Chris manages the production side of UCU and has a long history in the marine industry. Already established as a Master Upholsterer, Chris entered the marine industry in 1997 when she went to work for a pontoon manufacturer as the manager of their upholstery department. It was there that she learned that she had a knack for designing attractive marine furniture that was production line friendly – furniture that could be produced at a reasonable cost that didn’t require a workforce consisting of other master upholsterers. During that time she was also was exposed to the unique nuances required by the marine industry, including the construction and color selection of marine furniture.
In 2000 Chris decided to take her skills to a broader market and struck out on her own to establish United Commercial Upholstery Inc. The initial focus of UCU was to work as a design consultant within the marine industry by working directly with individual manufacturers, designing furniture and going onsite to train upholsterers and sewers, do pattern correction, and assist in forecasting upcoming industry trends. After time the focus of UCU shifted to production, and the products that UCU produced grew outside of the marine industry and expanded to include seating for the golf market, children’s furniture, RV seating, athletic equipment, and the many other products and services that UCU offers today.
Phil takes care of the “front end” of UCU, or the business administration. Phil graduated from St. Olaf College in 1985 with a degree in Economics and returned to New Ulm to start Printwear Graphics (a printing business) with his brother. During this time he went back to school for CPA classes and took on the role of Controller for a multi-line GM dealership for 2 years. Following that Phil also worked as a tax accountant and consultant to small businesses, helping them to computerize and establish modern accounting systems. When UCU started in 2000 Phil ran the front end by working evenings and weekends, sending out invoices, running payables, payroll, and compiling financial statements. By 2007 it became clear that UCU was growing to a point that it needed more of Phil’s attention and he sold his interest in Printwear Graphics to join UCU full time.