Fred Keller is the Founder and Chair of Cascade Engineering, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Fred started Cascade in 1973 with a belief that he could have a successful business while creating a culture where people enjoyed coming to work and were treated with dignity and respect. Fred began molding plastic parts with six employees in a 10,000 square foot building. Today Cascade Engineering employs over a 1000 people in Michigan and Budapest, Hungary.
The Cascade Engineering Family of Companies serves diverse markets including recycling and waste containers, automotive, office furniture, agricultural/industrial containers, polymer compounding, and RFID technology integration. Cascade is primarily focused on injection molding of large plastic parts and the supporting design and engineering required to provide excellent quality and reliability. Cascade Engineering is a “Triple Bottom Line” company, and has been a certified “B” Corp since 2010 just a few short years after that designation became possible. Cascade Engineering is now also a certified Woman Owned Business as Fred has passed the reins of control to his 3 daughters with Christina serving as overall CEO of the family of Companies. Fred believes that business has the unique opportunity to complement its efforts on financial performance with important work in the social and environmental arenas. He has emphasized the key role business can play in building financial, social and ecological capital,
often through partnerships with government and community agencies. His innovative management approach and work in advancing sustainability are featured regularly in business and industry publications. For 17 years Fred was a Sr. visiting lecturer at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, is an Emeritus Executive-in-Residence at the University of Michigan’s – Center for Positive Organizations – Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He was formerly the board chair of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council and for 14 years served on the Board of Trustees for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation serving 2 years as chair. Fred is currently a trustee for the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and serves on five corporate boards including 2 startups. Fred is actively involved in many community organizations and change initiatives including the co-founder and chair Emeritus of TalentFirst, a 150 CEO membership organization that serves as a catalyst for the development of an integrated talent system to meet employer needs throughout 13 West Michigan counties. He also was previously co-founder and chair of K-Connect, a Kent County collective impact and systems change collaborative. A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Keller earned a B.S. in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and an M.S. in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.