Sonnax owner sells to managers

first_imgSonnax Industries,by Kevin Kelley Vermont Business Magazine The co-founder of one of Vermont’s fastest growing manufacturing companies has sold the business to its top two executives.Sonnax, a Bellow Falls automotive parts maker recently named Vermont’s Exporter of the Year, changed hands for an undisclosed sum in a deal announced last week. Neil Joseph, who founded the company with his father in 1978, made the sale along with minority shareholder David Landa.The new owners are Tommy Harmon and David Bedard, who had worked, respectively, as chief operating officer and vice president of sales and marketing. Harmon, who becomes president and CEO, had formed a 50-50 partnership with Bedard, now the company’s chief operating officer.”We really saw this as a great opportunity for my partner and me to continue growing the business,” Harmon said.Sonnax has recorded double-digit growth rates for each of the past few years. And Harmon says he expects expansion to continue at a 10-12 percent annual pace. With 165 employees in Bellows Falls and business operations in 60 countries, Sonnax has revenues of about $36 million a year.It is this performance that led the Vermont Business and Industry Expo to honor Sonnax in May as its Exporter of the Year.The company makes automatic transmission components, including a governing device that Joseph designed around the time that Sonnax was launched.Joseph was unavailable for comment this week, but in an interview in April he attributed the company’s success partly to its recruitment of a multilingual sales staff. “Being able to speak to customers in their own languages helps us greatly in the markets where we want to be,” Joseph said then.He added that Sonnax was committed to staying in Vermont despite the difficulty of hiring locally for some positions. State economic development officials awarded Sonnax $725,000 in tax credits over five years in a successful attempt to persuade the company to expand in Vermont rather than in Tennessee, as it had considered doing. In return, Sonnax said it plans to add 75 workers in the next few years.The new owners told The Rutland Herald that they intend to sustain the company’s policy of paying livable wages. Harmon said no full-time worker makes less than $10 an hour, while the average annual salary exceeds $30,000.Joseph, 48, will stay on as a consultant for the next three years. In a prepared statement, he expressed satisfaction at having sold the business to Harmon and Bedard, “who I believe have the ability to take this company to the next level.”last_img read more

Badgers play Iona to kick off tournament

first_imgANDREW SCHORR/Herald photoAfter beating up on lowly SIU-Edwardsville Tuesday, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team will participate in the Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands, starting today against Iona.The Badgers faced two unranked teams in their first two games, but in the tournament, there is a pair of ranked squads aside from Wisconsin. No. 17 Miami (FL) and No. 2 Connecticut are both possible foes the Badgers could face if all goes well.“You have to get good at what you do, and you have to try to excel at things you’ve been working on in practice,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “You have to make the other team stop. Obviously there will be weakness down there, and that’s why people get into these types of tournaments — to get better.”Wisconsin will be following a 30-point rout of SIU-Edwardsville that came after a single-digit scare against Long Beach State. Going into the tournament, senior forward Marcus Landry is pleased the team was able to win like it did on Tuesday.“A win is a win,” Landry said. “If you win by one point, it’s still a good way to go into a tournament. Hopefully guys are confident and feel good about themselves and are going in to make a statement. … I think it most definitely helped us going into this tournament.”Even though the tournament takes place several weeks before the Big Ten season begins, Ryan feels the tough competition is a good way to prepare for conference play.“As the three games play out, we’ll obviously be trying to get in some teaching sessions, but the other teams are trying to do the same thing,” Ryan said. “Everybody’s trying to get ready for their conference.”Last year, the Badgers won the early season America’s Classic Tournament and went on to win the Big Ten title. However, the field did not possess a single ranked team and took place at the Kohl Center. This year, Ryan expects much more difficult competition.“Now we’re going down to a tournament where there are just a lot of good teams, period,” Ryan said. “There will be size, there will be quickness, strength — the caliber of teams in this thing just might be the toughest one that they’ve had. We’ve just got to go down there and mix it up with those teams and see what happens.”Landry feels the Badgers — whose trips have included a visit to Rome — traveling to the Virgin Islands will be a good experience for the team’s younger players who have yet to be on a team trip in their careers at UW.“It’s obviously a great place to be, in the Virgin Islands,” Landry said. “For the most part though, it’s a business trip, and we’re going down there to have fun. There are some great teams down there.“Especially for the younger guys, this being their first trip … being away from school for about a week will prepare them for later on in tournament play,” he continued. “It really prepares them for what we’re going to be doing later in the season.”Though the Badgers have a possible bout with Connecticut in the final round of the tournament, they will first have to get by Iona and either Valparaiso or San Diego first.“There are a lot of good teams,” Landry said. “Nothing’s going to come easy.”last_img read more

Gold Fields PGA Championship: Nigeria’s Christopher Francis takes lead on Day 1

first_imgNigerian’s Christopher Francis has taken the lead after day one of the 2019 Gold Fields PGA Championships with an opening 65.He is followed by Zimbabwe’s Visitor Mapwanya with 68 in the professional category of the 6th edition of the championship.The day one of the championship recorded shocking results as the foreigners dominated the first round on Wednesday.In previous years, Ghanaian golfers had made strong starts on the way to claiming the trophy.Meanwhile, notable golfers like former champions Vincent Torgah and Emos Korblah played their way to the 4th and 5th spot respectively.About 63 Professionals from Africa are battling for the ultimate prize of GHC 40,000.00 in this four day event.Day 2 of the championship continues today {Thursday| in Damang.Find below the full results f Day 1last_img read more