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.”
Source: BBC Unbeaten Premier League leaders Liverpool made it a full year without losing in the top flight as Sheffield United were brushed aside at Anfield.A slice of good fortune enabled the Reds to take an early lead – George Baldock’s slip allowing Andy Robertson to set up Mohamed Salah for a simple close-range finish in just the fourth minute.But there was nothing fortuitous about their win, which Sadio Mane sealed, finishing at the second attempt after being played in by Salah.It maintains the Reds’ 13-point advantage at the top of the division after nearest rivals Leicester and Manchester City both won on New Year’s Day.Jurgen Klopp’s side have dropped just two points from a possible 60 this season.For Chris Wilder’s side, this was a second successive defeat, but they remain firmly in credit from the first half of their league campaign and sit eighth in the table, just two points off fifth.A magnificent yearLiverpool’s 18th consecutive league win and 51st top-flight encounter without defeat in a row at Anfield was another showcase for a side working to near maximum capacity.Despite Klopp labelling as “criminal” a festive fixture schedule that has seen his side play six games in 17 days, the German kept his team changes to a minimum.He did have to make a late alteration, bringing James Milner in for the man he originally drafted in to the side, Naby Keita, who injured himself in the warm-up, but it made little discernable difference.In fact, Milner was superb as one third of a brilliant midfield unit, along with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.Their work-rate, movement and accuracy of passing provided the platform, with Virgil van Dijk alert and efficient on the rare occasions Sheffield United were allowed a kick in the Liverpool half.Salah scored one, but he would have had more but for the combination of some excellent reflex saves from Dean Henderson and the woodwork – the Egyptian’s chipped second-half cross floating past everyone and hitting the inside of the post.Roberto Firmino went close to his first Anfield goal since March with a curling effort just past the post and should have got it later in the second half, but failed to connect with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross from point-blank range.In the end, though, two was more than enough to seal another win and move another step closer to their ultimate goal.Having achieved an ‘Invincibles’ year, Liverpool still have a long way to go to match the ‘Invincibles’ season achieved by Arsenal in 2003-04.However, it would now take an implosion of unprecedented proportions to deny the Reds a first top-flight title in 30 years.
Rafael Nadal beat Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the Rio Open final on his return from injury.The world number one’s victory comes four weeks after he lost the Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka having tweaked his back while warming up.The Spaniard, who survived two match points in the semi-final against Pablo Andujar, never looked under threat.It was Nadal’s 43rd clay title and stretches his record on the surface to 298-21, the best of the Open era.Dolgopolov hit several exquisite winners, especially from the backhand wing, but struggled to find a consistent enough game to trouble Nadal, who made only a handful of unforced errors in the whole match.The world number 57, who upset David Ferrer in the semi-final, rallied in the second set to break Nadal’s serve for the only time when the 13-time Grand Slam winner was serving for the match. But Nadal, 27, took the title with a dominant tie-break.The 2013 French Open champion has not lost on clay since his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters 10 months ago.