Frank Blake addresses Virginia Commonwealth University

Home Depot chairman and CEO Frank Blake addressed the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business on Oct. 25, joined by his son, Home Depot district manager Frank Blake Jr., who also serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Business' Executive M.B.A. Program. The senior Blake spoke as part of the business speaker series at the Charles G. Thalhimer Family Executive-in-Residence program.

Blake talked about the steps to building a workplace culture, using Home Depot as an example. He touched on the now-familiar model of the inverted pyramid, where customers sit at the top, above front-line employees and then field support and the corporate office. The CEO’s office is the foundation -- and the bottom level -- of the pyramid.

Prior to become the home improvement retailer’s top executive, Blake previously served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and prior to that, he worked in a variety of executive roles at General Electric. His public sector experience also includes having served as general counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), deputy counsel to Vice President George Bush and law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.