team members to really grow within the business,” said COE Distributing President and CEO J.D. Ewing. “We’re developing leaders at all levels of the organization and this recognition in the Top Workplaces program shows our employees value our efforts to grow with everyone’s input.”

The awards process began back in January, when 1,493 public, private, nonprofit or governmental entities with more than 50 employees were invited to participate. COE and other nominees were celebrated in a virtual awards program on September 17 and the official rankings were announced in the September 20 edition of the Post-Gazette.

COE Distributing President and CEO Named Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 East Central Award Finalist

UNIONTOWN, Pa. – Sept. 18, 2020 – PRLog — J.D. Ewing, president and CEO of national office furnishings wholesaler COE Distributing, was chosen as a finalist in Ernst & Young LLP’s 2020 Entrepreneur Of The Year program.

Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive business awards for leaders of high-growth companies. Ewing is among 26 finalists selected from nearly 100 nominations within the East Central region of the United States by a panel of independent judges. He is one of seven selected from the Pittsburgh region.

Award winners will be announced during a special virtual event on October 7, 2020. This year, entrepreneurs who have provided extraordinary support to their communities, employees and others during the COVID-19 crisis will also be recognized for their courage, resilience and ingenuity.

COVID-19 certainly posed daunting challenges for an office furnishings distributor looking for ways to serve clients while offices sat empty.

“My unstoppable team had a clear focus on envisioning and creating new products to meet customer demands and getting them to market in less than two months,” Ewing said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way my team created the opportunity to be relevant in this economy and I am honored to be recognized by the Entrepreneur Of The Year program on their behalf.”

COE went beyond remaining relevant throughout the pandemic. Shifting from solely distributing to also manufacturing its own new product lines, the company was able to avoid furloughs, hire additional employees and achieve the highest revenue month in company history in August.

Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists were evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management. Now in its 34th year, Entrepreneur Of The Year has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries throughout the world.
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