Community Partner Profile: Steve Burd
Heidi James recently had the opportunity to interview our community partner, Steve Burd, Founder & CEO of Burd Health. Steve has been a loyal supporter of Bread & Roses since 2015 and we are very grateful for his generous support.
Q. Can you tell us about your background?
A. I was born in North Dakota before our family moved to Wisconsin where I earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from Carroll University and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. I married my college sweetheart Chris in 1972 and we will celebrate our 48th wedding anniversary this December. After graduating college, I held positions with both Southern Pacific and Arthur D. Little. I eventually started my own consulting firm that served one of the most demanding and respected private equity firms (KKR) in the U.S. for 10 years. I originally joined Safeway as President in 1992 and was appointed CEO in 1993. The challenges of operating a low margin, retail business with a focus on sales and customer satisfaction never deterred me from ensuring the 185,000-member workforce remained happy, health aware and fitness-minded. We were able to lower healthcare spending by 15 percent when industry norms increased by 70 percent. After retiring from Safeway, I founded Burd Health in September 2013, where we work to reverse the rising costs of healthcare spending for companies and keep more money in the pockets of employees, all while improving the overall health and wellness of the workforce.
Q. How were you first introduced to Bread & Roses?
A. I met Dave Perron in 1986 when he was working for the Oakland A’s. Dave was developing a baseball program to fund Prostate Cancer Research, which Safeway ended up participating in. I stayed in touch with Dave over the years, and when he became the executive director of Bread & Roses in 2014, he asked if I would consider supporting the organization. I have been a loyal donor ever since.
Q. What makes you passionate about our mission?
A. The mission of Bread & Roses - to provide hope, healing and joy through live music to isolated individuals - is one that resonates both with my personal values and those of my family. Early on, when I was still working at Southern Pacific and my wife Chris was home with the kids, she would go play the piano at a nearby senior nursing home. She would bring our youngest son along and he would sit next to her quietly, enjoying the music just as much as everyone else. I also had a brother who was an entertainer and personified what Bread & Roses is all about – he loved meeting new people with the goal of putting a smile on every face!
We are grateful to Steve for showing the way with his generous support and for believing as we do in the healing power of live music.