On Friday, December 13, colleagues, family, and friends gathered for a luncheon at Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte to celebrate the career of George Hargrove, Barnhardt’s retiring Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Leaving his post after more than 45 years with the company, Hargrove will be remembered as a leader of integrity, always with a word of good cheer and fond of the quite frequent practical joke.
Shortly after graduating from North Carolina State University in 1973, George joined the Barnhardt team, for a five-year run selling cotton batting. “Back then, the company supported one of the state’s dominant industries, furniture,” explained Lewis Barnhardt, Chief Operating Officer. “George was very much a part of growing our furniture business, and after five years in batting sales, he was tapped to run our cushion plant, which he did for the next 10 years.”
After working in the furniture business for Barnhardt, George transitioned to consumer goods. “Before taking on the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing,” Lewis said, “he ran manufacturing at our Charlotte facility, including the cardroom and bleachery. This pivotal experience would prepare him for the second half of his career, as our company would expand into a broad range of markets, including medical and healthcare products, hygiene, beauty, and pharmaceuticals.”
According to Barnhardt CEO Tom Barnhardt, George managed near-constant change at the company with an unwavering commitment to his foundational values. “His approach has always been one of integrity,” he related. “George cares about what goes on in our business. He cares about our people, he cares about our customers, and he’s always wanted to do the right thing and do well for our company.”
In addition to his leadership in the company’s business development and physical expansions, George also played a key role in making sure Barnhardt met the expectations of its new consumer markets, spearheading the development of employee-led quality initiatives.
“George’s leadership has intersected with a transformative period at Barnhardt,” Tom noted. “And while all of these changes required a lot of him, I’ve never noticed any dramatic shifts in who he is. He’s always had a good, solid foundation that he uses to approach any challenge.”
When asked what George will be remembered most for during his time at the company, Tom Barnhardt shared that the long-time executive will always be known for how he has lived his life, personally and professionally. “George approaches life with a lot of passion—for his family, his friends, and for all of us at the company,” he explained. “He always has a kind word, and he’s committed to playing practical jokes on all of us. That will certainly be missed!”
Barnhardt Manufacturing celebrates the career of its retiring Vice President of Sales and Marketing, George Hargrove. We thank him for more than four decades of service to the company, its employees, and its customers. Most of all, we appreciate him for making Barnhardt a better place to come to work each day, and we wish him well in his retirement.