Entrereneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Radio Flyer, the company that had built such a famous brand some 80 years earlier, was “asleep at the handle,” in the words of Robert Pasin, grandson of the company’s founder, when he was named CEO in 1997. A Notre Dame graduate who had joined Radio Flyer’s sales department in 1992, Pasin quickly realized that the marginally profitable company had lost touch with consumers.
To turn the company around, Pasin began to challenge outdated practices, resulting in a complete reinvention of the business and a focus on the Radio Flyer brand. Starting with a first-ever public relations campaign that included constructing the largest wagon ever built, he expanded research and development and hired industrial engineers and designers.
In 2001, Radio Flyer developed the Path Finder wagon, whose success has eclipsed that of the original red wagon. Two years later, Pasin made the painful but necessary decision to shut down the manufacturing factory connected to the company offices and outsource production. He partnered with factories in China, overcoming the quality and shipping problems that initially emerged. Under Pasin’s leadership, company profits have tripled, and Radio Flyer is now a thriving international consumer products company.