Retail Observer

October 2017

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM OCTOBER 2017 36 I N M E M O R I U M Surjit Kalsi was born in 1933 in Nairobi, Africa. Though he grew up poor, fatherless, and with all of the disadvantages of having been raised in a poor, farming community, he knew from a young age he would not be a common man, and would never "trade his dignity for a handout." He would make himself a success by the power of his exceptional mind, fearless heart, sheer will, and talent. He believed in education as a key to improving one's lot in life. He was educated in England in chemistry, and hoped to become a doctor. When that dream fell through, he found work in an appliance manufacturing company in London. The year was 1956. As a junior appliance engineer, he invented the first ever pyrolitic self-clean gas oven, a universal burner that ran on all gas types, and the world's first dual-flow burner capable of maintaining a delicate simmer at 140 deg. F. In the early 1970's he left England for India, to found his own appliance manufacturing company (Kalsi Gas Appliances) in Lucknow. After a decade of toiling, dealing with bureaucracy, an undeveloped infrastructure, and shortages of natural gas, oil, and other resources, he left India for the United States to start again. His first job was at Vulcan Hart Appliances in Baltimore, MD, where he worked as an engineer. With his practical mind, he cut waste, improved efficiencies, and helped the company's product lines flourish. He did the same for Garland Appliances in Freeland, PA where he was director of the engineering department. Always distinguishing himself with logical solutions to decades old problems, he found a prestigious position at U.S. Range in Gardena, Cailfornia as vice president of engineering. In 1985, still new to U.S. Range, Mr. Kalsi created the first ever Viking Range and began production of the Viking Professional line of 30", 36" and 48" ranges. In 1988, Mr. Kalsi started his own company and named it DCS, Dynamic Cooking Systems. While there he continued to exemplify his pioneering spirit by creating the world's first high-end, professional stainless steel gas grill, with an infrared rotisserie back burner, and popularized the outdoor patio heater. Through his synergistic approach to business relationships, he secured private label agreements with Thermador, GE Monogram, Jenn-Air Professional, Williams-Sonoma, Cinmar/Frontgate, and others, expanded globally to Brazil, Italy, and Australia. He grew sales to $100 million U.S. and was named by Forbes Magazine as #225 of the Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S., even receiving a congratulatory letter from president Bill Clinton on his amazing success creating jobs for the U.S. economy. In 2000, he sold DCS to a venture capitalist firm who in turn sold it to Fisher/Paykel. In 2005, he joined Capital Cooking Equipment as chairman of the board/CEO and president where he directed the company's product development and introduced the Precision Series ranges and grills, the Culinarian ranges, and the Maestro Series wall ovens and cooktops and BBQs. Mr. Kalsi's influence in the appliance industry spans the globe as companies and consumers everywhere continue to utilize his innovations. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Kitchen and Bath Association's Hall of Fame. In his acceptance speech he said, "Find something you love to do and stick to it. If you work hard and sacrifice, eventually you will succeed. Never give up. Never quit." It is that spirit of persistence, independence of mind, and pursuit of perfection that characterizes Mr. Kalsi as a true legend in the industry, one whose power of influence, creativity, and business acumen will be sorely missed. Mr. Kalsi passed away peacefully in his home on August 6th, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Cailfornia surrounded by his loving family. SURJIT S. KALSI 1933- 2017

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