Generations of Excellence
Company founder Edward (Ed) J. Degan was born at 45 Catherine Street in New York’s Soho neighborhood. Ed was the youngest child and only son of Irish immigrants Edward and Margaret Mary (née Stewart) Degan.
At the age of eleven, Ed left school to work and help support his family.
Ed was drafted into the U.S. Navy and served through the end of World War I.
Shortly after returning from the service, Ed met and soon married Anna Green, with whom he would have seven children.
A born entrepreneur, Ed got his education the hard way. He launched (and closed) half a dozen different businesses over a 10-year period. The business concepts ranged from miniature golf courses to radiator covers to concentrated orange juice.
Ed met with a representative of the Dupont Corporation at the site of the construction of the Empire State Building. Dupont had recently developed the first clear synthetic lacquer coating. Shortly after this meeting, Ed and his financial partner, Calvin Perry, formed the idea of creating a new company, a firm that would specialize in applying the new Dupont product to architectural metals to prevent corrosion.
They decided to name the company “Stuart Dean” after their mothers’ maiden names, Ed switching to the more American spelling “Stuart” and away from the original Irish spelling “Stewart”. Shortly after the founding, Ed bought the balance of the business from Calvin Perry, becoming sole owner.
Ed worked relentlessly to stay afloat as the Great Depression dragged on. Day after day, he pounded the pavement of New York City to expound the virtues of Dupont synthetic coatings.
During the Depression’s lowest point, Stuart Dean narrowly avoided bankruptcy.
Business took a dramatic turn from an unexpected customer – the Soviet Union. The enormous steel statue of the “New Soviet Man” for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City finally put Stuart Dean on firm financial ground.
The next generation of Degans moved into the business, including eldest son Edward III, then sons Gerard, Eugene, John (Jack) and George.
At the age of 60, Ed suffered a massive stroke and died. Eugene Degan, his eldest surviving son (Edward III was killed in combat during WWII) succeeded him as CEO.
Jack Degan succeeded Gene as CEO.
James Degan took the reins as CEO.
The company hired Mark Parrish to be its new CEO.
Stuart Dean proudly celebrated its 80th anniversary.
James Degan retakes the reins as CEO.
More than 20 of Ed Degan’s descendants presently work for Stuart Dean, though they are vastly outnumbered by the rest of the Stuart Dean family, with more than 450 supervisors, salespeople and managers.
All are committed to sustaining the company’s reputation for Generations of Excellence.