Tom Oreck – Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Tom Oreck has earned success through savvy real estate investments and generous donations, while simultaneously building his company into one of the premier manufacturers of home cleaning products.
Oreck was widely recognized for providing temporary generators and trailers to Long Beach workers immediately following Hurricane Katrina, helping people quickly return to work. They were even honored as local heroes for quickly returning people back into employment.
Early Life and Education
Tom Oreck is an extremely successful entrepreneur, businessman, and generous philanthropist. He built his fortune by marketing household cleaning products and appliances; making smart real estate investments; as well as frequently lecturing about premium branding.
He founded the Oreck Corporation, which manufactures vacuum cleaners and household goods. Under his guidance, his company pioneered direct mail marketing techniques when traditional wisdom dictated vacuum sales would only occur within showroom walls.
Oreck’s Long Beach plant had reopened just one week after Hurricane Katrina. But 16 months later, they have decided to pull out, citing difficulty finding skilled employees as the reason. Instead, production will now move to Tennessee.
As President/CEO of Oreck Corporation, Tom Oreck has helped shape the home cleaning product industry and made wise real estate investments that have contributed to his net worth. Furthermore, he is known for being generous donors to charitable causes.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Oreck swiftly reopened their factory in Long Beach and was widely applauded as a hero for getting people back to work so quickly. But 16 months later, production has moved out of Long Beach due to lack of sufficient insurance coverage – leaving Long Beach behind and moving production operations back to Tennessee instead.
Oreck’s family is currently trying to acquire the company when it emerges from bankruptcy; however, their bid has been outbid by a private-equity firm which already owns part of it – creating an uncomfortable position for Oreck and his family members.
Achievement and Honors
Once he began selling Oreck vacuum cleaners in New Orleans and Mississippi, he devised national marketing strategies. His World War II experiences deepened his sense of patriotism; these events helped shape Oreck’s commitment to American-made products.
Oreck provided aid during Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of both its corporate headquarters and factory in Long Beach, with managers dispatched to locate employees, secure trailer homes for those without, truck in generators, and restart the plant – something for which it became widely recognized in Long Beach as well. Oreck became widely respected locally for their actions during that difficult period. The company earned accolades and honor from local officials alike.
Oreck sold its company, Royal Appliance Manufacturing, who are known for other power tool and consumer appliance brands such as Ryobi and Milwaukee; however, Oreck employees were hoping that someone could keep its Long Beach facility open and continue producing Oreck vacuums.
Tom Oreck has proven himself an exceptional business leader and philanthropist, pioneering home cleaning with his Oreck Corporation for decades, while making contributions to numerous charitable organizations that have touched many lives. Additionally, his smart real estate investments have increased his net worth.
Oreck’s father, David, launched the company by selling vacuum cleaners directly to consumers instead of through department stores. Today, there are 96 retail outlets and one manufacturing plant located in Cookeville Tennessee.
Oreck bought a 7,800-square foot home near the governor’s mansion for $4.6 million and plans on moving his headquarters and some of the 300 employees of their Tennessee plant into it. Oreck still maintains 96 oreck-branded stores as well as several franchised ones across the US.
Tom Oreck amassed an enormous fortune through his successful career and entrepreneurship, not to mention being an exceptionally generous philanthropist who donated extensively to various charitable causes.
After World War II, Oreck took up sales with RCA wholesale distributors in New York City where he served as general sales manager and helped devise national marketing strategies for TV sets, automatic washers, and Whirlpool appliances.
Oreck was an engaging speaker and author on topics relating to entrepreneurship and premium branding, owning and operating the Security Center in downtown New Orleans while supporting numerous philanthropic causes. He is survived by his wife Jan Gurlinghouse Oreck, sons Thomas and Bruce Oreck as well as seven grandchildren – as well as Daisy his dog!