E. C. Kitzel and Sons 
Intermediate level
Theme: Redefine Enterprise Excellence

How a 96-year-old company re-invented itself

Culture, leadership and succession


Practitioner Presentation
Thursday, Nov. 2 Location Code
9:30am-10:15am Huntington Convention Center ThS/43



This content will not be available on-demand.

Hear from the current owner and new owner/successor of 96-year-old E. C. Kitzel and Sons in this practitioner presentation on leadership, succession, employee engagement and a recovery of the health of the business.


This is a story about leadership. It starts with some pain points, has a lot of hard work in the middle and has a happy ending. Together the owners of E. C. Kitzel and Sons will walk you through the path to responsible transition, how they utilized kaizen to reclaim morale and performance and how they cast the culture beyond its first century of operation. Presenters will share lessons they've learned, pose provocative questions and highlight innovative tools.


E. C. Kitzel and Sons was founded in 1927 by Edward Carl Kitzel, a master toolmaker. Since that time, the company has earned an international reputation for manufacturing top-quality precision super abrasive cutting tools. This combination of craftsmanship and modern manufacturing techniques has enabled the company to provide made-to-print tooling designed to fill a variety of demanding ferrous and non-ferrous applications for its customers. The company exports specialty tooling all over the world. www.kitzel.com


Miguel Lugo is the chief operating officer at E. C. Kitzel and Sons. Lugo is no stranger to manufacturing, having spent eighteen years at a local metal stamping plant with nine years as a manager and a member of the company’s senior leadership team. Lugo started his career in manufacturing as a general laborer and quickly moved into operating and setting up automatic stamping presses. He has held positions such as production scheduler/supervisor, plant manager and toolroom manager. In January 2022, Lugo decided to pursue his dream of entrepreneurship. Lugo joined E. C. Kitzel and Sons as a partner and successor to the current president Tom Schumann. 

Tom Schumann is president and owner of E. C. Kitzel and Sons, a 96-year-old Cleveland area manufacturer of industrial cutting tools that supplies tooling to the automotive, aerospace, small appliance, specialty materials and oil and gas industries. Schumann started his career with the company in 1984 as its sales manager. He soon realized that there was a great opportunity to expand the company’s product offering and diversify its customer base. He took over as general manager and purchased an interest in the company when the first of the two founders' grandsons retired from the business in 2000. Schumann purchased the balance of the company when the second grandson passed away suddenly in 2014. Schumann has continued to grow the company and develop new markets for the tooling. He is actively involved in workforce programs in Northeastern Ohio, including being a long-time board member of Manufacturing Works, a manufacturing membership-based organization that serves the needs of small to mid-size companies. Schumann is also on the manufacturing sector partnership leadership team in Cuyahoga County and the board chair of the Friends of Max Hayes, the only career tech high school in the city of Cleveland.