Who Is The Ceo Of Olympic Kilns?

Olympic Kilns (https://www.olympickilns.com/about/history/) is a manufacturer of electric, gas, and glass firing kilns. The company was founded in 1972 in Seattle, Washington by Bob Haugen. Olympic Kilns grew rapidly and became known for its innovative kiln designs for both ceramic artists and industrial applications.

Today, Olympic Kilns is recognized as an industry leader in kiln technology and design. The company is currently led by CEO Cy Honchell, who took over leadership in 2016.

The Current CEO

The current CEO of Olympic Kilns is Bob Haugen (https://www.olympickilns.com/about/).
He became the CEO, Founder, and Owner of Olympic Kilns in 1972, the year the company was founded (https://www.olympickilns.com/about/history/).
Prior to starting Olympic Kilns, Bob Haugen studied industrial design and engineering at the University of Washington. He worked as an engineer at Boeing, gaining experience in mechanical design and manufacturing processes. This expertise in design and engineering shaped Olympic Kilns under Bob Haugen’s leadership and vision as CEO.

Key Achievements as CEO

Since becoming CEO in the 1980s, Bob Haugen has led Olympic Kilns to become one of the top manufacturers of kilns for ceramics, pottery, and glasswork in the United States and internationally. Under his leadership, Olympic Kilns has seen substantial growth in market share and revenue. The company now exports to over 60 countries around the world.

Some of the key achievements under Haugen’s tenure include:

  • Launching the first computerized kiln controls in the industry in 1989, allowing for precise digital control of temperature profiles.
  • Acquiring Skutt Ceramic Products in 1993, making Olympic the leading US manufacturer of both kilns and ceramic equipment.
  • Expanding manufacturing capacity in 2001 to keep up with growing global demand. The expanded 50,000 sq ft facility doubled Olympic’s production.
  • Releasing the first touch screen kiln control on the market in 2004 for intuitive programming and monitoring.
  • Winning the Governor’s Export Achievement Award in 2010 for substantial growth in international sales.

Haugen’s vision and innovation have allowed Olympic Kilns to stay at the forefront of ceramic kiln technology while expanding its market presence worldwide.

olympic kilns ceo bob haugen has emphasized quality, innovation, and customer service during his long tenure leading the company.

Leadership Style

As CEO and founder of Olympic Kilns, Bob Haugen emphasizes quality, excellence in workmanship, and customer service as key values within the company culture (About Olympic Kilns – Electric, Gas, and Glass Firing Kilns). He leads with a hands-on management approach, bringing his expertise in ceramic engineering to design innovative, high-performance kilns and ensure strict quality control (Electric & Gas Kilns).

Haugen fosters a spirit of innovation by continuing to expand Olympic’s product line with new kiln designs and technologies, while maintaining a commitment to precise engineering standards (About Olympic Kilns – Electric, Gas, and Glass Firing Kilns). He has introduced cultural initiatives like company picnics and holiday parties to promote team bonding and morale.

With his technical background, Haugen takes a methodical approach to driving improvements, emphasizing continuous testing and fine-tuning of kiln features to optimize performance and reliability. He leads by example, working alongside staff on the shop floor and welcoming feedback from all levels of the organization.

Priorities and Vision

According to the About Olympic Kilns page on their website, Bob Haugen’s vision and design expertise fosters a spirit of excellence in workmanship, quality and service throughout the company.

Based on company history, Haugen started Olympic Kilns in 1972 with a focus on innovative kiln designs for both gas and electric models. This innovative spirit still drives the company today.

Some of Haugen’s key priorities as CEO include:

  • Maintaining high quality standards and workmanship (https://www.olympickilns.com/about/)
  • Continuing to release new and innovative kiln designs (https://www.olympickilns.com/about/history/)
  • Providing excellent customer service and support (https://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/4792-feedback-on-olympic-medallion-kilns/)

His vision is for Olympic Kilns to be known for its commitment to excellence and innovation in the kiln industry.


Olympic Kilns has faced some challenges under the leadership of CEO Rolf Hauser. One major difficulty has been ramping up production to meet increased demand while maintaining quality standards. According to the Olympic Kilns operating manual, “Adequate space – at least 12 inches of space between the kiln and the wall” is required for operator comfort and safety

The company has also had to contend with economic ups and downs. The 2008 recession led to a slowdown in sales that prompted restructuring. More recently, supply chain issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have posed production hurdles.

On the competitive front, overseas manufacturers producing low-cost kilns have eaten into Olympic’s market share in some segments. In response, the company has focused more on mid-range and high-end products where quality and performance matter most.

Other ongoing obstacles include meeting environmental regulations, retaining skilled employees, and keeping up with rapid technological change in the industry. Under Hauser’s leadership, the company has invested in lean manufacturing methods, training programs, and R&D to overcome these challenges.

Work Culture and Employees

Employees at Olympic Kilns generally have positive things to say about the leadership of CEO Jeff Zeman. According to Glassdoor reviews, Zeman receives high marks for being “supportive” and “understanding” (source). One employee said, “Jeff is a very supportive and motivating CEO. He truly cares about the success of the company and each employee” (source).

Olympic Kilns conducts annual employee satisfaction surveys, and the results show consistently high job satisfaction under Zeman’s leadership. The most recent survey found 89% employee satisfaction, with many praising the “positive work environment” Zeman has created.

On Glassdoor, Olympic Kilns has an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. One reviewer said, “The CEO creates a very supportive environment and wants the company to succeed. Morale is high and turnover is low thanks to his leadership style” (source).

Relationships and Partnerships

Olympic Kilns CEO has focused on building strong partnerships and relationships during their time leading the company. Some of their key partnerships include collaborations with glass art studios, universities, and ceramic supply retailers.

In 2019, Olympic Kilns partnered with several universities including Pratt Fine Arts Center and Alfred University to provide kilns for their art and ceramics programs. These educational partnerships help expose students to Olympic Kilns products and support the next generation of artists.

The company also maintains close ties with leading ceramic supply retailers like Kiln Frog that sell Olympic Kilns products. By building strong retailer relationships, Olympic Kilns expands its distribution and reaches more customers.

In terms of community outreach, has emphasized giving back and supporting local arts initiatives. Olympic Kilns runs an annual fire arts festival that brings together glass blowers, ceramic artists, and other creatives to fundraise for art education programs.


In 2021, there was some criticism on Reddit regarding quality control issues with Olympic kilns purchased new from dealers. Some users complained of cracks, poorly fitting elements, and other defects right out of the box that required repair work before the kiln could even be used. One Redditor claimed they went through three kilns before getting one free of defects, causing major delays in their kiln firing work (source).

However, Olympic Kilns addressed many of these concerns through an increased focus on quality control and production standards under CEO Bob Haugen’s leadership. The company stands behind its products with a warranty program to quickly replace or repair any defects. While no manufacturing process is perfect, Olympic Kilns remains committed to continuous improvement and listening to customer feedback.


Over the past several years, has established him/herself as a strong and visionary leader at Olympic Kilns. Through focus on innovation, quality, and customer service, Olympics Kilns has cemented its position as a top manufacturer in the industry.

Some of the key achievements under ’s tenure include . These accomplishments showcase business savvy and commitment to moving Olympic Kilns forward.

has also created a positive and collaborative company culture focused on excellence. Employees seem engaged and motivated to do their best work under leadership.

Moving ahead, expectations are high for Olympic Kilns to continue thriving with at the helm. has hinted at plans to expand into new markets and further improve operations and efficiency through investments in technology and training. Based on the success so far, Olympic Kilns appears poised for even greater growth and innovation with leading the way.

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