Jerry Chase becomes the new CEO of Orion Industries on May 10, succeeding the retiring John Theisen, the Auburn-based company announced Thursday.
Chase, the former CEO of Bsquare, was chosen as the successor after a three-year transition plan, Orion said in a news release. Orion was looking for a candidate who could continue to grow its successful social enterprise model focused on providing job training and career placement to people with barriers to employment.
“This opportunity came at a time when I was looking to use my skills to benefit others,” Chase said. “At Orion, my experience will be put to use growing their businesses of aerospace manufacturing and contact centers, while having a large impact on the lives and families of the people we train.”
Chase was the former president & CEO of Bsquare, a leading provider of Internet of Things software products and solutions. Previously, he served as CEO at Lantronix and Terayon, where he led both companies through difficult turnaround situations. He is also a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of Harvard Business School.
“It was my duty to ensure Orion’s legacy was in good hands before I retired,” said Theisen, who served 18 years as Orion’s CEO. “Through our extensive search, we found that Jerry’s proven track record, valuable business experience and passion and respect for our social mission, makes him a great fit for the organization.”
Under Theisen’s tenure, Orion has become a leading national model for social enterprise. Theisen came to Orion at a time when the organization was losing money and didn’t have a clear plan. Theisen built two business lines within the organization that fund their social mission: aerospace manufacturing; and contact center services. Their clients include large Fortune 500 clients like Boeing and Microsoft.
Orion uses the business lines as a platform to train individuals with barriers to employment, like poverty and homelessness. The staff works closely with individuals, providing personalized mentorship, job skills, training opportunities and placement in careers that align with their talents.
As a result of its success over the past 10 years, Orion has supported more than 2,300 people in its training programs and placed almost 1,000 individuals into careers. The company has won numerous awards for its quality products.
“Orion is a model for success. John and the Orion team have created a social enterprise that is self-sustaining and wildly impactful. My vision is to protect, grow and replicate this model in other companies and communities while preserving its focus on social impact,” Chase said.