Four generations of family leadership
May 30, 2018
Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. is pleased to announce that on September 4, 2018, Stacey Walthers Naffah will become its fourth President. Current President Phil Walthers will retire from day-to-day operations of the company but will remain Chairman of the Board and be available to work on special projects.
“I couldn’t be more proud and excited to turn over the leadership of Walthers to Stacey,” said Phil Walthers, “She brings an enthusiasm and vision to the company that will continue to support our dedicated customers while helping to bring new people into the hobby.”
“I am excited, and humbled to take the helm and to pursue the opportunities presented by this great family business,” added Stacey. “I’m honored to carry on the legacy of the hard work of those before me. Model Railroading is truly one of the classic and timeless hobbies. It transcends ages from the young child with his or her first train set to the adult hobbyist creating highly detailed worlds in miniature.”
Stacey’s promotion will begin a fourth generation of family leadership at Walthers, which recently celebrated 86 years of serving model railroaders. Founder Wm. K. was succeeded by son Bruce, and Phil succeeded Bruce as President in 1984. Now Stacey will succeed her father.
Stacey is a graduate of Boston College and earned her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she studied best practices in operating multigenerational family businesses and entrepreneurship. Stacey has been with the company for nine years, serving most recently as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She is a past President of the Model Railroad Division of the Hobby Manufacturer’s Association and is the current President of the World’s Greatest Hobby, Inc., a non-profit industry organization which exists to promote the hobby of model railroading.
Phil, who has been with Walthers since 1972, has served as President of Walthers since 1984 and was elected to the HMA’s Model Railroad Hall of Fame in 2010. During his tenure the company has grown to be the nation’s largest exclusive model train distributor and also one of the nation’s leading full-line model railroad manufacturers.
Stacey noted the impact that Phil has had on her career: “I am profoundly grateful for the time I’ve been able to work with my father preparing me for this role, and for his example, his guidance and his stewardship. The impact he has made on our business and on our industry cannot be overstated; the model railroading hobby is better for his thoughtful leadership over the course of his career.”
“Our hobby helps people relax, build, learn and grow. In an age when so many things are virtual, it’s a real, tangible, experience, and through it people create real connections in our fast-paced world,” Stacey added. “Our customers have been DIY’ers and makers from day one, and the hobby’s unique combination of technology, creativity, history and connectivity are as relevant as ever.”
Established in 1932, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. is a distributor and direct seller of model trains, accessories, and related items from more than 200 manufacturers. Walthers also manufactures its own branded items for its WalthersProto, WalthersMainline, WalthersTrainline, Cornerstone, SceneMaster, Walthers Controls, and WalthersTrack lines. To view the press release, click here.