Thomas G. Murdough, Jr. in 1991 founded Step2 Co. – a manufacturer of plastic consumer products for children and home and garden applications – and now serves as its president and CEO.
Twenty-one years earlier he also started Little Tikes Co., which he established in 1970 in a barn with nine employees. The company grew to be one of the top toy manufacturers worldwide, with sales exceeding $270 million by the time he left in 1989. In 1984 he sold Little Tikes to Rubbermaid Inc. (now Newell Rubbermaid Inc.) as a wholly owned subsidiary and continued as its president and general manager until Sept. 1, 1989.
Streetsboro, Ohio-based Step2 ranked as North America's second-largest rotomolder, according to Plastics News data, with sales of about $100 million and approximately 1,000 employees. Only Little Tikes is larger. In addition to its headquarters facility, Step2 has manufacturing facilities in Twinsburg and Perrysville, Ohio; Bakersfield, Calif.; Fort Valley, Ga.; Coleraine, Northern Ireland, and Sanchong, South Korea.
Murdough earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Virginia in 1961, and following graduation, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. In 1965, he joined the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. as a salesman and was promoted to vice president of marketing for Wonder Products, a division of Wilson, in 1968.
He made a run at buying the expansion Cleveland Browns National Football League franchise in 1998 before withdrawing that fall when the price tag soared too high.
Murdough is active in the community, serving on the board of advisors of the Bake McMillan Co. in Stow, Ohio, and the board of trustees of the Akron Children's Hospital Foundation. He is a former director of Universal Electronics Inc. and of the Davey Tree Expert Co. in Kent, Ohio, and is a former trustee of the Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, and of the board of managers of the University of Virginia (1991-97).
The company's Web site is: www.step2.com.