International Home Furnishings Industry Spirit of Life Honorees

Nathan Cressman - Magnussen Furniture

Nathan Cressman began his career at Magnussen Home nearly 25 years ago. Born and raised in Ontario, home to Magnussen Home headquarters, Cressman grew up with and eventually married the granddaughter of Magnussen Home founder Ingwer Magnussen.
 
Cressman originally joined the company as product development manager in 1997. Eager to learn the business from every angle, he and his family relocated to the Philippines, where he spent two years immersing himself in all aspects of the company before moving to the U.S.
 
Time abroad allowed Cressman to hone his adaptable nature, strengthening his ability to navigate and maneuver through change. Cressman became president of the company in 2012 before finally accepting the title of president & CEO in 2017.
 
In his chief position at Magnussen, Cressman’s passions for leadership and people shine their brightest.
Well-known for being deeply hands-on in the company's operations, Cressman also understands the value of providing space for individuals to channel their strengths. He attributes this community to Magnussen's success and the company's ability to embrace new challenges and discover new solutions.
 
The son of a cancer survivor, Cressman’s connection to City of Hope is inspired by both personal experience and a devotion to making a difference in people’s lives. Much like City of Hope, Nathan believes in the power of foresight, or the ability to recognize what actions can be taken today that will lead to a better tomorrow. 
A father of two, both attendees at Auburn University, he enjoys a quiet family life in Greensboro with his wife Lisa and their beloved long-haired dachshund, Louis.
 

Andrew Koenig - CITY Furniture

Andrew Koenig graduated with degrees in Finance and Accounting from Elon University in 2005 and received his MBA in Entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern University – Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Andrew began his full-time career with CITY Furniture in January 2006 in the Receiving Department unloading furniture on containers, and has worked his way up through the company and in almost all divisions of the company. He spent a significant time streamlining the Operations Department in the first 8 years of his career to become one of the industry’s best. Currently, Andrew is serving as CEO of CITY Furniture, overseeing all departments of the business.
 
Shortly before joining CITY Furniture, Andrew studied Lean Philosophy at Toyota’s headquarters in Toyota City, Japan. After learning from Toyota and other Lean companies in the United States and abroad, Andrew introduced Lean Thinking to CITY Furniture in 2007. Ever since, CITY Furniture has been on a Lean Journey to create a culture of mutual trust and respect, teamwork and a deep sense of urgency to continuously improve. Since the implementation of Lean, the company has seen many major breakthroughs in turnover reduction, operational process improvement, customer experience, safety, associate satisfaction, strategic planning, financial success and much more. The journey is never over and Andrew & Sr. Team are working very hard to implement Lean Thinking throughout the company which is now been renamed as “The City Furniture Operating System (CFOS).”
 
Andrew is extremely lucky to have 1 amazing wife Deana (who he met during his MBA) and 3 beautiful kids (Aaron 6, Daya 5, & Christian 4). Andrew is the son of Keith Koenig & nephew to Kevin Koenig, the founders of Waterbed City in 1971 which ultimately converted to City Furniture in 1994.
 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Roger Friesen - Palliser

A native of California, Roger D. Friesen has combined a career in international business with a passion for humanitarian work.
 
The son of missionary parents in Latin America, Roger spent his childhood in Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador. After graduating from Fresno Pacific University with a major in Business Administration, Spanish and Philosophy, he returned to Colombia with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), establishing an early micro-financing model to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in Colombia and Panama – cementing his belief that business can, and must, drive a community’s well being.
 
Returning to Fresno Pacific University as Director of Development, he drove recruitment and established an innovative fund-raising program to solidify the university’s constituent support. After relocating to Canada in 1979, he led marketing for Palliser Furniture, expanding sales into the US market, and later helped reposition the company to compete with the Asian import segment. His work with mega-brand Universal Furniture played a role in its sale to China’s largest furniture manufacturer and exporter.
 
Roger founded and led Casana Furniture; a leading importer of contemporary wood home furnishings, with operations in Winnipeg, Vietnam and Indonesia. Following the sale to Palliser Funiture Ltd., in 2017 he remained working as Palliser’s Chief Revenue Officer, responsible for sales, marketing and brand channel development, where he remains today.
 
Over his career, Roger has been both a strategic thinker and a change agent. His successes can be attributed to his ability to define and implement a viable business model based on market realities, and to maintain a clear focus on priorities.
 
Roger’s passion for business development has run parallel to his interest in a range of philanthropic causes. Having focused efforts and raised awareness – in addition to millions of dollars – for educational, medical and developmental enterprises, he’s a sought-after advisor. He has served as Board Co-Chair for the International Home Furnishings Industry Chapter of City of Hope (a leading research hospital for cancer and diabetes in Duarte, CA) and continues to serve on its Board; Board Chair for Ten Thousand Villages, where he recently led the retailer’s successful turn-around; Board and Executive Committee Member for the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame; and Premier’s Economic Advisory Council for the Province of Manitoba. He has served on boards for Palliser Furniture Holdings Ltd, LCC International University based in Lithuania and currently serves on the Home Furnishings Chapter of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) in New York.