CEO Ziegler was a pioneer in creating jobs for people with disabilities

Roseville, Calif. — It is with profound sadness that PRIDE Industries announces the passing of Michael Ziegler, the organization’s CEO for the past 37 years. Ziegler’s family announced that the 75-year-old died peacefully at home yesterday while surrounded by his family.

A local business icon and entrepreneur, Ziegler devoted most of his career to creating jobs for people with disabilities. He is survived by his wife Debby of 37 years, their two sons and daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren.

PRIDE Industries was founded in 1966 in Auburn, California at St. Luke’s Episcopalian Church by a group of parents of young adult children with developmental disabilities who wanted to create meaningful employment for their children. Ziegler joined PRIDE in 1983, and under his passionate direction, the organization grew from 65 employees to more than 5,600 today, 3,350 of whom have disabilities. PRIDE has also placed and supported successful employment for thousands more people with disabilities at small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government partners across the country.

“Mike was a visionary who surrounded himself with talented people. Under his leadership, PRIDE became the leading employer of people with disabilities in America,” said Jeff Dern, President of PRIDE Industries. “Mike’s impact on the communities PRIDE serves and the PRIDE family is immeasurable. Everyone who met Mike was instantly drawn to his passion for PRIDE’s mission and his love of people. I’ve never known a more brilliant businessperson or someone with a bigger heart than Zig.”

In 2018, Ziegler began working with PRIDE’s Board of Directors on a succession plan, most notably by appointing Jeff Dern as President in May 2018.

“Mike Ziegler was a great man and most importantly a dear friend. He loved people and dedicated his life to making the world a better place by creating opportunities for people who need a helping hand,” said Bob Olsen, Board Chair of PRIDE Industries. “I am a better man for having known Mike. We will all miss him very much. PRIDE is a great organization that has a capable leadership team in place led by Jeff Dern.”

In a recent message to PRIDE’s Board of Directors and employees, Ziegler said, “The best 36 years of my life have been spent devoted to PRIDE and our mission to create jobs for people with disabilities. The people I met along the way, both in and outside of PRIDE, have helped transform a sleepy nonprofit organization into the largest nonprofit employer of people with disabilities in America.”

About PRIDE Industries: PRIDE Industries is the leading employer of people with disabilities in the country. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise, the organization provides facility operations and maintenance services, custodial services, contract manufacturing, supply chain management, and fulfillment services to public and private organizations nationwide. Founded in 1966, PRIDE’s mission is to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities through person-centered job coaching, training, and placement. PRIDE’s mission extends nationwide, assisting individuals to become self-sufficient, contribute to their communities, and achieve their goals. Learn more at

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Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.