A CEO's homecoming

May 17, 2021

Business

By Matthew Dewald

Henry Siemon’s first day as president and CEO of the family-owned Siemon Co. on Jan. 1 didn’t go as planned. He came into the office to record a video message for the 800-person company to kick off the new year. Shortly after, he learned a close contact had been exposed to the coronavirus, so he quickly left the factory to begin working remotely. He had been on the job for all of two hours.

Then again, not much about his path to that moment was straightforward either. Although Siemon, ’07, takes over as a fifth-generation leader of the company — which designs and builds the structural cabling used in office buildings, universities, hospitals, data centers, and more — no one in his generation set out to head up the family business.

“There wasn't a ‘Hey, if you'd like to join the company out of college, you're welcome to,’” he said. “That was actually discouraged. There was just this inherent expectation that you should be able to learn and grow outside of the company.”

Siemon followed other pathways after graduation. He consulted in Washington, D.C., earned an MBA at MIT, and then joined Apple’s global supply team. After a few years, he started to realize what he could bring back to the family company.

“I remember talking to one of my uncles who’s our VP of operations about the challenges that he was dealing with at the Siemon Co., and this light-bulb moment happened,” he said. “I realized that they were experiencing the same challenges that we were working on and solving at Apple.”

Just as the Siemon name has been a constant in the company’s 120-year history, so too has it always kept primary manufacturing in Connecticut, even as Siemon has expanded into 45 countries.

“We’re proud of our ability to keep manufacturing in the U.S. even as we’ve expanded our global footprint and capabilities,” he said. “Ultimately, our mission is to help connect the world.”