North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 8, 2010, 2:44 am

Most Influential Leaders: Mark Ihde

Print Friendly Print Friendly    

Share this item

    Most Influential LeadersMark Ihde

    President and CEO,  Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire

    Company address: 651 Yolanda Ave., Santa Rosa 95404

    Phone: 707-523-0550

    Website: www.gire.com

    Staff: 270

    Residence: Santa Rosa

    Professional background: 27 years with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, retiring as the elected Sheriff-Coroner in 1997. Since retirement, have worked as a management consultant and in the title insurance and mortgage industries.

    Education: Sacramento State College, numerous law enforcement management courses, graduate FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Course, POST Law Enforcement Executive Certificate

    Age: 61

    What do you see as the essential role of a leader in the current environment? The necessity to remain optimistic, adaptive and focused. Be constantly questioning how and why your organization conducts its business.

    What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry? A substantially greater demand for our mission of job training and placement services for people with employment barriers, coupled with an increase in shoppers at our thrift retail stores.

    What advice would you give to young emerging leaders? Be driven, collaborative and ethical. Do something you enjoy, and be passionate about what you do. Self-satisfaction is a far greater reward than money.

    What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment? Stay flexible and look for opportunities to move your business in different directions. There are many opportunities for success in this environment if we constantly ask ourselves how our businesses can do things differently and more efficiently.

    How do you think your business will change in the next five years? The demands on our core services of job training and placement will increase, government contract funding will decrease and many of our programs will be in jeopardy. We will be required to continually explore new and creative ways to fund the services we provide.

    What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it? Entering into a business relationship in vineyard management based on the romance of the business and not following my instincts. I knew nothing about the technical aspects of the business and ignored the warning signs of a partnership destined for failure. Fortunately I recognized my error in time to get out with my reputation and most of my finances intact. Lesson: Trust your instincts!

    What is your most memorable business experience? Leading organizations, such as the Sheriff’s Department and Goodwill, in providing increased transparency, adding to improved credibility and higher visibility within the community.

    What is your greatest business success? Increasing financial efficiencies. Cost containment while at the Sheriff’s Department allowed for expansion of services while staying under our annual budget. At Goodwill, financial scrutiny has led to stability and growth.

    What was your toughest business decision? While I have been extremely fortunate to be able to experience other employment opportunities, in particular my job with Goodwill, making the decision to retire as sheriff for health reasons and give up a career that I truly loved was the most difficult business decision I have made.

    What would your friends be surprised to find out about you? I’m actually an introvert and shy away from the spotlight.

    First job: Mowing lawns and picking prunes to pay for the bats I broke at Rincon Valley Little League

    Most admired businessperson outside the company: My late father, who taught me responsibility, integrity, moral obligation and determination

    Current reading: Intellectual: “Uncharitable; How Restraints on Non-Profits Undermine Their Potential,” by Dan Pallotta; Recreational: “Terminal Freeze,” by Lincoln Child

    Most want to meet: Those in our community who give back and improve our quality of life through their generosity of time, expertise and financial contributions

    Stress relievers: Golf, although it’s also sometimes a stress inducer, and reading

    Favorite activities outside work: RV’ing and driving my 1964 GTO convertible

    Copyright © 1988–2015 North Bay Business Journal
    View the policy for linking to website content.

    Print Friendly Print Friendly    



    1. July 21, 2010, 12:44 pm

      by Laughing

      Yes, let’s talk about how great Mark Idhe is…….. Follow these links to see what a wonderful man he is and why he retired from the Sheriff’s Department (really)!



      What advice would Mark Idhe give to young emerging leaders? Blah, blah, blah, blah……Self-satisfaction is a far greater reward than money. (Please laugh with me now)
      This is coming from a man who has a huge pension coming to him from the Sheriff’s Department yet he still takes a six figure salary from Goodwill as CEO while the individuals who bust their asses’ everyday barely make minimum wage and certainly not enough to support their families. Someone who takes pride in their actions as opposed to money would not be accepting a large amount per month car allowance when they already have several vehicles while half of their employees walk to work. A man who cares about his mission also would not create a bogus position for their best friend, paying a VERY GOOD SALARY, while most of the people working and doing the true labor for this company can barely feed their families…….. Congratulations to Mark Idhe.

    2. January 31, 2011, 11:50 pm

      by Christian Vaughn

      Mark Idhe is most influential when lying to his employees about having no money for raises for four years in a row while he, his Vice President Laurie Petta, the Vice President of Accounting and the Vice President of Retail all received raises totaling $80,000 per year, according to public tax records. That is exactly why his workforce is becoming disheartened, losing best places to work in 2010, which is where Mark seems to focus, rather then doing outreach to the community at large as his job requires.

    3. July 27, 2013, 1:56 pm

      by karen mcclellan

      I guess there are really low standards for “most influential people”. I worked @ Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire because I was desperate for employment. It is, by far, the most abusive, hostile, slave labor environment I have ever experienced.

      I am way over 50 yrs. of age, thus certainly not my first job. While they profess to do all these “good deeds” & fly under the cover of a “non-profit” organization, it isn’t reflected in any of their employee practices.

      Basically, they can claim “non-profit”, writing off the massive amounts of money made off of free donations by claiming to balance the profits to “operating expenses”. Obviously, we can figure it’s the CEO’s who can deplete those expenses, certainly not the employee wages. Employees are constantly threatened with write ups for ridiculous issues, 24/7 video surveillance of employees throughout the facilities. Regardless of any excessive amount of inventory &/or limited floor space, they will refuse a homeless person a blanket in the winter.

      Now, through Change.org, I have received a petition regarding their despicable practices regarding disabled employees allowing the organization to pay less than minimum wage, far less, through exploitation of a provision under the Fair Labor Act regarding wages of disabled folks. While not surprised, I am appalled that while professing all the blatant lies they spread in a community – they are just another corporate business where the top executives are sucking the rest of us for all they can get.

      [Comment deleted because of a violation of the Comments Policy.]

      I suppose since Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, we can see how totally stupid & undeserving these titles can be. Check out Change.Org re: Goodwill practices & sign the petition.

    Submit Your Comments


    Required, will not be published

    Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments and Letters Policy. To share this item by email or social media, use the links above.

    Do not use this form to contact people, companies or organizations mentioned in this story. Contact them directly. Private messages left here will be deleted.