Rod began his career in Southern California. At 20, He sold his prized Camaro Z28 to finance his first company, a furniture manufacturing business. Using cash advances from credit cards and a second mortgage, Rod founded The Harwood Company in 1989, growing annual revenues from $800,000 to $13 million. After seeing the company through the turbulence of the dot com bubble burst of 2000, Rod worked to combine with another company via a $4 million new equity round. In 2003, Rod guided senior sales team members in their pursuit of an LBO, and the current of MadeToOrder, Inc. was born. Sales grew to over $30 million in the ensuing years. In 2019 Rod stepped down from daily operating roles, naming a new CEO and COO and created an ESOP trust with a plan to sell the firm to the employees in 2020.
Rod is now focused on speaking engagements, expert witness services, professional introductions, business development and consulting. Rod has been a featured speaker at events in Stockholm and Dusseldorf. He is contributor to several industry publications, and was elected to the PPAI Board of Directors in 2010 and as Vice Chair of Financial Services in 2012 and 2013. Rod is also a founding member of the Reciprocity Road network, collective of promotional products distributors with combined revenues in excess of $200 million.
Rod spends his annual spring break building houses in the slums of Mexico and now after a dozen trips has become a key leader of the trip helping over 300 participants each year. Rod has traveled to Africa five times to provide aid to children in an orphanage for the blind. For these activities and others, the PPAI recognized Rod in 2020 with its Humanitarian Award.