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Klein back at the helm

Last summer, Klein Steel expanded its local operation by 90,000 square feet to accommodate a national customer, the Raymond Corp., which manufactures forklift trucks and pallet jacks.

 Building on its momentum, Klein Steel expects to make investments in both equipment and staff: Plans call for adding about 10 employees this year, CEO Klein said. 

 With a focus on growing the bottom line, Klein’s employees are the key to that growth, he added. The business has some 220 workers. 

 To help reach its goals, Klein is taking the company back to its roots, encouraging such values as absolute fairness, servant leadership—leading by helping others—and honesty. 

 “Sugarcoating only causes cavities,” Klein said.

 Driving out fear is another focus for the business. For example, managers are being trained to thank employees when they tell them bad news because it alerts them to a problem rather than hiding one, he explained. Another area that is important to Klein is health and wellness, particularly meditation and mindfulness. 

 Bonuses will be distributed to everyone equally regardless of their position at the firm, he added. Klein is excited he is back at the company full-time, as is his wife, he said with a laugh. 

 “We have a strong team here and I’m happy to be back,” Klein said. 

Klein was named the 2006 Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Council of the Rochester Business Alliance Inc.

 He received the honor a year after naming retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste company president. In 2011, Batiste was named CEO of Klein Steel, replacing Klein, who went back to school and received a master’s degree in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

 In 2013, Zyra replaced Batiste, who was named president and CEO of Buffalo Armory LLC, a Buffalo-based company co-owned by Batiste and Klein.

 Education has been a long-standing priority for Klein. 

 He was the founding board member of the six Rochester Prep charter schools and served as chairman of Rochester’s Literacy Commission. 

 Klein is chairman of PUC Achieve Charter School, serves as a fellow for the Center for Governmental Research Inc. and is a member of SUNY College at Brockport’s School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board.

 2/17/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected]

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