Quality Across the Board

Tab 1


At this very moment, you are most likely within 50 feet of hundreds of products that Bob Carlson produces. The check valve in your faucet; the seal rings in your cars’ transmission; the spatula in your kitchen drawer; the insulin injector in your medicine cabinet. Each complex rubber, plastic, or silicone component meticulously designed and crafted so that you don’t have to think about them.

 

“In our corporation we make components that couldhave serious ramifications on people’s lives if they’re not done right the first time—whether it’s a broken gas valve or a malfunctioning medical device,” says Bob Carlson, Chairman of the Board of Quadion Corporation, parent company of Minnesota Rubber & Plastics. Founded in 1946

by Bob’s grandfather, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics now produces hundreds of thousands of products in eight manufacturing and distribution centers across the globe, from China to France.

 

“In this business we go to great lengths to ensure quality.” The client of The Private Client Reserve uses that same approach to Woody’s Grille, which he owns, and the 21 Minnesota locations of Davanni’s Pizza & Hot Hoagies, which he co-owns.

 

Armed with energy and obsessed with quality across the board, Bob approaches his professional and personal life with overarching mantras: “Attitude is everything;” “There is no idea without merit;” and “Use your good judgment in all situations” are just a few. “The only guarantee we have in life is that there’s going to be change; it’s how you handle change that counts,” says Bob, who in 1999 transformed his company, which at that time was primarily producing automotive parts, by venturing into new industries such as medical devices and household consumer products. In fact, he keeps a glass vase full of spatulas of different shapes and sizes in his office as a reminder to always think outside of the box—something he hardly needs to be reminded of.

Tab 2


Walking through Quadion’s Minneapolis, Minnesota headquarters, from the sales offices through the research and development and engineering labs, is like getting a private tour of the magical chocolate factory from Willy Wonka himself. Bob’s enthusiasm for the new line of recently launched, and seemingly indestructible, dog toys, for example, is palpable—his eyes light up and he makes you believe that anything in the world is attainable through hard work and innovative thinking.

 

Bob runs his businesses the same way he lives his life. It seems only natural, then, that the devoted grandfather and family man spends much of his time mentoring others, from executives and entrepreneurs to actors and police officers.

 

“I get a lot of personal joy and satisfaction fromhelping people articulate their goals and achievethem,” says Bob, who, along with his wife Virginia, is also heavily involved with various charities and local institutions, such as Minneapolis’s Dunwoody College of Technology, to which the Carlsons have contributed for more than 20 years. Splitting their time between Minnesota and Naples, Florida, Boband Virginia’s interests and philanthropic passionsare far reaching—from co-chairing the USGA’s Women’s Open at Interlachen

Country Club to raising funds for and supporting The Children’s Museum of Naples in Florida.

 

With so many balls in the air at any given time, the last thing Bob and Virginia want is to lose sleep over their financial affairs. “My family has banked with U.S. Bank for more than 60 years,” Bob says, adding that his father was on the Board of Directors for First National Bank, which is now U.S. Bank, and that Virginia’s very first savings account was with U.S. Bank. “So many banks tend to give you an umbrella for a rainy day only to take it away when it rains. Not so with U.S. Bank. When it has rained with various economic corrections, U.S. Bank left our umbrella intact and worked with us through that difficult time.”

 

The philanthropic goals of the Carlson family are being guided by the enthusiasm and optimism of chairman Bob Carlson; and The Private Client Reserve team and others throughout U.S. Bank are helping the family reach those goals.

 

“On both the personal and the business side, U.S. Bank passes what I call the sleep test,” says Bob, who works closely with Kim DeBaere in The Private Client Reserve and Chris Schaaf in Corporate Banking. “I sleep without worries, because I know I’m in capable and competent hands.”

 

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