Sonnax 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.”
Associated Press Television News COMMENT Last Updated: 2nd September, 2020 18:15 IST Cycling Worlds Moved To Imola After Swiss Host Backs Out This month’s road cycling world championships were moved to Imola, Italy, on Wednesday after Swiss host Aigle-Martigny backed out because of a government ruling limiting mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. This month’s road cycling world championships were moved to Imola, Italy, on Wednesday after Swiss host Aigle-Martigny backed out because of a government ruling limiting mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.The revised event from Sept. 24-27 will feature only elite men’s and women’s categories, eliminating junior and under-23 races.“The majority of the top athletes in the elite men and women categories are already in Europe, as opposed to their younger counterparts (juniors and under 23) whose national delegations, in a significant number of cases, will not be able to travel to Italy due to travel restrictions imposed in numerous countries,” the International Cycling Union said in a statement.The Swiss organizers of the championships, which were supposed to be centered around Aigle, where the UCI is based, said they could not continue within a federal limit of 1,000 people for major events during the coronavirus pandemic.The races in Imola, which hosted the worlds in 1968, will all begin and end on the city’s auto racing circuit.“I congratulate the Imola organizing committee for the excellent quality of its bidding file which it succeeded in producing in a short lapse of time,” UCI president David Lappartient said. “I would also like to thank the three other candidates Peccioli (Italy), Alba Adriatica (Italy) and the Haute-Saône (France) who also sent solid files to the UCI. … It goes to show that even in this difficult period that we are going through, the UCI world championships are still very attractive for cities and their regions.”The new schedule features the women’s individual time trial on Sept. 24, the men’s time trial on Sept. 25, the women’s road race on Sept. 26 and the men’s road race on Sept. 27 — exactly a week after the Tour de France ends. First Published: 2nd September, 2020 18:14 IST WATCH US LIVE SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By LIVE TV FOLLOW US
DES MOINES — The Iowa legislature has sent the governor a compromise bill on solar energy.Last year, utilities sought permission to charge new fees to customers with solar panels on their homes or businesses. The bill now calls for studying the value of solar power starting in 2027 and establishes some alternative billing methods. Representative Gary Carlson, a Republican from Muscatine, says the compromise was developed by representatives of the state’s electric utilities, pork producers and the solar industry.“It’s gratifying to see that the groups came together and have come with a solution that’s good not only for the growth of the solar industry and utilities, but for Iowans,” Carlson says.Last year Republican Senator Michael Breitbach of Strawberry Point was the lead advocate for charging new fees to customers who tap into the electric power grid when their solar panels aren’t producing power. Breitbach says this year’s deal gives some certainty to solar customers.“It also gives us a pathway forward on how the determination will be on the value of solar,” he says.Senator Eric Giddens, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, says solar power helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels for electricity.“It will strengthen the solar industry in this state, make distributed solar installations more affordable for homeowners, businesses and farmers,” he says.The bill passed the House unanimously Tuesday and the Senate passed it 48-to-zero Wednesday afternoon.