The Cattaraugus County Planning Board held its annual leadership conference at the Seneca Allegany Casino Events Center in Salamanca with 120 people in attendance.
James E. Stitt of CUTCO Corporation was the keynote speaker.
Stitt is chairman, CEO and president of the CUTCO Corporation, the largest manufacturer and marketer of high-quality kitchen cutlery and accessories in the United States and Canada. CUTCO, which was formed in 1949, currently has more than 700 employees and is based in Olean.
Vector Marketing is the exclusive marketer of CUTCO products, which are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada by authorized sales representatives. Both CUTCO Cutlery and Vector Marketing are subsidiaries of CUTCO Corporation. Their products include individual kitchen knives, knife block sets, gift sets, kitchen gadgets, cookware, garden tools and sporting knives. They are famous for the CUTCO Forever Guarantee, which states that, "If at any time you are not completely satisfied with the performance of your CUTCO product, we will correct the problem or replace the product."
Stitt's topic for the evening was "A Successful Business and Its Ties to the Community.'' He began by presenting a short video on their manufacturing process from the Travel Channel show "John Ratzenberger's Made in America".
Stitt continued with a detailed timeline of the company's history. CUTCO's philosophy, he said, is centered on a set of core values: ethics in all aspects of the business; opportunities for employees to grow and share in the success of the business; recognition and rewards for dedication; corporate financial strength; outstanding product performance and quality; first-class customer service, and the improvement and well being of the local community.
Stitt continued his talk by emphasizing the importance of entrepreneurship in today's economy. Being a CUTCO sales representative is as much a learning opportunity as it is an earning opportunity.
Each of these sales representatives creates, in effect, a small business. The lessons learned from their experience can then be applied in their careers. Stitt believes that the country's future lies with these entrepreneurs and their ability to create the jobs necessary to drive the economy.