Rich Hlava '75


A perpetual learner, Rich Hlava ’75 has been a devoted and hardworking leader in Corporate America for more than 40 years. 

Drawing from all of his personal and professional experiences, Rich has served the past four years as Chief Operating Officer for the Pampered Chef. A Berkshire Hathaway company, Pampered Chef uses the power of cooking to help people create memories and enjoy memories with family and friends by providing distinctive, high-quality products, quick tips and personalized cooking experiences. For seven years prior, he led as the company’s Senior Vice President of Operations.

“We are a leading provider of personalized, inspirational cooking solutions delivered by a community of 40,000 cooking consultants,” Rich says proudly. “Most of these consultants are people who decide to start selling as a side job, become highly successful from it, love it and then continue expanding their business. Helping these individuals reach their goals is so rewarding,” adds Rich.

Previously, Rich worked for Baxter Healthcare for more than 30 years, physically relocating nine times with the company to serve in several different roles. He started in the supply chain organization and worked his way up to Vice President of Staff Operations for the Distribution Business at Baxter. For the next few years, Rich relocated to Canada to serve as the Vice President of Operations for Baxter Canada, Inc. and Source Medical. Rich finished his tenure with Baxter in the Chicagoland area before joining Pampered Chef in 2005. 

At Pampered Chef, he is now responsible for overseeing the company’s supply chain, call center and logistics operations. The volume of customer interactions under his oversight is impressive.  Every day, Rich’s team handles more than 2,000 customer contacts and ships at least 15,000 cases.

Rich graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Lewis University where he was president of the bowling league, a member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, a library student worker, and an avid intramural competitor.

“Lewis provided me with a solid business background,” Rich says. “It offered me social and educational experiences which I have leveraged throughout my professional career.”

Rich has been married to Lewis alumna Jeanine Klaus ’76 for 40 years, and they have three children together who have blessed them with wonderful grandchildren. According to Rich, “Being a grandparent is the single best job I’ve ever had.”

Jeanine very recently retired from the University of Illinois Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she worked as a Family Support and Infant Development Specialist. In his spare time, Rich loves to fish and spend time outdoors with his family at their cabin in Wisconsin and home in Key West.

Always striving to be his best, Rich encourages others to view feedback as a gift. “Sometimes, we tend to get defensive and do not want to hear feedback,” says Rich. “In reality, we cannot improve without it. Listening, learning and adapting can be your greatest keys to professional success.”

July 2016


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