CEO of distributing company to speak at Penn State Fayette

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus will host J. D. Ewing, founder and chief executive officer of COE Distributing, at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the Student Center of the Williams Building on campus.

Ewing is the third-generation owner of COE Distributing, a wholesale office furniture company based in Fayette County. After taking over in 1989 as the only employee, Ewing functioned in multiple roles, from answering the phone and making sales to loading trucks and developing marketing campaigns. By 2006, Ewing had grown revenue to $21 million. Today, COE is the largest furniture-only wholesale office furniture distributor in the country with sales in excess of $60 million.

“Most people don't realize the hard work, sacrifice, dedication, sweat and monetary equity required to not only keep the business alive, but to turn it into the success it is today,” said Ewing.

Ewing, a father of four, will give a presentation on his 30 years in business and how he achieves a healthy work-life balance.

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that people are the difference-makers,” he said. “Without their help, support, and love, success is not possible.”

The CEO Conversations series is sponsored by Ford Business Machines. The event is free and open to the public. A student-moderated discussion with Ewing will follow the presentation.