Potsdam High and Clarkson University grad elected to CU board of trustees
Monday, July 14, 2014 - 6:03 am

POTSDAM -- Clarkson graduate Karel K. Czanderna of Dubuque, Iowa, president, chief executive officer and director of Flexsteel Industries, Inc., has been elected to the Clarkson University Board of Trustees.

Czanderna, who graduated from Clarkson in1977, lived in Potsdam with her parents, Alvin W. and Lucile D. Czanderna, from 1964 to 1977. She is a graduate of Potsdam High School. Her father was a Clarkson physics professor from 1964-1978.

Czanderna is the seventh president and CEO of the wood and upholstered furniture company Flexsteel Industries, Inc. Prior to Flexsteel, she was group president of building materials for Owens Corning.

Before joining Owens Corning, Czanderna held various executive management positions, including vice president of the cooking products and outdoor kitchens businesses, and vice president and general manager of KitchenAid at Whirlpool Corporation, where she designed and executed the largest simultaneous all-kitchen product launch in the history of the major appliance industry.

Czanderna also served at Eastman Kodak for 18 years, holding a series of increasingly senior positions, including corporate vice president and GM output systems; corporate vice president and GM portrait photography business; vice president, office imaging and GM supplies business & director of engineering; vice president digital and applied imaging, director digital product quality; and worldwide product service manager, office imaging.

She earned her bachelor of science degree in physics from Clarkson in 1977. She received her Master of Science (1981) and Ph.D. (1984) in materials science and engineering from Cornell University.

Czanderna previously served as a Clarkson trustee from 2002-2012 and was vice chair of the board and interim chair before her last term concluded. She has served on Clarkson University’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Advisory Council.

Czanderna was a director of Career Development Services, served on Cornell and Clarkson University’s Engineering Advisory Councils, and is a sustaining member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women. She has received Clarkson University’s Golden Knight award, Cornell University’s materials science and engineering Distinguished Alumni Award, was named a Rochester Heroine of the 100 Heroines Project, was the first recipient of the Jane Lanphear Legacy Award of the Women’s Forum of Kodak Employees, and is a three-time Rochester Chamber of Commerce Athena Award nominee.

A native New Yorker, she is an Adirondack 46er, having climbed all of the high peaks in the Adirondack Park.

Czanderna lives with her husband, Dan Shirkey (Clarkson Class of 1980), in Dubuque, Iowa.

Also elected trustees were Thomas J. Burns of Falls Church, Va., president and chief executive officer of ENSCO Inc., and 1974 Clarkson graduate Thomas L. Kassouf of Port Washington, Wisc., and Wellesley Island, N.Y., senior vice president of Snap-on Inc. and president of Snap-on Tools Group.