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UPDATED: 3/31/20 - 11:28 a.m.

Lowe's Senior Vice President to Speak at Catawba College

March 29, 2010

Category: Business & Economics, Events

WagnerRobert F. Wagner, Lowe's senior vice president of specialty sales and store operations support, will be the keynote speaker during Catawba College's Ralph W. Ketner School of Business' 5th Distinguished CEO Lecture Series on Thursday, April 8. Wagner, a 1976 Catawba alumnus and a member of the College Board of Trustees since 2007, will offer remarks, entitled "Small College Values in a Big Business World," beginning at 11 a.m. on April 8 in Peeler Crystal Lounge of the Robertson College-Community Center on campus.

Although the event is free and open to the public, those planning to attend are asked to register with Cecilia Stach in the Ketner School of Business by calling (704) 637-4405 or through e-mail at A question and answer period will follow Wagner's lecture and refreshments will be offered at the conclusion of the event.

Wagner, a native of Mocksville, earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Catawba and began his career with Lowe's in 1977 as an office credit manager in a store. Thereafter, he worked as a store manager, district manager and regional vice president for Lowe's stores in the Pacific Northwest region, helping lead the company's expansion to the West Coast in 2000. He has served a senior vice president for operations for the West Division and for the South Central Division. Wagner was named to his current position in September 2009. In this new role, he is responsible for store delivery, fleet operations and credit.

The North Carolina-based Lowe's was founded in 1946, after Carl Buchan, part owner of the North Wilkesboro Hardware Company, envisioned creating a chain of hardware stores. Buchan later bought-out his brother-in-law and partner, James Lowe, and began concentrating on selling only hardware, appliances and hard-to-find building materials in a post-World War II market. It was during this time that Lowe's established its reputation for low prices by eliminating wholesalers and dealing directly with manufacturers. As sales grew, additional Lowe's stores opened in neighboring towns in western North Carolina.

LowesToday, Lowe's is the second largest home improvement retailer worldwide and the seventh largest retailer in the United States. The company went public in 1961 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979 (NYSE: LOW). In 2008, Lowe's was ranked 47th on the Fortune 500 list. It opened its first stores in Canada in December 2007 and opened its first stores in Mexico in February 2010. For more information on the company, visit or

Wagner makes his home in Mooresville with his wife, Marilyn. The couple has two adult sons, Franklin and Aaron.

Wagner's remarks at Catawba mark the fifth such event in the Distinguished CEO Lecture Series. Prior speakers have included Louis DeJoy, chief executive officer of New Breed Logistics, Inc.; Jeffrey Kane, former senior vice president in charge of the Charlotte office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Bob Ingram, vice chairman pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline; and Ellen Ruff, then president of Duke Energy – Carolinas.

Thanks to the following companies and individuals who are sponsoring the reception following the lecture:

  • Cheerwine
  • ;
  • Mr. Ralph W. Ketner
  • ;
  • Dr. Charles Muse
  • ;
  • Square D/Schneider Electric

Special Thanks
This CEO Lecture is funded in part by the Thomas S. Carroll Executive Symposium Endowment.




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