After 41 years, President Gary Chin, Dauphin’s first employee in North America will retire at the end of 2020.
“I have been fortunate to work with a fantastic group of people and they have been the reason why I stayed with the same organization my whole career”, explained Gary. “We get tremendous support from the Dauphin family in Germany—especially from our founder, Friedrich-Wilhelm Dauphin, our New Jersey factory workers, our administrative staff, and of course, our Dauphin sales team and independent sales reps. Special thanks and respect goes to my business partner of the last 27 years, Dauphin CEO, Nick Bayvel. He has helped make the atmosphere and culture at Dauphin a joy to show up and work hard each and every day.”
I will miss the many clients, sales staff and friends that I have met and formed a bond with over the years.
“Needless to say, I will miss the many clients, sales staff and friends that I have met and formed a bond with over the years. It has been wonderful seeing them grow their businesses as well as watching their families grow up. I have learned much about business as well as life from all of them during my many travels. I am eternally grateful for all of their support and especially for their friendship,” he added.
Gary is proud to hand the torch to new President, Matthew Negron. “I am thrilled that Matthew will be taking over. I see quite a bit of myself in his character and thought process. I am highly confident that he will do a wonderful job leading Dauphin for future generations.” Matthew started at Dauphin eight years ago in the engineering department. Since then he has worked in multiple departments, most recently as Regional Manager of the New Jersey/New York sales territory.
Dauphin salutes Gary Chin’s 41-years of leadership
After graduating in 1979 from Boston College with a marketing degree, Gary Chin made an impression on Charvoz-Carsen’s owner, a huge tennis enthusiast, who he met through the owner’s son while playing tennis tournaments in the Boston Area.
Gary soon became the New England sales rep for Charvoz-Carsen, a distributor of drafting equipment and art-based supplies headquartered in Fairfield, N.J. Eventually he transferred to Chicago to handle the Mid-West region of seven states selling to colleges and universities as well as blue print and art stores.
In 1981, Charvoz got the distribution rights for the U.S. and Canada for Dauphin, a German manufacturer of high-end drafting chairs. Gary was extremely excited and drawn to the high-ticket value of the chairs and the opportunity to branch out into the much larger and lucrative segment of office furniture versus the smaller niche market of drafting supplies. He saw the Dauphin chairs as his and Charvoz’s future.
For nine months, Gary focused only on marketing the Dauphin chairs to office furniture dealers, a totally unknown segment to Charvoz. With no sales to show for those efforts, the owner was not happy. However, after the 10th month, sales of the Dauphin chairs came streaming in from the Mid-West.
Now that the owner shared his vision, Gary got the go ahead to start a new furniture division for Charvoz. At age 24, Gary was transferred to the company’s New Jersey headquarters. It took one full year for Gary to hire and train a team of 20 sales people to cover the U.S. market. He traveled up to 10 months of the year with visits to multiple cities on Monday through Thursday on a weekly basis.
In 1983, Charvoz was purchased by Cantel Industries, a New York City based consortium of companies in different sectors including real estate, high-end cosmetics and soaps, toys, art galleries, residential furniture, coffee distribution and a hedge fund. Gary was made President of Charvoz-Dauphin in 1987, at age 30.
In the early 90s, as sales of the Dauphin chairs increased dramatically, sales of the drafting equipment were falling rapidly due to the growth of computerized drafting equipment (CAD). At the same time, the fluctuation of the German Mark made it difficult to import Dauphin products to the U.S. and be competitively priced. Gary reasoned that a Dauphin factory in the U.S. and a company move from a conglomerate unable to fully focus on the contract furniture industry would increase Dauphin’s business.
Friedrich-Wilhelm Dauphin agreed and purchased the North American distribution rights from Cantel Industries in October 1993. Shortly thereafter, the newly named company, Dauphin North America, placed its first factory plant in Boonton, N.J.
Meanwhile in Germany, Dauphin had expanded its line of drafting and ergonomic chairs to include highly contemporary and up-scale seating. Gary realized that Dauphin North America had to change its strategy and focus more on the architecture and design community in addition to its traditional dealer base. Dauphin North America switched to independent multi-line reps making an easier introduction to the A&D community. The mix changed from 25 employee sales reps to 70+ independent reps.
Thanks to Gary Chin’s vision and leadership, Dauphin North America continues to grow and is now Dauphin Americas, serving the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.