Building the 'Spirit of Life'

Brad Paulsen, president of HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, will accept the 2020 “Spirit of Life Award” at the Jan. 20 City of Hope Hardware/Homebuilding Industry’s fundraising gala in Las Vegas. It’s the highest honor that City of Hope, the world-famous disease treatment and research center, bestows upon its supporters.

Paulsen, a West Point graduate whose career path made stops at the U.S. Army, Toys R Us, and The Home Depot, spoke to HBSDealer about the intersection of industry and charity. Here’s the edited conversation:

HBSDealer: How did you get involved with City of Hope?
Paulsen: I have been involved with City of Hope for nearly 10 years and have always been a huge supporter of the organization because of the incredible work they do -- both for their patients and the surrounding communities.

City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.

HBSDealer: When you got the call, what was your reaction?
Paulsen: I received the call from [Continental Sales & Marketing founder> Steven Scheiner. He has been an incredible City of Hope supporter and a role model for me over the years. He shared the news, and any time you get a call like that you feel like you certainly do not deserve the recognition. That being said, I am more than excited to work with City of Hope and the Hardware and Home Improvement Industry to lead our 2020 fundraising efforts.

HBSDealer: How does your role with HD Supply align with your role as Spirit of Life honoree?
Paulsen: My role as the Spirit of Life Honoree aligns perfectly with my role at HD Supply as both organizations are focused on giving back to our communities in whatever manner possible. At HD Supply, we feel strongly that giving back to your community is often the most fulfilling and rewarding thing that you can do as an individual or team.

HBSDealer: The City of Hope hardware/homebuilding industry group has raised more than $155 million in its 37 years. Do you feel pressure to keep up that pace?
Paulsen. Definitely, but it is absolutely a team effort. There are many people that are heavily vested in this organization, and I will be one of many leading the charge in the next year.

HBSDealer: You recently toured the City of Hope facility in Duarte, Calif. What was your take?
Paulsen: It was just incredible. You meet the patients, you meet a team that is 100% dedicated to solving and curing many life-threatening diseases and you cannot help but walk away feeling that you just witnessed something incredibly special.

HBSDealer: We know you’re not a doctor, but did you get the feeling we’re getting closer to cures for terrible diseases?
Paulsen: I do. Not only because of what you hear from the medical professionals. But, also, you can see and feel the positive energy on the campus. It is tangible.  You feel like there is hope for every patient treated or impacted by City of Hope’s team and research.

For more on City of Hope, visit