It’s a long way from Poland to Passaic, New Jersey. And yet you’d never know it by talking to Krystian Kolano, a guy who’s perfectly at ease in a job he clearly loves at the busy Ethan Allen manufacturing facility just across the river from New York City. Krystian’s journey to America began at age 14 when he moved with his parents and younger brother from their home in Wilcza Wola, a village in southeastern Poland. They settled in Garfield, New Jersey, and while it was worlds away, Krystian found his niche. He made friends, played soccer, and attended high school (where he met his future wife, Agnieszka, whom he married in July). He graduated from Bergen Community College with a degree in accounting, and worked for a moving company until an Ethan Allen help-wanted ad caught his eye. [...]
Blake Lackey’s coworkers have described him as upbeat, courteous, and a “genuinely kind and conscientious young man.” Unsurprisingly, Blake—a product engineering technician at Ethan Allen’s Pine Valley plant in Old Fort, North Carolina—doesn’t take himself too seriously. The work that Blake does is an integral part of the Ethan Allen story. He says he’s a “middleman,” but his role is more complex than that. It’s his job to deconstruct a product idea and plan out its manufacture. “We take a model from the design group at our corporate headquarters and break it into manufactured pieces,” he explains. “We then create the machinery necessary to make those pieces.” Once manufactured, the furniture parts are also assembled at the plant, so Blake and his associates witness the entire process as it unfolds—“from design plan to finished piece.” [...]
Alec Waters is standing in the 30,000-square-foot Ethan Allen photo studio in New Milford, CT, telling secrets: He’s revealing his part in making beautiful rooms come to life. Today, a photographer is shooting down from a loft space, camera fixed on a podium, aimed at a raised platform below, where an area rug lies perfectly flat, under lighting that is perfectly even. Alec explains how they built the platform to facilitate shooting the heavy rugs (and rigged it to fold up against the wall when not in use). Another day. Another problem solved. [...]