Mary Grzecki Kaiser Inducted 1996 - Class of 1973
Mary Kaiser is a prime example of a business executive, who worked her way up through the ranks. She used her education and the support of mentors and family members as a springboard to success. Tonight, we recognize Mary’s Success Story.
Mary attended St. Hedwig Elementary School and lived on Mettler Street. At Woodward, she was active in several organizations: Boosters, Junior and Senior Honor Society, Palette Club, Phils, Y-Teens, and the Office Education Club. She was also on the SAGA Staff and served as a Senior Commissioner.
Mary's best friends were Sue Blaze, Patty Czerminski, and Lu Ann Siwajek. She has difficulty singling out any favorite memories. "They were all good! I don't have any bad ones."
Mary remembers Dan Duvendack and Sandy Kruzel as her favorite teachers "because they went
beyond their teaching responsibilities and became friends and mentors. They were always very anxious to see students succeed. They kept pushing and were always accessible to lend support. Recognition and positive reinforcement came regularly from both instructors."
Sandy Kruzel's support continued beyond Mary's years as a student at Woodward. "She kept in touch and encouraged me to get involved in programs, which would allow me to be a role model and mentor for other students."
Education and Family have played major roles in Mary's career achievements. While at Woodward, she prepared herself for her future by majoring in college preparatory courses and vocational education. Her parents’ advocacy of education was a strong influence on Mary's academic achievements. "Our parents never let us forget the importance of education as a building block for our future. We took education very seriously and worked hard to produce good results."
Mary began her business career at Owens Coming as a Co-Op student during her Senior year. She became a full time employee after graduating from WHS. While working full time at Owens Coming, and becoming a mother to four children, she attended The University of Toledo. She met the challenge of a demanding academic schedule and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering in 1985 and a Master's Degree in Business Administration in 1989.
Mary's success in balancing the many demands of family, career, and school paid off. After moving up the ranks at Owens Coming, she was named Vice-President of Engineering in 1995. She oversees the management of the company’s capital assets, globally. Her responsibilities include integrating construction project work across all business operations. In conjunction with her new responsibilities, Mary is in the process of relocating to the Columbus, Ohio, area.
During Mary's impressive 22-year career at Owens Coming, she has held various leadership positions in the engineering, contracting, and manufacturing divisions throughout the United States. She has been the global procurement leader, in the global sourcing department. Working with the worldwide manufacturing organizations, she was responsible for the development and implementation of "best-in-class sourcing management techniques." In addition, Mary's responsibilities included supplier competitive analyses, commodity research techniques, and strategic partnership development.
What leisure time Mary has is spent with her family. She enjoys working out and decorating her home. "My children would correct me if I forgot to mention shopping as a hobby. We also love to spend weekends with family and friends at our Devil's Lake summer cottage.
When it comes to family, I'm extremely fortunate...we have the best! My husband, children, Mom, Dad, sisters, brothers, and in-laws are all wonderful. We have a great time together and have learned the importance of family as a source of friendship, support, and love."
It is not surprising that, when informed of her election to the WHS Hall of Fame, Mary again speaks of her family. "I thought of everyone who made it possible...my husband and children for their love and support...my Dad for his strong will and drive...and my Mom for her wit and charm (hopefully, a little rubbed off)."
In addition to tonight's award, Mary has been recognized by the Ohio Council on Vocational Education. In November, 1995, she was honored by Toledo Public Schools as "The Outstanding Vocational Alumnus."
In nominating Mary for the Woodward High School Hall of Fame, Woodward Business Education teacher Christina Twining Moffat summed it up by saying that "Mary has qualities and goals that are truly exceptional!" We agree. Mary, hats off to you!