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Forney’s very own Dane Anderson was awarded MDM’s Future Leader Award. Anderson was one of 10 recipients chosen out of dozens of talented nominees to represent the “under 40” leaders in distribution talent. Read his feature below:


Dane Anderson

One of many threads uniting this crop of Future Leaders is that their contributions to their respective companies became more apparent — and more critical — against the backdrop of COVID-19. Any distributor or manufacturer that wanted to adapt to the rapidly changing marketplace would need some fresh, new ideas from their next generation of executives.

That was especially true at Forney Industries, a Fort Collins, Colorado-based, family-owned, 88-year-old metalworking products distributor.

Dane Anderson officially joined Forney in 2016, but the 28-year-old says that as a fourth-generation family member of the company, he’s been a Forney employee all of his life. And Anderson, now the company’s vice president of operations and business administration, is a big reason that Forney has navigated the pandemic as well as it has.

Anderson began his Forney career in sales before moving to VP of operations and serving on the executive team, where he is showcasing his talents alongside his father, President and CEO Steve Anderson, as well as David Eckert, the VP of industrial markets and director of field sales for the Central U.S.

During the last eight months, Eckert said in his nomination, Anderson was charged with keeping employees and facilities safe, maintaining supply chain lead times, adding second shifts in the distribution centers, overseeing a substantial increase in both small package and LTL shipments, identifying new bottlenecks, introducing new products such as masks and shields that require new packaging and assembly operations, and evaluating new automation capabilities.

Anderson happily took on these tall tasks. “The only thing that we want to stay stagnant at Forney is our customers’ perception of us; we think our customers love us,” he says. “This year, I’ve been tasked with completely overhauling our warehouses. Archaic is the wrong word, but our processes are very old and they need to be updated. I’m tasked with taking our current pick process and fully automating it. They’re bringing out the checkbook and saying to me, ‘We’re putting a lot in your hands, but you need to make us more efficient.’

Anderson, who spent a year working for a different company before joining his dad at Forney, initially worked in sales for two years before moving into operations. He’s now helping the company move into e-commerce to better compete with the Amazons of the world.

“We are trying to flip the mold and change how we distribute our product,” he says. “And I think it’s been a really fun challenge.”

In his nomination of Anderson, Eckert added: “The reality is, our business changed in a matter of days/weeks and the leadership provided by Dane was critical to realizing our growth during this challenging period. No doubt that Forney Industries is in good hands as they move into its fourth generation.”

Read the rest of the article by Elizabeth Galentine here.