Former Toro CEO Ken Melrose to address First Friday luncheon Feb. 2

Former Toro CEO Ken Melrose to address First Friday luncheon Feb. 2

Ken Melrose, retired chairman of The Toro Company, will be the next speaker in the University of St. Thomas Alumni Association’s 2006-07 First Friday Luncheon Series.

The luncheon begins at noon Friday, Feb. 2, at The Depot, 225 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Melrose joined Toro in 1970 as director of marketing for the consumer products division. He was named chief executive officer in December 1983 and chairman of the board in December of 1987. He stepped down from that role in 2005, when he was named executive chairman for the company’s board of directors.

During his time at Toro, Melrose created a “bottom-up” culture, aimed at valuing individuals’ contributions to the organization. He is a member of the faculty of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business and is chairman of advisory board of the St. Thomas-based Center for Ethical Business Cultures. He is author of Making the Grass Greener on Your Side: A CEO's Journey to Leading by Serving (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995), the story of how his company found new profitability by empowering employees to participate in its management. He also is founder of a new company, Leading by Serving LLC. Its mission is to advance the principles of “servant leadership” in organizations.

Melrose will speak about building a values-based corporate culture and will share examples of how good corporate cultures can breed good business ethics. This luncheon is co-sponsored by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures.

On first Fridays of each month during the academic year, the St. Thomas Alumni Association's First Friday Luncheon Series offers lunch and a speaker of current interest. St. Thomas alumni and friends, along with the general public, are invited. Cost of each luncheon and presentation is $25. A limited number of $10 student tickets are available at the St. Thomas Box Office.

Reservations for the Feb. 2 luncheon are due Friday, Jan. 26. Early reservations are recommended as these events fill quickly. For reservations and more information, call the St. Thomas Alumni Association, (651) 962-6430, or register online at the association’s Web site,