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Will Oberton, CEO of Fastenal, Featured Speaker at Labovitz School

UMD/LSBE Professor for a Day Will Oberton  
Will Oberton

Finding the balance between establishing your career, raising your children, and chasing your personal dreams is the topic of Will Oberton’s presentation at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ (LSBE) Distinguished Speaker Series.

Oberton, CEO of Fastenal, North America’s largest fastener distributor with nearly 2,700 stores worldwide and based in Winona, Minn., will take the stage at LSBE’s Minnesota Power Foundation Room, LSBE 118, on Wed. April 23, at 4:00 pm The event is free and open to the public. However, registration is requested by going to LSBE’s website,

Oberton’s talk will highlight prioritizing the most important things in your work life and personal life. He will discuss the compromises he had to make so that he could achieve the goal of a successful career and being a good father and husband.

“The work-life balance is a struggle for many of us,” said LSBE Dean Amy Hietapelto. “LSBE is fortunate to have Will Oberton share his insights on balancing life’s important aspects. We look forward to hearing how he deals with the challenges of his successful career while juggling his family and personal life, and how these lessons might be implemented in our own lives.”

“National Bank of Commerce is proud to support the LSBE's Spring Distinguished Speaker in our role as a leading locally owned community bank,” said NBC CEO Steve Burgess. “We are thrilled to help bring a speaker of Will Oberton’s caliber to the Twin Ports. I encourage the community to take advantage of hearing about a relevant topic from a veteran leader with a proven track record.”

Over the past 30-plus years, Oberton has risen through the ranks to serve the company in a variety of sales, operational, and management roles, including chief operating officer (March 1997 through December 2002), vice president (March 1997 through June 2000), executive vice president (June 2000 through July 2001), and company president (July 2001 through July 2012). He has been Fastenal’s CEO since December 2002 and a company director since June 1999.

Citing Fastenal’s financial track record, corporate governance, and history of creating shareholder value, leading investment research firm Morningstar named Oberton its CEO of the Year for 2006. He was named the 9th best CEO in the U.S. by Chief Executive magazine in 2010. In October 2013, Oberton was named one of Twin Cities Business Magazine’s Outstanding Directors.

National Bank of Commerce is generously underwriting the 2013-2014 LSBE Distinguished Speaker Series. It is headquartered in downtown Superior and has banks in midtown Superior, Duluth, Hermantown, Poplar, and Solon Springs.        

LSBE, which is celebrating its 40th year, is accredited by the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Less than 5% of business schools worldwide have earned this prestigious distinction. In Northeastern Minnesota, LSBE is the only school to have attained AACSB accreditation. 

Gina Grensing, April 2014


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