GUILDERLAND — He’s a former Marine with leadership skills learned by experience. She’s a UAlbany grad and number cruncher.
Together, the husband and wife are the newly appointed CEO and CFO of a growing furniture business in Guilderland: Inova Bed, which specializes in Murphy beds, those fold-down wall beds that Charlie Chaplin had trouble with in silent films.
“In our generation you grew up and it was like, ‘Okay, go to school to be an accountant or a doctor or a teacher,’ and no one encouraged people to be a machine operator,” said Sarah Bucey, 34. “They think of it as just pushing a button when it’s really not. You have to have a lot of technical knowledge behind you.”
Guy and Sarah Bucey’s journey into the world of Murphy beds started after Sarah graduated from the University of Albany with a finance and management degree. Guy Bucey by then had joined the Marine Corps, and between his two deployments to Iraq, the couple were married.
Later, harboring dreams of starting his own woodworking business, he applied for a part-time job at Inova.
When owner Loren Sherman interviewed Guy, he saw the answer to the problems he had faced attracting workers to the company he’d founded in 2001.
“We had a high turnover rate,” said Sherman. “So one of the reasons Guy was promoted was because he’s good at building that culture.”
Over the course of eight years, Guy started as a factory supervisor, was soon promoted to production manager, and then was director of operations.
Guy, who is 35, said being a Marine sergeant forced him to learn leadership to deal with the guys that were deployed with him.
“You’re stuck with who you have in the military,” he said. “You have to learn how to make the best of what you have.
“A lot of managers have a get out of jail free card; if they don’t think somebody is doing a good enough job, they would just fire them without really looking in the mirror and saying, ‘Hey, am I a good leader?' ”
Growing from 12 employees when Guy started to nearly 90 employees today, the company has experienced success in selling its fold-away furniture to large family resorts nationwide. The company pulled in just under $12 million in revenue last year.
Part of that rise was due to the arrival of Sarah, who held out against joining her husband’s workplace for several years.
“I would go home and stare at the person every night that was the perfect person for the job,” said Guy.
Out of college, Sarah worked in the financial management industry at companies like Waddell & Reed, where she developed the financial prowess Inova needed.
Eventually, Sarah did come aboard. She started as Inova’s materials manager, was promoted to financial manager and for the last two years was director of finance.
Inova has had a growth spurt in the last several years. In 2016 it doubled the size of its factory, and the next year doubled it again.
They’re now occupying 72,000 square feet in the Northeastern Industrial Park, with hopes to expand further.
The Buceys also are trying to increase Inova’s profile in the community, not as a sales tool — they don’t sell products locally — but to aid recruiting in a tight labor market.
Sherman says their biggest hurdle was overcoming people’s fear that the company’s flagship fold-down beds are unstable or could close up on them.
“We never do a day at a trade show without people walking by and joking, ‘Hey can I put my mother-in-law in there?’ ”
The company also sells sofa beds with cushions that slide neatly into the wall when the bed is pulled down. Their big market is resorts and cruise ships.
“The product’s really cool. Before this I was working in commodities for a company that ran gas stations. It was boring — this is fun,” said Sarah.
Sherman has been commuting from his New York City home. The Buceys live a short distance from the factory and have a son and a daughter in Guilderland schools.