Dexter Axle Co., a leading manufacturer of trailer axles and trailer brakes, announced it has acquired the assets of Unique Functional Products (UFP), makers of Trailer Buddy and The Vault Products. According to a press release, UFP has been a leading innovator and provider of trailer axles and brake system components to the recreational boating trailer market since 1963.
“We are very excited about this acquisition, and what it means to our company, our customers and our industry,” said Adam Dexter, president and CEO of Elkhart Ind.-based Dexter Axle. “Our organizations have shared the same values, and we look forward to combining forces in order to better serve our combined customers.”
He added, “The whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts in this situation. We have already begun to implement plans to leverage the best of these two industry-leading organizations to give our customers the best service and most comprehensive product line in the industry.”
Bernie Goettker, president and CEO of UFP stated, “I have been in this industry for 32 years and I have tremendous respect for Dexter Axle. We are both based on a very simple philosophy of producing quality designed products and servicing our customer’s needs. The combined resources of Dexter and UFP will allow us to provide future designs and innovations to our customers for many years to come. I anticipate a smooth transition for both our customers and employees.”
Dexter products are American made in highly automated facilities in Indiana, Georgia and Oklahoma with distribution throughout North America and several other countries. UFP has locations in in San Marcos, California and Winchester, Tenn.
“We are now able to offer our diverse and comprehensive product line to a broader customer base,” said Bryan Thursby, vice president of sales and marketing of Dexter Axle. “The combined product offering will be the best in the industry.”
Dexter Axle Co., a leading manufacturer of trailer axles and trailer brakes for over 50 years, announced it has successfully completed the ISO 9001:2008 certification process. According to a press release, this certification is a “positive confirmation of Dexter’s quality commitment to its customers.”
All of the audits were completed without a single nonconformity, which is a very unusual accomplishment, the Elkhart, Ind.-based company said. “Passing the inspection with zero nonconformities speaks very positively to our business processes and our continuing dedication to customer satisfaction,” said Adam Dexter, president and CEO of Dexter Axle.
“This certification is a reflection of the effectiveness and maturity of the Dexter Axle Quality System,” added Carlos Robles, director of quality for Dexter Axle. “Our success is contingent upon our demonstrating continual improvement in all areas of our operation as well as our overriding concern for customer satisfaction.”
Dexter has used the ISO 9001 Quality System Standard as a framework for their quality system for over 15 years. Passing the audit gave the company verification that “it was meeting or exceeding this worldwide quality standard to give their customers repeatable quality products that will enhance the safe operation of their trailers,” the release stated.
It’s a good fit. That’s the way Adam Dexter, CEO of Elkhart, Ind.-based Dexter Axle, sees the latest move for his company.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, the Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm in Houston, recently announced that it has acquired the axle and brake supplier.
“I just think it’s a good fit for Dexter with the company that Sterling is and the types of businesses that they focus on — manufacturing businesses with the key elements of distribution and a service-related-type focus,” Dexter said. “It’s just a real good fit between the two organizations, and I think it will work out well for both parties.”
The firm completed the acquisition from Tomkins Industries Inc., a subsidiary of Pinafore Holdings B.V., through its affiliated investment fund, Sterling Group Partners III.
“We are excited about the opportunity to draw on our deep experience with corporate carve-outs to transition Dexter to a stand-alone business,” said Kevin Garland, a partner at The Sterling Group, in a news release.
Dexter, which was a subsidiary of Tomkins Industries Inc., supplies not only axles and brakes but suspension assemblies, doors, venting products and related components to the industrial and utility trailer, recreational vehicle, heavy duty and manufactured housing markets.
Locally Dexter employs 85 people at its headquarters in Elkhart and about another 165 at its manufacturing facility in Bristol. Overall it has 1,275 employees.
Dexter had been owned by Tomkins Industries for 22 years. “And they were good to us,” Dexter stressed.
He said he does not expect dramatic changes within the company for his employees. “I think that the intent of Sterling is they saw a good business in Dexter,” Dexter said. “It’s been around for a long time, in excess of 50 years with a very strong brand and a leading position in the market place. They bought us for what we are and want to continue to let us operate our business and proceed forward into the future.”
One person had to be taken to the hospital after a fire at Dexstar Wheel Co. in Elkhart, Ind., on Monday (April 18).
The first of calls went out a little after 2 p.m., WSBT-TV, South Bend, reported. A spokesperson for the RV supply firm said a first shift manager suffered smoke inhalation while making sure everyone got out.
They also said the fire started in a powder coat oven, but spread to roof insulation.
The facility closed down for the rest of the day for cleaning. Normal operations were expected to resume today.
Adam Dexter, president of Dexter Axle Co., was elected to a supplier seat on the board of directors of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) during a special runoff election that concluded on Sept.10.
The special election was needed when Dexter and Stan Sunshine, chairman of Stag-Parkway Inc., tied in the balloting for the third and final supplier seat during the regular RVIA elections that ended on Aug. 24. The special election took place from Aug. 27 – Sept. 10 with RVIA official representatives able to cast their votes electronically during that period.
Dexter joins six other candidates elected to the RVIA board in this election cycle. They include five incumbents: Matt Miller, president of Newmar Corp. (manufacturer); Gregg Fore, president of Dicor Corp. (supplier); B.J. Thompson, president of BJ Thompson Associates (supplier); Bob Parish, vice president for G.E. Capital (at-large); and, Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (at-large).
John Rhymer, co-founder of Heartland Recreational Vehicles, was newly elected to a manufacturer seat.
All those elected to the RVIA board will begin serving their three-year terms on Oct. 1. The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure and is responsible for association matters on a broad policy basis.
Richard Klein, a mechanical and aerospace engineer with more than 30 years of experience in vehicle dynamics, was among those addressing 82 representatives of 38 RV manufacturers and suppliers on the stability of trailer design during a March 5 seminar hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. Klein reviewed decades-old, safety-related engineering data, according to Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education. “It appears from listening to Dick Klein that there was engineering information out there for 30 years that is valid today that only a few people knew about,” said David Mihalick, Thor Industries Inc. corporate standards compliance manager. “The seminar got us back to hard engineering data.” In addition to Klein, seminar speakers included consultant Harley Holt, president of Harley Holt and Associates Inc., and David Kinder, a partner with the Texas-based Cox Smith, a law firm that has represented RV manufacturers in cases involving claims related to travel trailer stability and rollovers. “The seminar provided a number of recommendations for the manufacturers to look at,” Hopkins said. The event was sponsored by AL-KO Kober, Corp., Dexter Axle Co. and Norco Industries.