Mike Hoffman in Star Tribune

Mike Hoffman, who retired Nov. 1 as chief executive of Toro Co., began at the company as an equipment-service representative in 1977. He worked his way through sales-and-management positions and was named CEO in 2005. Hoffman, 61, who also earned business degrees in night school, has worn blue and white collars. He remains the company’s chairman. Under Hoffman, Toro’s total return to shareholders rose 400 percent, far more than that of the S&P 500. Toro grew organically under Hoffman, who also diversified product offerings through acquisitions and focused on green technologies that consume less water and fuel. Toro posted record earnings of $231 million on sales of $2.4 billion last year.

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