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For Immediate Release
UNIONTOWN (April 6, 2021) — Planning for future double-digit growth in revenue and profits, office furnishings wholesaler COE Distributing has enhanced its executive team to support targeted initiatives and provide the ultimate client experience through hyper-focused customer service.

Effective immediately, J.D. Ewing will move from his role of president into the position of chairman, continuing his role as CEO. Ewing has grown this third-generation, family-owned business to one of the largest distributors of office furnishings in the United States with more than 100 employees. Under his
leadership, COE brought new products to market last year in the midst of a global pandemic and achieved its highest revenue months in company history in August and September, topping out for the first time ever at $10MM revenue.

Moving forward, he will focus on key customer relationships, refining company culture and big-picture strategy to move COE forward and position the company for explosive and sustainable growth.

“Over the past year, the COE team has navigated substantial challenges and repeatedly shown ourselves, our clients, our vendors and the world how we embrace change, becoming better and stronger because of it,” Ewing said.

“I’m particularly excited about the metamorphosis we’re now beginning. Our energized leadership team is committed to doing what’s best for the company and our redefined roles will allow all team members to leverage their strengths to achieve optimal performance.”

Former chief financial officer Mike Flaherty will transition into the role of president and chief operating officer, overseeing day-to-day, core operations.

A CPA and finance executive with 30 years of experience and an MBA from Duquesne University, Flaherty has served COE Distributing as CFO for two years. Since beginning his career with accounting, finance and information technology positions with Westinghouse Electric, he’s spent 15 years in various executive
positions with Reynolds American before assuming the role of CFO for American Beverage Corporation. Flaherty was named Pittsburgh Business Times CFO of the Year in both 2014 and 2020.

COE will hire a new CFO and has delineated several new positions to enable leaders to focus more intently on specific goals and continuous process improvement.

Jennifer Jubin has been named vice president of customer experience to oversee all employees and processes impacting customers. Jubin joined COE in 2016 as VP of operations. Skilled in strategic leadership, analytics, forecasting, budgeting and problem solving, she holds an MBA from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.

John Townsend was appointed director of warehouse operations managing COE’s three distribution centers in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas. Jack Kramer was elevated to fill Townsend’s previous position as facility manager for the Pennsylvania warehouse.

Earlier this year, COE Distributing created two new positions and retooled its marketing department in anticipation of burgeoning demand for e-commerce services. “The move to online sales has accelerated over the past 12 months, and our team is prepared to provide the resources our customers need and want in this increasingly digital environment,” said Chief

Marketing Officer Melanie Ewing, who was elevated to that role in the recent department expansion. Melanie Ewing most recently served as marketing director and continues to shape the marketing team she built from the ground up as it develops to meet business goals and growth demands.

Scott Nichols joined COE as director of e-commerce sales strategy, a key position created to optimize and enhance e-commerce business by implementing best practices to maximize growth and sales and create best-in-class representation of products on e-commerce platforms. He joins COE from Milwaukee-based National Business Furniture, where he spent 13 years in a variety of roles involving merchandising, product management, e-commerce, channel development, sales, global sourcing, pricing, customer service, market strategy and vendor relations.

COE’s Leslie Eldridge assumed Melanie Ewing’s post as marketing director in the recent restructuring. A skilled communicator leading creative teams in bringing strategic marketing initiatives to life, Eldridge brings an eye for detail and the ability to conceptualize the big picture to her new role. Eldridge has exceled in numerous capacities during her more than 20-year tenure with COE, most recently serving as senior graphic designer and web content manager.

Additionally, accomplished supply chain executive Bob Nau joined COE in December as director of supply chain. Nau brings expertise in reengineering business processes to optimize inventories to COE and has previously excelled in similar roles with Medrad, Respironics and Fenner Dunlop Americas.

“We’re poised to move forward with the right people in the right seats on the bus doing the right things,” J.D. Ewing said. “Change often can be difficult, but we have a culture of attacking change with positivity and success, always keeping our core values of customer service, teamwork, quality, transparency, safety and respect in view.”

Jennifer Mosier, Accounts Receivable Manager, is our newest COE Warrior! She was given the helmet due to her loyalty, dedication, incredible leadership skills and can-do attitude. She is always willing to go above and beyond and embraces all changes that will help to move the company forward. Congratulations on this deserved honor! Please continue below to read what receiving this honor means to Jennifer.

What does winning the warrior helmet mean to you?

To be chosen as the warrior helmet recipient is a great honor, because it was unexpected. Everyone hopes to do a good job at work but to know that what you are doing is being noticed and appreciated means so much.

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

Definitely the core values and the interaction I have with the recipient on a professional level. I would want my recipient to value the core values and work by these values each day as I do.

How has COE helped you to get where you are?

I started out as a part time receptionist so to say they have giving me what I need to succeed is an understatement. They saw something in me that I don’t believe at the time I saw in myself. They challenged me with projects and tasks that were outside of my comfort zone and with the right direction I learned all that I needed to move up to the position I have today. I am thankful for the confidence and the constant reassurance that was given to me daily.

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

Personal and operational growth. Honestly, I have surpassed the goals that I made for myself with the help of my department. I do however believe that there is always room for improvement and growth so I would like to continue to break record numbers and meet KPI’s and continue to help to move COE forward financially.

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

I love the fact that employees who would not normally be in the limelight get their moment to shine and be recognized. If you don’t interact with each department then your abilities may be unintentionally overlooked and this gives them the recognition they deserve.

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

It is just the fact that we get to be associated with such a respected organization. It gives us that edge over everyone else.

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

Teamwork – It should not matter what department you are working in or what daily tasks you face in the end we are one unit, one team, one family…..we are COE and that is all.

Share some fun facts about yourself!

I am obsessed with the paranormal and all things spooky, scary and supernatural. When I get stressed out I bake…..a lot. The funniest thing is though in my 53 years of life I just recently learned how to pump my own gas 

Michael Flaherty, COE’s Chief Financial Officer and another fearless leader, has become our newest COE Warrior! Jennifer Jubin passed the helmet to Mike stating that he truly showcases our core value of teamwork and does whatever is asked of him, regardless of his job description. He is always ready to jump in on any project and do whatever is needed and has also been a strong leader for the Accounting team. Congratulations on this much deserved honor! You may continue below to read what this honor means to Mike and to learn a little more about him.

What does winning the warrior helmet mean to you?

For me, winning the warrior helmet is a very special honor because it is a peer-to-peer recognition. When a friend and colleague go out of their way to show their appreciation, somehow it just seems to mean that much more.

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

Choosing the next participant is going to be extremely difficult. I have spent most of my career outside of COE and have had the pleasure to work with very talented individuals and teams but I have to say the sheer number of “A” players at COE is astounding. I have never seen this amount of motivated, committed, intelligent, and dedicated people in an organization so trying to pick one will be a big challenge.

How has COE helped you to get where you are?

From day 1, I have been welcomed with open arms and open hearts by everyone at COE. I have been given the freedom to simply be me and do what I do best. Trust me this is not case in many organizations and for someone like me that at times has different ways of thinking, different ways of operating and loves to bring about new ideas and positive change, having the backing of the company to do so is very powerful.

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

Personal and operational growth. COE does a great job providing resources and opportunities for personal and professional growth. I really like the book clubs as they allocate and set aside specific time which ensures we take the time needed for development. On professional growth, I enjoy new projects and programs and as we continue to march forward to our goal of becoming a $500 million company there will continue to be plenty of opportunities to get involved with these.

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

I really enjoy that the engagement program allows all employees the opportunity to participate and the whole company participates together

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

I think the opportunity to be associated with a whole class organization like the Pittsburgh Penguins is extremely valuable for the business and personal I like the games

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

I would have to say quality – I take pride in doing things right the first time.

Share some fun facts about yourself!

I have 7 brothers and sisters, my dad was from Ireland, I lived & worked in London and Amsterdam for 4 years, I love to duck hunt, I enjoy travelling and am a partner in Froggy’s bar in Pittsburgh.

Jennifer Jubin, our VP of Operations is the current COE Warrior! Jennifer was given this honor by Melanie Ewing, our Chief Marketing Officer, who stated that she is humble, hungry and smart and lives out each of our core values daily. She also stated that Jennifer is always learning, teaching and helping others. Congratulations to another one of our fearless leaders for receiving the helmet. You may continue below to see what this honor means to Jennifer.

 

What does winning the warrior helmet mean to you?

It means that someone thought highly enough of me that I deserved some recognition and that feels really good! The fact that it was Melanie makes it extra-special.

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

Someone who I think about in a positive way consistently in how they conduct themselves and contribute to the success of the business.

How has COE helped you to get where you are?

Well, J.D. approached me about coming on board when I was at a major career crossroads and burnt out from my previous industry. It gave me the spark I needed to start again and see a bright future that I was having difficulty seeing in the year leading up to my start at COE at the end of 2016.

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

Personal and operational growth. I just always want to get better, both personally and professionally. Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.” I know I’m a flawed human being (just like everyone else), but I hope that in working with the strong team at COE, we can and will all help each other get better.

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

I have to say the book clubs! It’s been great to see so many people engaged in the reading, especially if they’re not particularly fond of reading. I’ve really enjoyed leading the Becoming Your Best book clubs to get to know our newer employees better, and the Leadership book clubs because of the amount of collaboration that has come out of them. Reading is fun, people! I just love learning.

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

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a fan of professional sports, but I love seeing the excitement that it has brought so many employees. It makes me happy to see them happy. Also, I love that it came with a book club! That was a nice surprise.

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

I would say Customer Service because that’s really at the core of the industries that I’ve worked in most of my life (Retail and Hospitality) and what all I’ve learned in my career has been based on.

Share some fun facts about yourself!

I always get asked if my hair is naturally curly, and yes, it is. (Melanie calls it “Aunt Jen” hair and Courtney is fascinated that I don’t own a brush!) Most everyone knows already that I love to read. Currently I’m tackling Lord of the Rings which is over 1,000 pages (wish me luck). I love to travel and am currently jonesing for some trips to plan. I own a 100-year-old unique house which I work on on the weekends. I’m currently redecorating a spare room that has become my WFH office. I have two sons who are 20 and 17. George is currently at Penn State Fayette and Sam will be graduating from high school in 3 months. Together we take care of 2 dogs, a cat, countless fish, and our latest addition, a parakeet named Larry Bird.

One of our fearless leaders and Chief Marketing Officer, Melanie Ewing, was named the newest COE Warrior! She was given this honor due to her eagerness to always keep learning and growing both herself and the department and for the encouragement and support she provides every single day. COE is lucky to have such a strong example of our mission and core values. Please continue reading to hear from Melanie herself on this honor.

FUN FACTS:

I love Marvel – especially Ironman and Deadpool. I have eaten a ghost pepper.  I love to hula hoop.  My favorite junk food is Hostess Raspberry Zinger and Andy Capp Hot Fries. My first official date in Pittsburgh with JD was at a Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Game – Jaromir Jagr had awesome hair!

What does winning the warrior helmet mean to you?

To be recognized by an individual that I admire and learn from daily that truly lives the COE core values both ‘on and off the ice’ was truly moving.

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

One of the most influential books I have ever read was The Ideal Team Player and the reference of Hungry, Humble and Smart. These three components will definitely play a role in the individual I pass along this honor to.

How has COE helped you to get where you are?

In October 1994, I left a job that I loved for love. Upon returning from our honeymoon, I started working at COE. JD and I were in an office that was not much bigger than a walk-in closet. My knowledge of the industry and connections allowed me to jump right in, and on day one we started with our 5-year plan. That 5-year plan put me out of my comfort zone and began my path of entrepreneurial thinking and goal setting.

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

Personal and operational growth. Continue our mission of being a customer-focused organization that is 100% committed to providing the best experience possible. Staying ahead of the trends and creating our own. Every team member at COE plays a role in this goal and I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing talent.

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

I truly love each of them. The rising star program is very special to me as I was once in a program very similar when I was in my early 20’s. Given the platform to showcase one’s talents and potential to executives and other leaders within a company while learning alongside them can help individuals grow in both their professional and personal life. I really enjoy getting to know each of the rising stars and helping them grow and reach their goals.

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

It is such an honor to be in a partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins – I still do a double-take when I see our logo pair with theirs. It is also very humbling to be the first employee engagement partner and to experience first hand the high bar they set for both players and employees when it comes to excellence.

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

My entire career has always involved customer service. Each decision I make at COE always has that value at the forefront of my mind.

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