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.”
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch may have played his final NFL game Sunday. For real this time.The 33-year-old, who came out of retirement late this season to join a depleted Seattle offense, ran for two touchdowns in his team’s 28-23 divisional-round defeat to the Packers. Afterward, Lynch used his postgame media availability to offer advice to younger players in the league, his own experiences providing urgency to the message. Lynch said his peers should be mindful of saving their money and preserving their health in order to lead fulfilling post-football lives.Lynch does not usually speak at length in front of reporters because it makes him uncomfortable, so this marked a departure from his standard approach to having microphones in his face.Lynch used the rest of his time at the podium to tell fellow players to take care of their minds and finances. pic.twitter.com/vMhPA5fnUy— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) January 13, 2020MORE: Packers avoid another postseason choke against SeahawksHis postgame press conference went like this:Reporter: How would you describe your comeback, Marshawn?“It was solid,” he said.Reporter: And scoring four touchdowns in three games?“Pretty solid.”Reporter: What’s going through your mind right now?“Shoot, we lost.”Reporter: Come back next year?“I mean, shoot, we’ll see.”Then Lynch decided to deliver a message to young NFL players:“Look,” he said, “I’ll say like this though: This is a vulnerable time for a lot of these young dudes, you feel me? They don’t be taking care of their chicken right, you feel me? So if it was me, or if I had a opportunity to let these little young (teammates) know something, I’d say take care of y’all money, African, because that (stuff) don’t last forever now.“I’ve been on the other side of retirement and it’s good when you get over there and you can do what the (expletive) you want to. So I tell y’all right now while y’all in it: Take care of y’all bread, so when y’all done you can go ahead and take care of yourself. So while y’all in it right now, take care of y’all’s bodies, take care of y’all’s chicken, take care of y’all’s mental. Because, look, we ain’t lasting that long. I had a couple players that I played with that they’re no longer here no more — they’re no longer — so you feel me? Take care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies, y’all chicken, so when y’all ready to walk away y’all walk away and you’ll be able to do what y’all want to do.”(If you’re confused, “chicken” means money.) Lynch also shared a special moment with Aaron Rodgers after the game.Marshawn Lynch just walked into the #Packers locker room to congratulate Aaron Rodgers. Can’t say I’ve seen that before— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) January 13, 2020In unique Marshawn Lynch fashion, the running back just entered the Packers’ locker room for a jersey exchange with Aaron Rodgers. They’re signing one another’s game uniforms.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 13, 2020Marshawn Lynch just walked into the #Packers locker room with his jersey. He gave fellow Cal alum Aaron Rodgers a big hug. Rodgers took his jersey from his locker and they just went down a hallway to presumably exchange and share some words.— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 13, 2020If Sunday was Lynch’s last game, then he will finish his career with 85 regular-season rushing touchdowns and 12 postseason rushing touchdowns.He will also go down as one of the most popular athletes in the history of Seattle, largely for his ability to come off as genuine in an industry that sometimes lacks authentic personalities. In that way, his potentially final words as a player were fitting.