Dometic Group Institutes Global Restructuring

February 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Frank Marciano

Dometic Group announced a global reorganization and restructuring, effective Feb. 1. According to a news release, the new management and business focus structure – enacted by global CEO Roger Johansson – includes the appointment of Frank Marciano as president of Dometic Americas. Marciano, a 22-year employee of Dometic, previously served as president of Dometic’s global marine division based in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Dometic Group will shift from global market groups and split into three large geographical regions: EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific (Australia, China, etc.) and the Americas (North and South America). Dave Schutz, located in Elkhart, Ind., serves as vice president of RV OEM sales and marketing. Along with Schutz are Jim Menefee, vice president of operations, with offices in Elkhart and LaGrange, Ind.; and Mike Hicks, overseeing product development for the RV industry.

Dave Schutz

Within the Americas region, Marciano said the market divisions are RV, marine and automotive (both commercial and passenger), with another division addressing aftermarket and merchandising operations across those markets. RV headquarters, headed by Schutz, will remain in Elkhart; marine division headquarters will remain in Pompano Beach; and the aftermarket and merchandising operations, along with the regional finance and legal staff, will remain in Louisville, Ky.

“My business philosophy is that small, focused groups can do a better job serving the industry they’re in, rather than trying to group everybody together somewhere,” Marciano stated. “I don’t want to have big, centralized control. Each division will now have more freedom to move decisively to benefit their group.”

According to Schutz, that re-emphasis on small focused groups will allow Dometic’s RV division to once more build on its long-standing branding and innovation. “With this global reorganization, we are set up to better serve and focus on our core markets,” he said. “We at Dometic are all very excited about this change and the renewed commitment to our customers, employees and the communities we live and work in.”

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Lippert Adds New Door Line, Merges Production

January 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) is launching a new line of entry door products following the acquisition of the assets of Amerimax’s U.S. door operations.

According to a press release, the new product line utilizes the designs of both LCI’s existing entry doors and Amerimax’s entry doors. To improve efficiency, LCI is consolidating two production facilities into one, and began transitioning customers to the new door products.

“Rather than producing parallel product lines of both the LCI entry door and the Amerimax entry door, we adopted the best features and the best production methods from both lines and developed a new hybrid product line incorporating the best of both entry doors,” said LCI Vice President of Sales Andy Murray.

The entry door design changes include:

• A base construction with a steel reinforced core panel to add stiffness.

• An updated screen door with a new upgraded latch design for ease of use.

• Three-dimensional injection molded kick panels in the screen door for added strength.

• A square cut joint on the exterior of the door frame for a cleaner fit and finish.

“In addition to these design changes, consolidating production facilities has made the entire entry door production process much leaner,” said Murray.

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Ownership of Plastics Firm Returns to Elkhart

December 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

You could say Elkhart Plastics doesn’t fit the mold of most locally owned companies. Then again, in today’s world, maybe the rotomolding company and supplier to the RV industry does.

According to a report by the South Bend Tribune, the Indiana company has changed owners three times since 2006. And it eventually ended up back in the hands of local owners, many of whom were managers back in 2006.

In between it was owned by a company from Iceland that called it Promens hf, which sold it about two years ago to a company from the Netherlands that went with the name Indiana Rotomolding Inc. before selling it just four months later to a group that includes current president and CEO Jack Welter.

Welter, who came up on the financial side, has been with the company since 1990 and was part of the ownership group that sold it in 2006.

“It was never in the plan (to reacquire it) when I sold it in 2006,” he said. “You can’t plan that stuff. Just the opportunity presented itself. And the fact that some other key managers were willing to participate was the driving factor in that.”

So when the company from the Netherlands wanted to shed its Indiana plastics companies, Welter was more than happy to head up a group to buy it.

“I’ve been doing it for 22 years now,” he said. “It’s a very diverse process. We make products for a variety of industries. We get to touch a lot of different companies with a lot of different products. “We work with very small companies to very large. From my perspective, I enjoy that.”

To view the entire article click here.


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Dometic Names Johansson as President, CEO

December 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Roger Johansson

Dometic Group has named Roger Johansson as its new president and CEO, effective Nov. 8. According to a press release, Johansson was previously CEO of BE Group, a publicly listed company on OMX Nasdaq and a leading trading and services group in steel, stainless steel and aluminum.

Johansson, who attended the 50th Annual National Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., where Dometic USA is now based, is also the former president for Trelleborg Automotive and ex-vice president for General Motors Europe, responsible for powertrain operations.

The new Dometic Group CEO holds a master’s from the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Dometic, which also has manufacturing operations in Elkhart, Ind., is a key supplier to the RV industry while also servicing the marine industry and the hospitality sector with a line of mini-bar refrigerators.

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Dicor’s Vixen Composites Adds FRP Products

November 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Dicor Corp.’s Vixen Composites affiliate has taken the next step in its strategic plan to become a complete supplier of sidewall and other external panels and composites by introducing Vixen FRP products.

“When Vixen was formed a couple of years ago, the plan we had was to develop an unmatched range of products that would bring the newest and best FRP and composite technologies to the RV market,” stated Gregg Fore, president of the Elkhart, Ind.-based supplier, in a press release. “We started by focusing on producing our Vixenite composite panels, which we have successfully introduced into a variety of non-RV markets, and quickly moved to work with manufacturers across the globe to develop RV-specific FRP panel technology to improve the long-term performance of RV exteriors.”

The new product lines are marketed under the name Vixen FRP, and are comprised of a family of products that address different application and finish requirements. The first product introduced will be FibroPlus, specifically designed to boost the performance of RV sidewalls. FibroGloss, an extra high-gloss FRP, will be introduced early in 2013, along with FibroGrip, a non-skid material, and FibroTrans, a translucent panel.

Vixen General Manager Gordon Frost said that FibroPlus and FibroGloss will be available in a variety of widths and colors and in rolls up to 200 feet in length. Frost explained that “some competitive FRP products use general purpose resins with lower fiberglass content and may sell thinner panels, while Vixen’s products are constructed of a proprietary blend of resins and manufactured using new curing technology. They have a minimum thickness of 0.050. These are all important factors in the long term performance of the FRP.”

Fore added, “After working with several global manufacturers, Dicor selected the Yucel Group to provide these specifically formulated FRP Products to Vixen Composites. Yucel made a solid commitment to meet Vixen’s specifications and quality standards, expanded their facility for RV demand, and have proven technical ability along with the integrity and strong principles needed to satisfy both Vixen and its customers.”

According to Fore, these new products are perfect complements to the Vixenite Composite panels introduced earlier by Vixen. “With the addition of this family of FRP products, Vixen will now be able to offer sidewall products that meet the needs of the majority of RV products produced on an annual basis.”

For more information call Gordon Frost at (574) 264-2699. Vixen FRP products will be part of the “Center for the Amazing” Dicor Corp. booth in the North Wing Lobby, Hall 2A, of the Kentucky Exposition Center during the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Nov. 27-29.


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Lippert to Consolidate Furniture, Seating Units

November 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced today (Nov. 12) that it is realigning its furniture and seating divisions into a rebranded Lippert Interior Solutions. According to a news release, the company is also consolidating two 70,000 square foot seating manufacturing facilities in Goshen, Ind., into one newly outfitted 160,000 square-foot manufacturing plant.

“We want to bring all of our plants that are manufacturing furniture, seating and mattress products under one brand name with a new focus on putting out the best product available on the market for RV OEMS and other market niches,” said LCI CEO Jason Lippert.

The launch of Lippert Interior Solutions will include rebranding the Homestyle division in Idaho and the Michiana Mattress division in Goshen, as well as the plant realignment in Indiana.

The Indiana plant consolidation will result in additional employment at the new facility, taking the number of employees in that division to approximately 300. The new facility is expected to be online in the first quarter of 2013 and will be headed by General Manager Mark Taylor and Ryan Smith, vice president of sales for Lippert Interior Solutions.

“This consolidation and expansion into a larger facility allow us to ‘lean up’ the operation, improve workflow and consolidate raw materials and manufacturing into one plant,” said LCI Vice President and National Operations Manager Todd Driver.

“Consolidating the facilities will also make the operation more vertically integrated,” said LCI Director of Product Development Jeff Few. “Consolidating the wood division, the steel division, and the foam cutting operation streamlines management and communications, and accelerates production and product development while increasing quality control and improving design.”

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Patrick’s 3Q Boosted by RV Sales, Acquisitions

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Elkhart, Ind.-based Patrick Industries Inc., a major supplier of building and component products for the recreational vehicle, manufactured housing and industrial markets, reported significant sales and earnings gains for its third quarter boosted by strong performance from RV operations. The company also announced the establishment of a new $80 million revolving credit facility.

Net sales for the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, increased $35.5 million or 45.9% to $112.9 million from $77.4 million in the same quarter of 2011. The sales increase reflected a 66% increase in the company’s revenue from the RV industry and a 13% increase in revenue from the MH industry, which represented approximately 68% and 20% of third-quarter sales, respectively.

Approximately $18.7 million of the revenue increase was attributable to acquisitions completed in 2011 and 2012, with the remaining $16.8 million increase primarily attributable to increased RV market penetration and a 19% increase in quarterly wholesale unit shipments in the RV industry.

Patrick reported net income in the third quarter of $6.6 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $4.5 million, or 44 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2011. Third quarter 2012 net income was positively impacted by a net gain on the sale of fixed assets and on the acquisition of a business of $0.2 million. Earnings included a non-cash credit of $0.1 million, or 1 cent per diluted share, related to stock warrant accounting.

“We are pleased by our third quarter revenue and profitability growth as we continue to increase our market share in the primary markets we serve through new product introductions, line extensions and the realization of our strategic and operational initiatives that are an integral part of our ‘customer first’ culture and mission,” said Todd Cleveland, president and CEO. “In addition, we believe the newest members to our Patrick family, Gustafson Lighting and Creative Wood Designs, and the other acquisitions we have completed since August 2010 will continue to provide positive contributions to our operating profitability and allow us to gain additional penetration in the RV and industrial market sectors.”

Net sales for the first nine months increased approximately $101.7 million, or 44.3%, to $331.2 million from $229.5 million in the same period in 2011. Approximately $46.5 million of the sales increase was attributable to the acquisitions completed in 2011 and 2012. In addition, increased RV shipment levels over the prior year and improved retail fixture and residential furniture sales in the industrial market positively impacted revenue growth on a year-to-date basis.

For the first nine months, Patrick reported net income of $24.9 million, or $2.32 per diluted share, compared to net income of $7 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, in the same period in 2011. The period was positively impacted by a non-cash credit of $6.7 million or 62 cents per diluted share, related to the reversal of a deferred tax valuation allowance and a net gain on the sale of fixed assets and on the acquisition of a business of $0.2 million, which were partially offset by a non-cash charge of $1.7 million related to stock warrant accounting.

To view the entire report click here.

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Diversity Helps RV Supplier Survive Downturn

October 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Unique Tooling, started in May 2007 to serve the RV industry, managed to grow during the economic downturn and has accelerated by diversifying into plastics, metal and wood-cutting devices as well as tool sharpening.

The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune reported that the firm, which operates in two buildings in North Liberty and has eight employees, had sales of $1.2 million last year, and owner Tom England expects to reach $2 million this year.

One of the North Liberty storefronts offers blades to homeowners and hobbyists and sharpening for chain saws, lawn mower blades and other cutting tools.

But Unique Tooling mostly supplies customers in the RV, aluminum-cutting, cabinet-making, marine and plastics industries in seven states as well as nearby towns including Elkhart, Shipshewana and Middlebury.

“We supply certain types of router bits and saw cutting items that they use in the RV market,” England says. “We diversified from that into wood and plastic and now we’re in the marine industry. We’re trying to diversify more and more.

“We’re hitting our little niches. A lot of it’s worked pretty well.”

To read the entire article click here.


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ASA Names Jennifer King as RV OEM Manager

September 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jennifer King

ASA Electronics, a supplier of RV audio and video electronics, announced the appointment of Jennifer King as the RV OEM industry manager.

According to a press release King has served for the past seven years as RV OEM account manager for Elkhart, Ind.-based ASA. “I am thrilled to be able to turn over the reins of the RV industry to Jennifer,” said Pat McCullough, commercial industry manager. “With her enthusiasm, energy, and exceptional detail to customer satisfaction, she will help continue to lead ASA’s dominance in the RV industry.”

King looks to expand market offerings by continuing to serve the industry in new and innovative ways. “Product development has been my passion since the beginning,” King said. “I look forward to advancing industry leading AV and appliance products with the highest level of service to the RV industry.”


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Lippert Holds Pre-Game Shindig at ND Stadium

September 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

At Notre Dame Stadium, the football game is just part of the “Game Day” experience. As reported by the Goshen (Ind.) News, the parking lots that ring the historic stadium begin filling up early Saturday (Sept. 8) morning and by midmorning are packed with Fighting Irish fans cooking, eating, drinking — just soaking up the atmosphere that makes Irish football the tradition it is.

Goshen-based Lippert Components Inc. has turned the tailgate party into an art form over the past few years, hosting its own shindig before each home game.

Saturday was no different as Lippert Components staked out a spot in the Joyce Center lot, raised a tent, fired up the barbecues, cracked open a few adult and non-adult beverages, and invited employees, customers and friends to join in prior to the Irish’s 2012 home opener against in-state rival Purdue.

CEO Jason Lippert said the company employs about 5,200 people, most of those in Elkhart County.

The pre-game tailgate party was the brainchild of employee Marty McManus. From humble beginnings, the event now usually attracts anywhere from 200-300 people before each Irish home game – depending on a host of factors, including the weather and how good the team is at the time.

As the clock struck noon on Saturday — with about three and a half hours to kickoff — Lippert Components Plastics Group Sales Manager Rich Clark was manning the large covered tent, talking to guests and steering them toward the free food and drink offered.

Notre Dame football has been a family experience for Clark for more than 50 years. “My dad was an usher when I was young,” Clark said.

The logistics for putting on a tailgate party this large, as one might expect, can be tricky, Clark said.

“We have a set-up group that gets here at about 5:30 a.m. to get the tent set up, as well as the tables and chairs,” Clark said. “The food and another group gets here about 9, and then a teardown group takes over at about game time.”

Lippert said the party is a mixture of giving back to employees and customers. “They give us a budget, and we give them the money,” Lippert said.

To read the entire article click here.


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