Bowflex founder Sandy Wheeler to be CWU commencement speaker in Kent | CWU Public Affairs

CWU alumni and founder of Bowflex Sandy Wheeler will speak at Central's commencement at the ShoWare Center in Kent on June 12, 2011.

KENT, Wash. — Roland (Sandy) Wheeler, CEO of Redpine Healthcare Technologies, Inc., hopes to inspire Central Washington University graduates as this year’s commencement speaker for students who have earned degrees at CWU satellite campuses in western Washington.  The ceremony will be held on June 12 at the ShoWare Center in Kent.

Wheeler is the former vice president of Marketing and Sales for Direct Focus Inc. — now known as the Nautilus Group Inc. The Nautilus Group manufactures and markets Bowflex Exercise Equipment and owns Schwinn Fitness, Nautilus and Stairmaster.

Wheeler graduated CWU in 1974 with a degree in accounting. Because CWU’s accounting program is known far and wide for graduating top-notch accounting students, Wheeler was recruited for several jobs by some of the world’s biggest firms.

“I wasn’t a traditional student. I came to college after Vietnam. I had a baby and was married by my sophomore year,” Wheeler recalled. “I was dogmatic in my education and my professors accommodated me. I’ll never forget how they helped me.”

After graduation, he went to work for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., now known as KPMG LLP, a national audit, tax and advisory services firm. He went on to build the Bowflex product line and brand name. The company purchased Nautilus, Stairmaster and Schwinn Fitness and changed the corporate name to the Nautilus Group Inc., located in Vancouver, Wa., and produced sales in excess of $500 million per year.

Wheeler will speak to graduates at 1 p.m. Graduates of CWU programs in Des Moines, Lynnwood, Pierce County, Kent, and Everett are invited to attend the ceremony.

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