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Will Knecht Pennsylvania
Will Knecht

As president of a multimillion-dollar company, Will Knecht has extensive, hands-on experience in the crucial aspects of a successful business including manufacturing, distribution, retail, sales, marketing, information technology and finance. Through his genuine and passionate delivery style, Will weaves together the fascinating, true story about the fire that could have destroyed his business and its people, but instead became a catalyst for new thinking and new opportunities. We are all rocked by setbacks at some point in our lives. Earnest and plainspoken, Will shares how such challenges can become the foundation for future success and greatness, how such dire moments can lead to surprising transformation.

Will Knecht is the President of Wendell August, America's oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923. On March 2010, two days after receiving its largest order ever, a fire destroyed millions of dollars in equipment and materials, their offices and their flagship store. Instead of ceding to the devastation, Wendell August Forge upped its workforce, struck distribution deals with 600 stores nationwide and broke ground on a new facility. While Will Knecht credits divine intervention and a supportive staff and community for his company's revival, he said rising from the ashes challenged him to take Wendell August Forge higher than it had ever been before. "We were forced to rethink how we did business and what we were as a company. We already had a solid foundation of incredible customers and loyal employees, but suddenly we had an absolute blank canvas to paint on," Will says. "Our insurance team told us to prepare to be out of business for nine months. But the team, the community, all of Western Pennsylvania rallied together, and we had the workshop up and going in five days."

Will earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Wake Forest University and served as student body president there from 1987-88. Married to Jennifer, Will and his wife have three children: Jared, Cameron and Claire. Will's outside interests include the Bible, teaching Sunday school, exercising, reading and watching movies. He also has an intense love for products made in the USA (like those from Wendell August!) and champions keeping jobs in America as well as carrying out the tradition of handcrafted excellence.


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  • Beyond Circumstances: How to Keep Positive, Determined & Together - If you've ever experienced setbacks with your business-in or out of your control-Beyond Circumstances reveals how such challenges can become the foundation for future success and greatness. This presentation is rich with concepts, ideas and frameworks to help you on your journey. Featuring Will Knecht's brevity and heart, it reveals how his ideas influenced the day-to-day management of his own company and other organizations in a way few others can match. Surprisingly gentle, yet amazingly powerful, Beyond Circumstances offers bold and transformative ideas for every person, every organization. Constant change is a way of life in the world today; being successful means simultaneously managing the present while planning for the future. This insightful presentation chronicles an inspiring story of history and tradition-and the fire that could have destroyed a business and its people, but instead became a catalyst for new thinking and new opportunities.

  • First Day Mindset - We've all experienced the first day mindset-the excitement, hope and anticipation of a new job. Unfortunately, that passion and excitement often turn quickly to frustration and drudgery. As president of a multimillion-dollar company, Will Knecht understands these challenges and has crafted a presentation that seeks to transform the culture of any organization person by person so that each day carries the enthusiasm and potential of the first. He leaves the audience with practical tools and concepts they can use immediately to improve their workplace as well as themselves and the lives of those around them. Harness the power of First Day Mindset in your own workplace, encouraging your team to jumpstart success in every area of life!

  • People-Centered Leadership - In today's world, instability and uncertainty seem to be more the rule than the exception. Leaders in every walk of life must step up and provide people-centered leadership-where people are the focus, not just part of the process. The people-centered leader passionately communicates the vision and inspires others to top-flight performance in all aspects of life-at home and the office. Will Knecht cultivates his years of business leadership, and his roles as a husband and father, to challenge and stimulate all audience members to recognize their God-given leadership potential and create a people-centered future.

  • The Service Center - Organizations across the globe talk frequently about the importance of customer service, but for far too many it's more lip service than core competency. Will Knecht believes customer service begins inside an organization and can truly be best measured by how fellow employees serve each other. This interactive presentation empowers all audience members to take ownership of the service they can provide each other. Such a cultural shift will propel any organization toward the achievement of its goals-and any individual to the attainment of his or her dreams.

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