Industry remembers Joseph A Sedlak

Entrepreneur opened one of the earliest consultancies in materials handling and warehousing in 1958.

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On September 9, 2013, Joseph A. Sedlak passed away at the age of 90. His devoted family and all who knew Joe will remember a hardworking, dedicated man who lived life to the fullest. The material handling and logistics community will remember a pioneer of their industry whose contributions are rooted in apparel manufacturing and distribution.

A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Joe was 35 years old when he made the leap to entrepreneur. Initially, he taught industrial engineering courses at Fenn Engineering College (now part of Cleveland State University) and John Carroll University. Employment with leading Cleveland-based manufacturing firms—National Screw and Manufacturing Co., Picker X-Ray, and apparel manufacturer, Bobbie Brooks—contributed to his engineering competence. But it was Joe’s work at Bobbie Brooks where he developed a reputation for innovative garment handling systems and creative warehouse designs. With demands on his design work mounting, he founded Joseph A. Sedlak Management Consultants, Inc. in 1958 and established one of the earliest consultancies in the material handling and warehouse industry.

Success came quickly, aided by his relationship with Rapistan Conveyor, then and now one of the largest and most successful conveyor companies in the world. Joe’s frequent visits to Rapistan and close relationship with its founder helped perfect his understanding of material handling system applications, leading to Joe’s development of high-speed unit sortation systems needed by his firm’s growing client base of cataloguers and specialty retailers. Joe’s industry niche of creating efficiencies within material handling systems and facility designs transformed product flow for vendors to customers from the onset and continues to be a driving force of Sedlak’s ongoing success.

Now in its 55th year, the company is called Sedlak Management Consultants, Inc. and remains privately owned by second-generation family—Joe’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Graves; and sons, Ned Sedlak and Patrick Sedlak. Without question, Sedlak’s growth and evolution of service renderings parallels that of the material handling, logistics and supply chain industries. The owners attribute the company’s longevity and successes to their commitment to embrace and never falter from Joseph Sedlak’s unwavering commitment to family, faith, and profession—three principles, which have always been represented in Sedlak’s logo, that Joe believed were essential for a full, productive life.

Joseph A. Sedlak’s legacy is his vision, leadership and true entrepreneurial spirit.

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