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.”
11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is now making the .creditunion top-level domain to eligible credit unions based in the U.S.The web addresses will not be automatically granted to those who apply. Each application will be subjected to a fairly rigorous evaluation and approval process, managed by CUNA. Domain names must correspond to a credit union’s name or brand in order to be obtained.U.S.-based credit unions with federally-registered trademarks can begin the application process immediately. Everyone else will have to wait until after June 6, 2017.Credit unions interested in registering a domain can get started at CUNA’s website. continue reading »
Stoke boss Mark Hughes hopes Bojan Krkic can follow the lead of fellow Spaniard and ex-Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas by developing into an established Barclays Premier League star. But having been initially outraged, Hughes was then impressed that Fabregas apologised to him for the run-in. Recalling the incident, Hughes said: “I don’t think I had any strikers, so I just parked the bus basically. “He (Fabregas) wasn’t happy, but he actually hung around until after I had done all my press to apologise, which showed class.” Bojan sustained a hip injury in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace but has trained this week and Hughes expects him to be available to face Chelsea. Defender Marc Muniesa has recovered from the hamstring complaint which prevented him from being involved in the Palace match, while Hughes is optimistic a knee problem picked up by Stephen Ireland will not rule the midfielder out of Monday’s contest. Thibaut Courtois should be fit to return for Chelsea. The Belgium goalkeeper has missed the Blues’ last two matches with a muscular injury and manager Jose Mourinho expects him to return at the Britannia Stadium. Didier Drogba should overcome an ankle injury sustained in the Capital One Cup win against Derby, while defender Kurt Zouma is available for selection after suffering a head injury on Tuesday. Boss Jose Mourinho underlined the need for referee Neil Swarbrick to control the game. “I like [the test of going to Stoke],” he said. “I like, but it’s no problem with a good referee that can understand what is aggressivity, or when the aggression finishes and start the rules of the game. No problem at all. “We need a good referee, yes. I think we need a good, experienced referee who can understand exactly that. “What happened in both boxes in this kind of matches needs important decisions. “What is aggressivity and what goes beyond, go beyond the rules of the game. That is important, but I like it, yes.” The referee’s performance was a theme Mourinho kept revisiting, from being asked about Courtois dealing with crosses to and whether Hughes’ side is as aggressive as that of the Tony Pulis era. “We have our own identity,” the Chelsea boss said. “We want to play football. “We play beautiful football and that’s what we want to do, but we can compete with physicality. “That’s no problem for us. The referee is there and I’m not worried because the referee is there.” Press Association Hughes – once a player for the Catalan club himself – can see similarities between the two. And ahead of Stoke’s Barclays Premier League home clash with leaders Chelsea on Monday, the Welshman said: “Fabregas has been a top player for a long time, but in the future, who knows how good Bojan can be? “Nobody knows that at the moment, but we are all encouraged by his ability. “Fabregas is a player I have a great deal of respect for. We had a little set-to one year, but I was really impressed by his behaviour after and I have a lot of time for him as a person and as a player. “So I feel there are also similarities between their personalities. “They are both outstanding players and humble young men as well.” The “set-to” Hughes referred to came in 2007 after an FA Cup tie between the Blackburn side he was managing at the time and Fabregas’ Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, a turgid 0-0 draw. Fabregas was said to have made a comment to Hughes at the final whistle questioning how a former Barcelona player could employ such negative tactics in a game. Forward Bojan has made an impressive start to life in English football following his summer switch to the Potters from Barca, emerging as the most exciting element of the Staffordshire outfit’s attack. And the season so far has also seen some hugely accomplished performances from Fabregas, the former Arsenal midfielder who secured a return to the Premier League in June by leaving Barcelona for Chelsea.