Symbol Mattress Focuses on Continuous Improvement With Newly Created Position

Gordon Blackwell photo - Symbol 2016Symbol Mattress has appointed engineering veteran Gordon Blackwell to the newly created position of Vice President of Continuous Improvement, reporting to both Ron Clevenger, Company President, and Mike McQuiston, Executive Vice President.

In the new post, Blackwell will be responsible for identifying, analyzing and implementing changes to Symbol’s quality assurance procedures, safety standards, facilities management, material and production flows, and lean manufacturing practices.

Blackwell will relocate from North Carolina to Symbol’s corporate office in Richmond and will assume his new responsibilities on Feb. 1.

“We’ve been growing very rapidly and to keep moving forward, it was time to broaden our executive management team,” explained Clevenger. “The rapid changes in our business and industry demand that we seek new and better ways to improve.

“Gordon’s broad background in all aspects of lean manufacturing, quality control, plant safety, robotics, material qualification and plant layout will not only help us improve, but will optimize our performance.”

A Virginia Tech engineering graduate, Blackwell has earned multiple achievement awards and certifications over the years, including Six Sigma status.

Before joining Symbol, he served as Engineering Manager from 2009 to 2015 at LL Building Products, a subsidiary of GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. Before that he was a manufacturing technology associate for Dow Roofing Systems and served as a vice president of operations for Stevens Roofing Systems from 2002 to 2008.

Blackwell also spent 19 years in various divisions of the textile/elastic giant J.P. Stevens, serving as a corporate safety manager, division engineer, plant manager and director of engineering in his last-held position.

“Because we’re looking for fresh insights and concepts, we thought it was important to bring someone to our company who hasn’t worked in the bedding industry,” Clevenger said. “Given Gordon’s impressive background and experience, we believe we’ve found the right person for the job.”

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About Symbol Mattress: Founded in 1962, Symbol Mattress is a Top 12 U.S. bedding producer dedicated to providing quality, comfort and value to retailers and offers a broad spectrum of mattress products at retail price points ranging from promotional to premium. Prominent collections include the company’s Signature and Comfort 4U lines, along with the new Unite series. The company has seven manufacturing locations in Reading, Pa.; Jasper, Ala.; Watertown, Wis.; Orlando, Fla.; Dayville, Conn. and Olive Branch, Miss., along with its factory and corporate headquarters in Richmond, Va.