The 2014 Winners

Best Place To Work
Cleaning Technologies Group, LLC
Richards Industries

Biggest Breakthrough
Intelligent Green Products
Rumpke Waste & Recycling

New Job Creation
Huhtamaki Inc.
Mubea

New Product Development/Innovation
Enerfab
Fecon, Inc.
Long-Stanton Mfg. Co.
Mazak
Michelman Inc.

Top Growth
Bonfiglioli USA
General Data
Polycraft Products, Inc.
Sims-Lohman

Winner Profiles

Cleaning Technologies Group
Location: West Chester
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1916
Employees: 124
CEO: Bernard Bosse Jr.
Website: ctgclean.com
Business: Leading manufacturer of water & solvent-based parts cleaning systems

Communication is part of the fabric of Cleaning Technologies, a previous MANNY winner in 2012.

“Our culture is such that innovation is prized and the company is receptive to peoples’ ideas. If a shop employee wishes to speak with the CEO about an issue, we encourage it because it can only strengthen us as an organization,” says Chanelle Huesing, human resources manager.

Cleaning Technologies, which will mark its 100th anniversary in 2016, also tries to instill passion in employees by letting them know how they affect the bottom line.

To foster team spirit, the company hosts frequent employee luncheons and contests, recognizes birthdays and anniversaries, and arranges group outings for special celebrations.

During the recession, Cleaning Technologies implemented company-wide pay cuts to maintain its headcount and avoid layoffs.

“Employees know that the company tries hard to maintain the balance between what is good for the company and what is good for the employees,” says Huesing.

The benefit of that approach is reflected in how the company has bounced back from the downturn “because of our employees and their willingness to do whatever it took.”


Richards Industries
Location: Hyde Park
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1948
Employees: 145
CEO/President: Bruce Broxterman
Website: richardsind.com
Business: Specialty industrial valve maker

The MANNY’s “Best Place to Work” award may soon be known as “The Richards.” This is the sixth time the company has received a Manny for its workplace culture.

The reason is simple: the company is constantly working to create the best environment for employees. It ranges from little things like ordering flowers for an employee’s spouse or helping with a child’s resume to big things such as never having a layoff or failing to pay profit sharing and bonuses.

The company’s wellness initiatives have helped employees quit smoking, lose weight and improve their health screening scores.

The program resulted in a 10 percent reduction in health insurance renewal costs, and the savings were used to hold down employee premiums.

The company’s commitment to employee training and continuing education included investing $28,000 to train 10 new hires at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College. In addition, all the workers received their salary while they were in class.

The best testimonial comes from an employee who says: “I have worked for a number of companies and they all talk about how important employees are. None of them showed it with the sincerity Richards Industries does.”


Intelligent Green Products
Location: Mason
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 2010
Employees: 3
CEO: Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs
Website: intelligentgreenproducts.com
Business: Developer of water- & energy-saving Epiphany Digital Shower Flow Optimizer

Some of the best ideas really do come in the shower.

That’s how Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs got the idea for the aptly named Epiphany Digital Shower Flow system that can save up to 40 percent on water, energy and utility costs.

It was during a visit in 2009 to her native Southern California when she wondered why the water flow from her hotel shower couldn’t be tailored to when she was actually under the shower. Her husband, Robert, a successful product development engineer with GE and Johnson & Johnson with more than two-dozen patents to his name, thought she was on to something.

The Epiphany, which connects in minutes between the showerhead and arm, uses state-of-the-art sensors to detect when you’re under the showerhead and want a full water flow and when you step back and don’t need full flow. The startup’s big break came at last year’s National Hardware Show in Las Vegas when the Epiphany won a new product award. Lowe’s also has shown interest in carrying it. With the help of TechSolve, Intelligent Green Products has lined up U.S. companies to make the Epiphany. The next big challenge, Dunkijacobs says, is lining up financing to begin production. She says they have several more products in development.

Rumpke Waste & Recycling
Location: Colerain Township
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1932
Employees: 1,150
CEO: William Rumpke Sr.
Website: rumpke.com
Business: One of the largest waste & recycling companies in the United States

Rumpke Waste & Recycling, the nation’s 10th largest waste and recycling company, turned a 2012 disaster into a triumph.

A fire on April 10, 2012 destroyed the company’s St. Bernard recycling center, a facility the Rumpke had spent about $6.5 million on over the previous several years.

Overnight, Rumpke developed a contingency plan, leasing a transfer facility for its 80 trucks and about 120 workers, and hauling the material to its other recycling centers in Dayton and Columbus.

Over the next 16 months, Rumpke, which previously won a Manny in 2009, hauled 106,000 tons of recyclables to Dayton and Columbus while the St. Bernard facility was being rebuilt.

Prior to construction, the Rumpke team visited nine other recycling facilities in the United States and Canada to identify the best technology.

The new facility, built in less than 300 days, was designed to be one of the nation’s largest, fastest and most advanced single-stream recycling centers. The $32 million, 100,000-square-foot facility was designed for expansion as recycling markets grow, and has the capacity to process up to two million pounds of material per day.

The new center’s technology is more efficient, lowering the cost of recycling. That allowed Rumpke to create about 100 jobs, increasing employment at the facility to more than 200. The company also invested in an education room on site, a viewing platform and a video showing the facility’s capabilities to build awareness about the benefits of recycling.


Huhtamaki Inc.
Location: Batavia
Private or Public: Public
Founded: 1920
Employees: 170
Plant Manager: Richard Mills
Website: Huhtamaki.com
Business: Producer of paper drinking cups for the consumer & food service markets

As a supplier of disposable paper cups and plates, Huhtamaki appreciates the value of recycling.

Last year the maker of the well-known Chinet brand of disposable tableware, pulled off one of the region’s largest economic development recycling projects when it purchased more than half of the 1.8 million-square-foot Ford Batavia transmission plant, shut down in 2008.

The manufacturing and distribution facility now employs about 170.

Proximity to the distribution centers of Huhtamaki’s North American food service customers such as Nestle, Hershey, Starbucks and Subway was one reason the company picked the site from a number of locations it considered.

Since launching operations last August, Huhtamaki has invested the first of more than $60 million in plant improvements and new equipment to cut and form customer cups from paper stock. Huhtamaki expects to eventually employ about 275 as it ramps up manufacturing and distribution operations, says George Hedke, human resources and safety manager.


Mubea
Location: Florence
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1916
Employees: 1,300
CEO: Doug Cain
Website: Mubea.com
Business: Automobile parts manufacturer

Originally a small operation making automotive coil springs for Volkswagen more than 30 years ago, German-based Mubea has grown into one of Northern Kentucky’s fastest growing manufacturers.

The company, which opened North America’s first plant producing “tailored rolled blanks” last year near Florence, added 300 jobs, increasing its employment to 1,300 at six Northern Kentucky plants.

Mubea uses a game-changing metal-stamping technology to roll steel blanks into sheets of varying thicknesses to be formed into a wide variety of automotive body, suspension and exhaust parts that are up to 25 percent lighter and are less expensive to assemble.

Since struggling along with other automotive companies during the 2008 recession, Mubea has more than doubled employment under Cain by focusing on its unique manufacturing capabilities.

The company has plans to add a second 75,000 square-foot stamping plant in a couple years, doubling capacity.


Enerfab
Location: Spring Grove Village and Sharonville
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1901
Employees: 350
Chairman: Dave Herche
Website: enerfab.com
Business: Supplier of construction & specialty fabrication to power & process industries

For more than a century, Enerfab Inc. has developed a reputation for industrial construction and metal fabrication expertise. Over the last couple years, the company has brought that skill to the emerging market for combined heat and power systems for the industrial market. CHP, or co-generation, systems marry electrical generation from natural gas or other fuels with the capture of heat generated by the machinery to dramatically increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Michael Burke, Enerfab’s director of process engineering, said CHP can produce total energy efficiency of as much as 85 percent compared with efficiency in the 40 percent range for similar electrical systems. In December, Enerfab dedicated its first CHP system at its Brighton Tru-Edge Heads plant in Sharonville. It produces 210 kilowatts of electricity for the plant and the recovered waste heat from the engine allowed the plant to eliminate three gas-fired hot water generators and still reduce utility costs by about 30 percent annually.

Enerfab has one order from a company in central Kentucky for its modular CHP system, marketed under the name GridFox, and has several more proposals in development, Burke says.

Because of its large manufacturing sector, Ohio is seen as a big market for CHP systems. Enerfab believes the technology is at the forefront of U.S. energy independence and offers an economic return to companies without government incentives.


Fecon, Inc.
Location: Lebanon
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1992
Employees: 126
President: John Heekin
Website: Fecon.com
Business: Manufactures and distributes construction and forestry equipment

Fecon, a leading supplier of forestry mulching equipment, track carriers and related equipment, embarked on a new, formal product development process three years ago. The first new product from that effort has been an “overwhelming success,” says Mike Slattery, Chief Product Officer/VP Business Development.

Since introducing the FTX128L, a compact mulching tractor, earlier this year, Fecon, which opened its state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Lebanon a decade ago, has booked a four-month backlog of orders for the compact tractor used to clear brush and vegetation. Development of the FTX128, which features more power, performance and durability, was the result of the largest, most focused new product effort in Fecon’s history. The process focused on developing a product customers wanted by listening to their comments and concerns.

For example, the tractor includes an improved cab for the operator with increased visibility and easier access for service and maintenance. An additional benefit of the new product development process, Slattery says, was increased enthusiasm by employees across the plant because they had a voice in the development.

The FTX128 is just the first of nine new products going through Fecon’s development process. The company recently acquired a 40,000-square-foot building across the street from its plant and has added about half the 25 new jobs it projects for expansion.


Long-Stanton Mfg., Co.
Location: West Chester
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1862
Employees: 30
President: Marvin Cunningham
Website: longstanton.com
Business: Contract machining, welding & assembly services


The U.S. military’s need for a low-cost banding seal to secure crates of cargo and equipment for shipment and storage opened a new business opportunity for 152-year-old Long-Stanton Manufacturing Co., in West Chester.

The contract manufacturer developed the STIC (Security, Traceability, Inventory and Control) Seal for a military supplier in Florida after the former manufacturer of the L-shaped seal for securing single or dual point metal bands had gone out of business. Long-Stanton developed a more efficient stamping process using galvannealed steel to produce the seal and embosses it with a unique serial number to prevent tampering in one step. Previously, the seals were embossed by hand. Marvin Cunningham, Long-Stanton’s president, says the seals cost only pennies each compared with a competing product that costs a dollar each. “It’s an inexpensive, simple solution,” he says.

Long-Stanton is now looking at a variety of commercial applications for the banding seal, particularly in markets were inventory control is an issue. Because each metal seal has a unique serial number, it’s much easier to track the inventory it secures, Cunningham says.


Mazak
Location: Florence
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1919
Employees: 775
CEO: Brian Papke
Website: Mazak.com
Business: Machine tool builder & supplier of factory automation

Increasingly, monitoring production activity at Mazak’s growing machine tool operation in Florence is as simple as checking a smartphone app.

That’s because Mazak last year became the first machine tool builder to incorporate MTConnect, a new open communications protocol across all the machines in its facility.

MTConnect is an open-source, royalty-free manufacturing protocol that connects devices and systems from different suppliers to capture and share information in a common format.

“It really helps manufacturers improve the utilization of their machines and makes it more profitable to manufacturer in the United States,” Brian Papke, Mazak’s president, says.

The “plug-and-play” networking platform assists factories in calculating overall equipment efficiency, monitoring all equipment from one system, reducing production losses and identifying lean manufacturing strategies.


Michelman Inc.
Location: Blue Ash
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1949
Employees: 165
CEO: Steven J. Shifman
Website: michelmaninc.com
Business: Developer of water-based barrier & functional coatings for a variety of applications

Using technology licensed from Dow Chemical, Michelman has introduced the first in a series of new products it is developing using water-based polymers that are more environmentally friendly, non-flammable and can be applied in smaller, more precise amounts.

The water-based chemicals eliminate the need for hazardous solvents in a range of applications such as bonding composite auto parts and sealing food packaging, says John Homoelle, director of new technology and regulatory affairs.

Over the last three years, the company has commercialized about 150 new products that represent about 20 percent of its revenues. Michelman wants to increase the percentage of revenue from new products even more, Homoelle says, and has developed a process to identify keys to success before starting a new product. It resulted in a 33 percent increase last year alone in new commercial products.


Bonfiglioli USA
Location: Hebron
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1986
Employees: 75
President: Greg Schulte
Website: bonfiglioliusa.com
Business: Designer & manufacturer of gear motors, drive systems & gearboxes for the industrial, off-highway & renewable energy markets

Since 2010 the North American branch of the Italian-based company has nearly doubled its revenues to a projected $128.6 million for 2013, from just under $69 million in 2010.

And 2010 revenues were a $22 million gain from a decline to $46.4 million in 2009 because of the recession.

The company’s Northern Kentucky employment has risen 40 percent in the last four years and about 30 additional jobs are expected to be added this year to support a new production line planned at the end of the year.

Bonfiglioli has rebounded with steady growth since the recession due to efforts to grow sales and reduce costs, officials say. The company also has benefited from the variety of industries its products are used in and by penetrating new markets such as renewable energy.


General Data Corp.
Location: Union Township
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1981
Employees: 300
CEO: Peter Wenzel
Website: general-data.com
Business: Manufactures custom & commodity bar code identification, tracking & data management products.

In May, General Data Corp. acquired Triangle Biomedical Sciences Inc. in Durham, N.C. to expand its portfolio of products for histology labs for specimen identification, preparation, processing and tracking. General Data’s health care division now produces a full line of histology lab instrumentation and consumables. In December it acquired Mason-based Spectrum Computer Products Inc., a supplier of business printers, supplies and service.

General Data’s 2013 gross revenues of more than $64 million represents a 74 percent growth in the last five years. Last year alone, it increased employment by 41 jobs.

General Data, a two-time Tristate Success Award winner, also purchased a 31,500-square-foot building in March and remodeled it and launched manufacturing operations within six months.


Polycraft Products, Inc.
Location: Cleves
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1982
Employees: 53
Top Executive: Thomas E. Landers
Website: polycraftproducts.com
Business: Leading supplier of niche aircraft engine parts, tooling, ground support equipment & defense components

The key to Polycraft’s success is the “craft” in its name.

“We have some really great people here. What we do is a craft. You don’t learn it in school,” says Jon Lehn, business manager. Originally an aviation industry supplier, Polycraft is penetrating other markets such as medical equipment and packaging with its thermoset molding and composite bonding capabilities.

Polycraft’s sales have nearly doubled since 2009 from $3 million to $6.2 million last year. Employment has grown over the same period from 30 to 53 and the company expects to add more than 15 jobs over the next few years, Lehn says.

Business has been so strong the company is doubling its plant space by moving from its Cleves location to a new building about 10 miles away in Greendale, Ind., with the help of a development grant from the City of Lawrenceburg.


Sims-Lohman Inc.
Location: Carthage
Private or Public: Private
Founded: 1971
Employees: 300
CEO: Steve Steinman
President: John Beiersdorfer
Website: sims-lohman.com
Business: Midwest’s largest distributor of cabinets & fabricator of granite countertops

Sims-Lohman has maintained significant growth despite a depressed housing market that has caused some of its competitors to struggle.

The company, founded in 1971, has continued to grow by penetrating new geographic locations and expanding its share of existing markets. Gross revenues last year were nearly $69 million and revenue growth has averaged more than 30 percent the last five years, including a 41.7 percent increase last year.

Sims-Lohman’s growth has also meant more jobs. Last year it added 100 new jobs and employment has grown by more than 200 jobs over the last five years.

Sims-Lohman currently has four fabrication facilities supporting eight additional showrooms, totaling more than 270,000 square feet and expects to bring even more fabrication space online in the near future.


Chris Cole, CEO of Intelligrated Inc., Receives Leadership Award
By Mike Boyer

Fresh out of Harvard with his MBA in 1979, Chris Cole figured there was no way Wall Street would continue to pay outlandish salaries to inexperienced financial analysts.

“I made a miscalculation that has made for a wonderful life, but I probably would have been a lot richer if I had thought differently,” says Cole, co-founder and CEO of Intelligrated Inc. and recipient of the second MANNY Hall of Fame Leadership Award.

Cole, with partner Jim McCarthy, started Intelligrated, a single-source material handling equipment supplier and a three-time MANNY winner, in 2001. Since then, Intelligrated has grown into one of the world’s leading material handling equipment suppliers. The Mason-based company, which had revenues last year of $583 million, employs 2,350 and ranked 11th on Material Handling Magazine’s recent list of top 20 suppliers.

The son of a Philadelphia math teacher and kindergarten teacher, Cole says he wanted to work for a business that made something tangible rather than provide a service.

Cincinnati Milacron Inc., the iconic machine tool maker, was doing well in the late 1970s, and Cole wrote to the CFO and explained that while his background was finance, he wanted to work in manufacturing.

“I honestly think he was intrigued with the idea of having someone in the manufacturing department who understood the concept of cash flow and he hired me,” Cole says.

Tom Moon, who was Cole’s first boss in the old Oakley machine tool works, says, “He was a very intelligent guy who also had a lot of common sense.”

Moon says Milacron was looking to diversify its management ranks and Cole knew the financial side of the business but was also able to relate to the workers on the shop floor.

“He can be very conservative in his day-to-day decision-making but he’s also a risk taker,” says Moon.

Cole eventually ran Milacron’s robotics and machine tool businesses before leaving in 1994 to become CEO of Buschman Co., a West Chester-based supplier of conveyor equipment.

At Buschman, he met McCarthy and they were part of the team that helped turn the business around. Cole was promoted to COO of its parent company before rival FKI Logistex purchased the business in 2000. When FKI brought its own executives in, Cole, McCarthy and a handful of others were let go.

A year later, Cole and McCarthy decided to launch Intelligrated.

“There was a recession and the industry was in a downturn,” says Cole. “But I managed to convince some financial investors that this was the best time to invest and build so we would have products ready when the recession ended.”

What they didn’t count on was the 9/11 attacks, a week after Intelligrated launched.

“We went through a tough period while we developed products,” Cole says. “Fortunately, our investors stood by us.”

The desire to get goods to consumers faster, fed initially by the e-commerce industry and more recently by traditional bricks and mortar retailers, has fueled Intelligrated’s growth.

In 2009 the company more than doubled its size with the acquisition of rival FKI’s material handling equipment business. In 2012, Intelligrated acquired a software company and earlier this year opened an office in China.

In the community, Cole has been active in the American Red Cross, serving as chapter chairman, as well as the United Way and the Cincinnati Arts Festival. He is also on the board of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.