WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge to Discuss Success Strategies

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Garry Ridge, president and CEO of the WD-40 Co., will describe how his company expanded its product line and doubled its sales at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 16 in Columbus State University’s University Hall auditorium. The program, part of the Turner College of Business Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, is free and open to the public.

In addition to its trademark cleaner, lubricant and anti-corrosive spray solution, Ridge’s San Diego-based company has added 3-IN-ONE Oil, Solvol and Lava heavy-duty hand cleaners, plus other household cleaning commodities, to its product line and does business in about 50 countries (see http://www.wd40company.com).

His CSU presentation, “Garry’s Top 10+1 Tips For a Successful Business,” will address his entrepreneurial philosophy, motivation and unique approach to leadership that has spurred his company’s success.

He also will discuss his forthcoming book, Helping People Win at Work, written with Ken Blanchard, a San Diego-based management consultant, author, university lecturer and co-founder of The Center for FaithWalk Leadership, which is dedicated to helping leaders “walk their talk” in the marketplace.

Garry RidgeRidge, right, is widely regarded as an original thinker on leadership. An Australian, he looks to the tribal organization of native Aboriginals for inspiration in his own leadership.

Ridge’s company is a “model of a lean and people-focused learning organization,” said Columbus State management professor Kirk Heriot, who directs the entrepreneurship speaker series as the Ray and Evelyn Crowley Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship in the Turner College of Business.

Ridge joined WD-40’s management structure in 1987 and climbed to its top level by 1997. He transformed a working environment from one of regular day-to-day operations to an environment where employees are encouraged to constantly learn and share knowledge with each another.

Ridge told the management journal Smart Business the most important business lesson he has learned is “there are no mistakes, only learning moments.”

“Creating an environment of continuous learning is where all of the success lies in business,” he said.

Ridge also told the journal he believes in servant leadership “with an edge.”

“I think there are four qualities that are important: care for people, be candid with people, hold people accountable and responsible,” he said.

Outside his company, Ridge has served as national vice president of the Australian Marketing Institute and the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association.

Among his awards are Director of the Year (2003) for Enhancement of Economic Value from the (San Diego) Corporate Directors forum and the Arthur E. Hughes Career Achievement Award in 2004 from the University of San Diego.

For more information, call 706-562-1674.