An Interview with the President (of Graco, that is)

We talk a lot about new arrivals here at Graco- usually the 7 lb. 8 oz. 20″ kind.  Well we recently had another new arrival worth noting.  A little over a month ago, Doug McGraw joined the Graco family as our new President.  As you can imagine, everyone was anxious to meet him and learn a little more about the much-anticipated arrival- me included.  I was able to get a coveted 30 minutes on his travel-laden schedule to ask some questions about his plans for Graco, his background and most importantly, his role as a dad of 3.  Here is what he had to share with me: (you won’t find this new arrival’s weight and height here though-I thought that might be a bit rude of me to ask)

 Since your youngest child is now 17 and it’s been a while since you’ve needed Graco products, what changes in baby gear were the most surprising to you?

There are so many changes in baby gear over the last 15 years- probably the best changes are all the conveniences (like travel systems) that were obviously well thought-through for parents and didn’t even exist 15 years ago. The industry has made these products easier for parents to use.

The second thing I realized, after a visit to a Babies r Us, was the sheer number of choices that parents have today. On fashion for instance, I can remember stroller shopping and having only 1 or 2 choices in a given price range – if you didn’t like the fabric, you were just out of luck! Now, with the huge selection, there is truly something for everybody.

Oh and the registry – that would have been great for baby products! We registered for our wedding, but baby registries didn’t exist. I like the idea of – hey- if you’re going to buy me a car seat, I like this one!

What are you most excited about in coming to Newell Rubbermaid/Graco Children’s Products?

I think one of the things that excites me the most is the strength of the Graco brand name. When people ask me where I’m working now and I tell them I am working on the Graco brand, there isn’t one parent who doesn’t have a story about their experience with at least one Graco product.

With the strength of the Graco brand name, combined with quality products, there is almost no limit to what we can do as a company. This growth potential is particularly exciting when you look at the opportunities outside of the U.S.

After being at Procter and Gamble for over 25 years and spending a majority of that time, working on the Baby Care business, what will you bring to the Graco business?

Within the baby products industry, and it’s true for the brands I worked on at P&G, there is such consumer interest in the products we work on. Sometimes the consumer will love you and sometimes they’ll be mad at you, but they will always care. That kind of passion is what I enjoy being a part of. Reaching moms and moms-to-be, listening to their needs, developing products that makes their lives easier, building brands…all that was as critical in P&G’s Baby Care business (Pampers and Luvs) as it is at Graco.

The other thing that’s very important to me, both personally and professionally, are the corporate values and culture. Newell Rubbermaid’s drive to deliver best-in-class results by developing our people and building “Brands that Matter” is something I believe in and will certainly help drive.
 

As a father of 3, 2 in college and one getting ready to head-off, what advice can you give to new parents just getting started on their parenting journey?

“Enjoy it while it lasts!” Actually, I don’t think I have any incredible insight to share with parents, but the one thing I’m recognizing now is that all of the time and effort that my wife and I put into parenting when our children were young, is paying back ten-fold now. Just spending quality time with your young children, pays huge dividends – it’s a far better use of time than reading a “how-to” book on parenting, in terms of the relationship you will build with them.

And I think for 1st time expectant parents, it’s really just recognizing that while having a new baby is obviously a life-changing event (and it’s one for which most of us feel totally unqualified!), you will do fine…millions and millions of us have gotten through it. You will too.

Welcome to the family, Doug!
 

 

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3 Responses to “An Interview with the President (of Graco, that is)”

  1. Stephanie May 16, 2008 at 11:56 pm #

    Excellent interview! It was interesting to hear some thoughts from the president.

    I especially love the part where he talks about how “spending quality time with your young children pays huge dividends.” Time is such a precious gift. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. The Ballenger Family June 28, 2008 at 10:13 pm #

    Great interview with Doug McGraw ! We enjoyed the interview with your new President. We are sure that his experience with Proctor & Gamble will lend a great deal to Graco because he seems to have a great passion for customer satisfaction through his own experience as a father, a connection that is special and real. We wish you the best of luck as you lead Graco into the future.
    Sincerely,
    The Ballenger Family
    Holliston, Massachusetts

  3. Rich Beck September 17, 2008 at 9:24 pm #

    Congrats on getting Doug as your Prez. Having known him for 33 years since our days together at Duke, I can say he’s a great guy, and his wife, MaryAnn is a great “gal”. I am sure he will do a great job at Graco.

    Doug congrats to you!

    The Beck’s
    Houston, Texas

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