Remembering Maddak's founder

Friday, January 23, 2015

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bel-Art Products & Maddak Inc. founder Kurt Landsberger on Dec. 19, 2014.

At 93 years, Mr. Landsberger lived a full, productive life, never taking for granted an opportunity to learn, to teach, or to make a difference. A true pioneer in the laboratory industry, Mr. Landsberger built his business through hard work, calculated risk and getting to know his customers. In 1979 he started Bel-Art subsidiary, Maddak Inc., and began manufacturing aids for daily living to assist seniors and those with temporary and permanent disabilities live more independent lives, a cause he was passionate about.

A European immigrant from the turmoil of World War II, Mr. Landsberger made opportunities happen for himself and others, from building businesses that benefited his employees and customers, to contributing philanthropically to education, the environment and the community at large.

Though he officially retired as CEO in 2012, his values continue to be woven into the fabric of our company. We thought it appropriate to share a couple of personal memories about the man and the legacy he built:

• He gave every new employee a three book box set that included a dictionary, thesaurus and punctuation reference book.

• Every day he walked the entire office and production floor greeting everyone by name.

• He had several nicknames, including “Boss,” “KL” and “Mr. Maddak.”

• He was progressive in his thinking regarding many things, including equality and opportunity. He believed everyone deserved a chance to improve themselves—even if they made mistakes along the way.

• Mr. Landsberger was gracious about his success and never took it for granted.

• He was fair.

• Most days he brought his own lunch—in a brown bag.

• Mr. Landsberger and his wife, Anny, started their business at the kitchen table in their home. She designed and sewed aprons and tablecloths. He was in charge of sales.

• Under his guidance, Bel-Art was one of the first U.S. companies to distribute laboratory products to Europe.

• He loved to travel. Anywhere.

• Every employee participated in year-end inventory regardless of their level.

• In the earlier days of Maddak, every business trip involved pulling the “yellow pages” out of the hotel phone book and making personal visits to any and all possible customers in the area.

• He required that there be a library and ping pong table in every building, and a volleyball court outside.

• Management was required to serve at the annual company picnic and ice cream social.