Virco Mfg. Corporation
ASBO International Strategic Partner
Virco Mfg. Corporation is America's leading manufacturer and supplier of furniture and equipment to the K–12 market, providing thousands of customers with popular furniture items. Large domestic manufacturing and warehousing facilities in California and Arkansas enable Virco to give you the classroom furniture industry's best combination of products, color choices, and lead times.
Virco's industry-leading resource recovery and recycling program has been repeatedly honored by local, state, and national organizations, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, Virco offers the classroom furniture industry's only Take-Back Program that helps schools recycle their out-of-service furniture.
Committed to providing the best selection of furniture and equipment for educators, Virco is a longtime supporter of the school business profession. Active in ASBO International for more than 50 years, Virco has honored outstanding practices and new ideas in the profession through the Pinnacle Awards, sponsoring the awards program from its inception 15 years ago.
Face to Face with Brian True, Virco Mfg. Corporation
Where there are schools, there is a need for school furniture and equipment. Furnishing schools isn’t cheap and should be considered an investment. School business officials seeking high-quality furniture that reflects innovative thinking from a company that makes customer service its top priority need look no further than Virco.
The company began in 1950 with a single client—Los Angeles Unified School District. Today, Virco is the nation’s largest manufacturer of K–12 school furniture and equipment, and while their products are top of the line, it is their people who make this organization so special.
“You can’t be in business for 64 years if you don’t make a really excellent quality product and offer great customer service,” says Brian True, Virco’s national sales group corporate director. “It’s Business 101.” Brian likens Virco’s culture to that of education, noting that employees who join it are usually dedicated for the long-term. A 27-year veteran of the company, Brian still considers himself somewhat of a newcomer compared to many colleagues.
In his role, Brian manages a team of 66 people, including 50 direct sales individuals. His job is twofold: he tries to see market trends before they become actual trends, communicating new product ideas to the corporation; and he listens to sales reps to provide them with the tools they need to be successful. “This is old-school selling,” Brian says. “But our approach isn’t ‘one and done;’ we are a regular partner down to the school level.”
Brian points out that Virco is a direct-sell model company, which is quite unusual in the furniture industry. “We make it, sell it, and ship it,” he says. And Virco has long been a leader in new product development, starting back in the 1960s when it introduced the first three-slot plastic-shelled chair. It replaced the previous standard of wooden furniture, bringing with it color and comfort, and forever changing the industry.
Virco’s relationship with ASBO International is another marvel. “It’s a partnership that’s almost unheard of,” Brian says, and that’s no exaggeration. The two organizations have been partners for 57 years!
It began with Don Friesz, who started working for Virco early in 1957 and attended his first ASBO International Annual Meeting later that year. In all, Don attended more than 50 consecutive annual meetings, and he wasn’t a passive attendee. He forged a relationship that blossomed in subsequent years. Virco and ASBO eventually collaborated to create the Pinnacle Award, which Virco has sponsored since the award’s inception. “The Pinnacle Award is about the essence of shared practices,” Brian says. “I am so proud to work with amazing people in the industry of education.”