Tim Lerdahl, Class of 2002

IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Tim Lerdahl, president, Lerdahl Business Interiors.
Ezine Watn—tim Lerdahl (primary) Headsot

What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?

As president of Madison’s only locally owned commercial interiors company, I’m proud of the fact that since my 40 Under 40 selection, we’ve grown our business by almost four times and done it by living our core values: trust, respect, integrity, continuous improvement, teamwork, and fun. Having great people surround you makes this possible.

As a business, we’ve been recognized as the “Best Office Interiors Company” in In Business magazine for 19 years in a row.

What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?

I’m most proud of the balance I’ve been able to have in my life while building the business. Honestly, I feel that the most significant accomplishment for my wife and I has been raising our three boys to become fine young men. I am thankful that I’ve had people surround me who feel the same about what really matters in life.

If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?

Listen more and speak less.

How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?

I think my 40 Under 40 selection has been something that has helped me to create my personal brand along with our company brand. We live in a very tight-knit community and I think it helps to get some extra acknowledgement. Thank you!

What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?

Personally, at 55 I am fortunate to have good health. I love staying active with my summer car, boat, and golf hobbies. In the winter, we like to snowmobile and snow ski and do a little travel. I’m not completely sure I have a “passion” for any of these things, but I do feel freedom to pursue them at a higher level than when I was in the kid-sports years.

Professionally, nothing satisfies me more than having my employees buy their first home or buy the car of their dreams.

Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?

I’ve always given the advice of “choose three things.” In life we get too spread out with our interests. If you are truly committed to pursuing your career, that’s No. 1. If you are going to have a family, that’s No. 2. The third is that one thing that you truly want to be passionate about. What you do for yourself? When you are in the family-raising years, don’t be afraid to say no.

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