Founder of Ashley Furniture to receive prestigious award

The founder and chairman of the board of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., Ronald G. Wanek, is being honored with the 2020 Horatio Alger Award.

The award comes from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a non-profit organization that recognizes the achievements of outstanding individuals, and encourages students to pursue their dreams through higher education.

Wanek and 13 other business, civic, and cultural leaders across North America are receiving honors for overcoming obstacles, and remaining committed to higher education and their community.

Wanek grew up watching his grandfather and great uncle build furniture, which inspired his career.

After high school, he went into the workforce as a laborer at the Winona Industries factory.

In the early 70’s, he and a group of investors formed Arcadia Furniture Corporation, which later merged with Ashley Furniture, becoming Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., now the largest furniture manufacturer in the world.

Wanek and his wife, Joyce, established the Ronald and Joyce Foundation in 1988, which provides funding to education, the arts, medicine, and other causes.

His strong leadership, philanthropic contributions, and personal experiences, are why he’s receiving this award.

“I understand the important role education plays in changing the trajectory of one’s life, but I also know what it feels like to not be able to attend college due to rising costs,” said Mr. Wanek. “To be inducted into an organization that works tirelessly to support thousands of young people each year, lessening the financial burden of obtaining a degree, is a true honor. The mission of the Horatio Alger Association is a critical one, and I look forward to helping to advance it.”

A formal induction into the Association for Wanek and the Member Class of 2020 will be held April 24th, 2020.

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