The August 14 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 12th annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.
Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.
The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.
Kurt Jovais, Midea America Corporation, President/GM
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: When Kurt Jovais joined Midea in 2015, holding the title of vp/marketing and sales, his focus was to work with the management team in growing the company’s business as both a manufacturer and as a brand. Now, as president, Jovais will have a greater impact on the direction of the company as it seeks to expand its presence in several core housewares categories, most notably small electrics.
Prior to joining Midea, he was vp/product marketing for Samsung Home Appliances in the U.S., a position he held since 2009. During his time with Samsung, the company expanded its appliance assortment and expanded its presence at several major U.S. retailers. His experience also includes time with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where as a principal consultant he was focused on helping clients use data to improve marketing tactics and better understand the end consumer.
WHAT TO WATCH: For the past two years, Midea’s effort to raise its profile with U.S. retailers— and ultimately consumers— is one that many long-standing suppliers in the small electrics segment have been watching and discussing. The parent company in China has been in business nearly 50 years and has long been a manufacturing resource for vendors, making products that include a variety of small appliances, major appliances and floor care products.
While Midea has the manufacturing expertise, the challenge facing Jovais and his team is continuing to educate merchants about the company’s history and its ability to manufacture appliances that could be sold under the Midea brand or possibly under a retailer’s private label. While Midea makes products in Asia, the company over the past two years has made investments in the U.S. More recently, the company opened its Emerging Technology Center in San Jose, CA, which includes a research and development facility, a customer service center and corporate offices. Midea said it plans to invest $250 million in the center.
PERSPECTIVE: As the company continues to expand its presence in the U.S., the next step for Midea will be to gain shelf space in a highly competitive retail landscape. Jovais is confident the company will take this next step.
“We have worked diligently to build a solid infrastructure that will meet the needs of our growing business, as well as represent the innovative culture Midea is known for,” he said. “While Midea is a global company, we are excited to expand and invest to meet the fast-growing demand for high-quality products for the home in the U.S. and Canada.”
2018 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):
- Katrina Helmkamp, Lenox Corporation
- Terry Carlson, Lasko Products
- Gilles Gosselin, Atlantic Promotions/Starfrit
- Brendan Proctor, Lidl U.S.
- John Mackey, Whole Foods Market
- Arjen Linders, Philips North America
- Mike George, QVC
- Rob Kay, Filament Brands
- Marc Lore, Walmart
- Kurt Jovais, Midea America Corp.
- Liz Zadro, Zadro Products
- Bradley Smith, Cheyenne Products
- Larry Witt, Oxo
- Lori Gonzalez, Twin-Star
- Bobby Griggs, Hammer Stahl
- Tony Curtis-Wellings, Faraday’s
- Brett Bradshaw & Robert Michelson, Bradshaw
- Rick Carey, Metal Ware