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Long-Time Head Of Training For Kingsdown Retires

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Tom McLean and Craig Wilson

It was 1969, and Tom McLean had just finished a tour with the U.S. Marine Corps and was back home mulling the next chapter in his life. Splitting his time between running a local family landscape business and managing a restaurant, a friend and mentor suggested he apply for a trainee position at Kingsdown. More than four decades later, McLean announced his retirement after an illustrious career that took him to the top tier of management at one of the world’s largest sleep products organizations, saw him become a leader in the industry, and take responsibility for changing the way bedding is sold in the United States.

McLean’s most recent position was executive vice president of the Top 10 bedding producer, and head of sales training. McLean will remain a member of the Kingsdown Board of Directors. He will be passing the torch to Craig Wilson, vice president of training, who joined the company last year after serving in a similar capacity at Simmons for many years.

“I am most proud of changing the way our company and industry sells sleep,” said McLean. “When Kingsdown created the Sleep To Live Institute, it was a game changer for our industry and our retailers. When you help a retailer understand the importance of selling the sleep experience, not only a mattress, you are helping them improve their business, create a closer bond between them and their customers, and help their customers get a better and more restorative night’s sleep. I really loved the fact I could help so many people all these years.”

According to Kingsdown Chairman and CEO Eric Hinshaw, McLean is credited with helping the company grow from a regional to international brand.

“Tom has made important contributions to our company at every step of his career. He was a dynamic sales representative and manager, and then took that field knowledge to lead our corporate marketing to new levels of professionalism,” he said. “He also played a critical role in our international expansion, for which we will always be grateful. But I think Tom will best be remembered in our company for his passion in delivering sales training and education to our retailers this past decade, and helping them improve sales and deliver a more meaningful customer experience. He embraced the science of sleep messages through our Sleep To Live Institute, which had a hugely positive impact at the retail level.”

In addition to his recognition at Kingsdown, McLean was very active in the International Sleep Products Association. He served on the Better Sleep Council for 17 years, serving as it chairman for 12 years. He also played important roles on the Consumer Products Safety Council and the Product Safety Committee studying industry standards for flammability. He was honored with the industry’s Russell Abolt Service Award, its highest recognition for an industry executive.Over the past year, McLean has worked closely with Wilson who joined the company to assume the role of chief training officer.

Wilson has extensive sleep products industry experience having worked on Simmons for 15 years, where his last position was vice president of sales and training development. Previously, he had been a sales representative and regional sales vice president for the company.

“When we looked within the industry for someone to fill Tom’s shows, we were keenly aware of the cliché that we needed someone respected and accomplished. I believe we found that person in Craig,” said Kingsdown Executive Vice President of Sales Kevin Damewood. “Moreover, because Tom gave us time in this transition, he and Craig were able to spend important time together so there would be no departure from the high standards and practices we have developed as a company.”

Kingsdown, Inc. founded in 1904 and headquartered in Mebane, North Carolina, USA is a manufacturer of premium mattress systems serving leading retailers across the United States and in more than 20 countries.  Each product is manufactured using handcrafted techniques combined with state‐of‐the‐art research, materials and equipment.

Research and development, training and distribution facilities, as well as two manufacturing facilities, are also headquartered in Mebane.  International offices are located in Bangkok, Thailand, and Tokyo, Japan. Additional manufacturing and distribution centers are located in Winchester, VA; Muskogee, OK; Lakeland, FL; Stockton, CA; Toronto,  Calgary, and Vancouver, Canada; Derby, United Kingdom; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Istanbul, Turkey; Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Australia. For more information, visit www.kingsdown.com.

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