Alumnus Leads 100 Year Old Company
Huntley Uses Degree To Further Family Business, Patent Oven
BGSU Firelands alumnus Bryan Huntley is no stranger to manufacturing, he has worked in the family business, Peerless Stove and Manufacturing Company in Sandusky, since he was 15 years old. More than 40 years later, he is still with the family business and is now the owner and president.
Huntley attended BGSU Firelands in the late 70s and, similar to his high school days, continued to work at Peerless while gaining his college degree. He felt it was beneficial to work and go to school simultaneously. “The experience allowed me to immediately apply at Peerless the concepts and practices I was learning in my college classes,” said Huntley.
Huntley has fond memories of life at BGSU Firelands where he studied, played intramural sports, and developed lifelong friendships. He gives credit to many faculty and staff for helping him to find his career path, but singled out former applied science faculty member Esther Walden for inspiring him to pursue a career in the family business.
“She was the first person to recognize and acknowledge my skills. She said I had a gift for science and it was very encouraging,” said Huntley.
Huntley earned his Associate Degree in Applied Business in 1977 and then turned his attention to advancing the family business.
Peerless Stove and Manufacturing Company was founded in 1904 in Columbus, Ohio, by Frank Beverly. The company, known then as Beverly Peerless, manufactured outdoor BBQ units, infrared rotisseries, and a line of multi-level ovens. The company later added a line of restaurant series ranges and pizza ovens. In 1942, Peerless was relocated to Sandusky and in the late 60s was sold to the Huntley family.
“I’m proud to say that Peerless is a fourth generation family business,” said Huntley.
When Huntley joined the business full-time, his science and business education was immediately beneficial to the company. Working with his father, James Huntley, they jointly patented the design of a high-speed infrared cooker in the early 80s.
“The oven was years ahead of its time and helped revolutionize the cooking industry,” said Huntley, who purchased the company in 1998.
Today, Huntley credits the success of the nearly century old company with keeping ahead of the market and constantly reinventing themselves. Under his leadership, Peerless has grown with new products and an upgraded marketing effort promoting the Peerless brand of appliances. Today, Peerless is an international company with distributors in seven states.
Peerless has experienced and survived many challenges over time, but Bryan has managed to maintain a tradition of producing high quality products at competitive prices.
Huntley still resides in Sandusky and remains active at his alma mater. He is a scholarship fund contributor and is eager to work more closely with students in the classroom. In 2015, Huntley received the 50th Anniversary Award which honored alumni who, through their accomplishments and contributions to the global community, have advanced the goals and image of BGSU Firelands.
Despite many professional and social commitments, Huntley still finds time to enjoy the shores of Lake Erie through sailing. He is an avid and accomplished sailor who races throughout the country and abroad. Yet even in pleasure, the company is never far from his mind – his sailboat is aptly named “InfraRed.”