When people say a good bed is essential because you spent a third of your life on it, Nathan Kooi notes that the same is true for office chairs.
Kooi said workers need seating, desks, surroundings and technology that are comfortable and work.
“Office furniture actually matters to everybody even if they don’t think about it every day,” said Kooi, vice president and general manager for dancker, which supplies furniture, technology and logistics services.
Dancker recently acquired two Steelcase furniture dealers in the Baltimore-Washington area, U.S. Business Interiors and Hyperspace, and now has 225 employees in the northeastern United States.
Kooi moved south from New York near the company’s base this summer with his wife and two small children and now splits his time between Baltimore and Washington.
And while he now has new territory, he’s been working in the industry since college in Michigan. He got an internship at Steelcase and was struck by the industry’s reach into workers’ lives.
“It’s something so tangible and practical,” he said. “I realized I could have a career in something that touched people lives in a meaningful way.”
Kooi spent 11 years at Steelcase before moving to dancker as the company was acquiring U.S. Business Interiors.
The job has gotten more technical over time, as offices increasingly rely on more complex technology for their phones, computers and conference capabilities. Everything in the office has to be designed to go together, aesthetically and functionally.
“Everything has to work from Day 1,” which, Kooi said, is dancker’s job.
Looking ahead, Kooi said he’ll merge the Baltimore offices of Hyperspace and U.S. Business Interiors. He’s planning to hire more people in Baltimore and Washington. And he’s also getting to know current customers and working to add new ones.
vice president and general maneger for dancker
Previous job: regional sales manager for Steelcase
Residence: Currently living in Washington, D.C., but splitting his time between there and Baltimore
Education: graduate of Calvin College and recently earned his Executive MBA from Columbia Business School
Family: Wife, 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy
Volunteer efforts: Habitat for Humanity
Interests/hobbies: Travel though that has been curtailed by family. Outdoors and sports, including children’s soccer games.