By LOU WILIN
Employment grew at several of Hancock County’s major industries last year, and it was stable among most of the rest.
Whirlpool Corp. led the way, adding nearly 200 jobs to meet increased demand for dishwashers. Marathon Petroleum Corp. added 100 jobs as the refiner continued its robust growth since being spun off from Marathon Oil in 2011.
The auto industry comeback generated 52 new jobs at Nissin Brake, which makes brake systems, engine mount brackets and castings for Honda. G.S.W., which manufactures wire harnesses for various automotive uses, mainly for Toyota, added 32 workers.
Ball Corp., which produces aluminum and steel cans and tops for beverages and food, added 30 jobs with the addition of two product lines.
Nine jobs were added in the past year by Rowmark, which produces plastic sheets for a variety of uses, including signs, plaques, trophy plates, hotel hospitality carts, dashboards and interior panels for heavy trucks, boats and recreational vehicles.
Garner Transportation Group added six. It would have added more but for a national shortage of truck drivers, said Garner Transportation President Sherri Garner Brumbaugh.
Looking ahead, some are planning to add jobs this year, like G.S.W., Rowmark and Kuss Filtration, which makes filters for automotive uses, pavers, snowblowers, small appliances, and agricultural, construction and mining equipment. The three companies declined to report how many employees they are considering adding.
Marathon Petroleum this year will begin an $80 million expansion of its office complex, adding two office buildings and two multi-level parking garages. One building will be a six-story headquarters for pipeline subsidiary MPLX LP, which will add 150 Findlay jobs by December 2017.
Advanced Drainage Systems
401 Olive St., Findlay
Local products: Storm water management systems
Local workforce: 212
The world’s largest producer of corrugated plastic pipe — used in storm water and sanitary sewer systems in stadiums, highways, building complexes and cities — keeps getting bigger.
In the past year, it opened a new factory in Brazil for its joint venture with Tigre S.A. and added distribution supply yards in Morrisburg, Ontario, and in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Advanced Drainage Systems also added a fourth manufacturing line to its Saint-Germain, Quebec, plant.
It also bought two competitors.
It acquired a controlling interest in a new joint venture with BaySaver Technologies, of Mount Airy, Md. The new company, BaySaver, continues to be based in Mount Airy and focuses on storm water filtration and separation technologies.
Advanced Drainage Systems also bought Inlet & Pipe Protection, of Naperville, Ill., maker of storm water inlet filters used to trap debris.
“Due to the rebuilding of the infrastructure both here and abroad, the demand for our products continues to increase,” said Marketing Director Tori Durliat.
Under Environmental Protection Agency pressure, many cities are aggressively installing separate pipes for sewer and storm water to reduce the amount of untreated wastewater that goes into waterways, Durliat said.
Advanced Drainage Systems last year received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve “Above and Beyond” award at its Ludlow, Mass., factory. The award recognizes employers who have exceeded legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits.
The company also continued to sponsor the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Soil and Water Engineering Award, which annually recognizes an industry leader for contributions and leadership in the science and management of water.
Advanced Drainage Systems has 57 domestic and international manufacturing plants and 28 distribution centers. Its products include corrugated high-density polyethylene pipe; a triple-walled, double-gasketed sanitary sewer pipe made of higher-grade materials, giving it a longer life; fittings and other storm water system parts for large commercial parking lots and housing developments; and special fittings permitting different types of pipes to be connected.
It also produces fabrics which stabilize soil and help subsurface drainage.
12340 Allen Township 99, Findlay
Local products: Packaging
Local workforce: 400
Ball Corp.’s Findlay plant, which produces aluminum and steel cans and tops for beverages and food, added 30 jobs last year.
The job growth was spurred by the $12 million addition of two production lines, one to manufacture tops for beer cans and the other to produce tops for soft drink cans. Those additions also led to significant production increases.
Production is likely to increase again this year due to the additional product lines, and employment is expected to remain stable.
In top management changes last year, Glenn Jost became plant manager.
Ball Corp.’s Findlay plant last year was recertified as SQF, the Safe Quality Food certification, the highest designation of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Food Safety Supplier Assurance Code in the world food industry.
The Findlay plant celebrated its 40th anniversary in September with an employee and family open house.
The Findlay plant also won the Supplier of the Year award from MillerCoors.
Findlay Publishing Co.
701 W. Sandusky St., Findlay
Local products and services: Print, radio and electronic media
Local workforce: N/A
Employment is expected to be stable this year for the parent company of The Courier, The Review Times, WKXA-FM, WFIN-AM, Internet Services and Allegra. It also is reporting a positive profit outlook for 2014.
New websites for The Courier and The Review Times were rolled out in January 2014, with new e-editions and digital apps. A new membership model also was started, offering digital and print access and a readers’ reward program involving coupons.
In 2013, the company sold radio station WRBI in Batesville, Ind.
Garner Transportation Group
9291 Hancock County 313, Findlay
Local services: Trucking
Local workforce: 148
Garner Transportation added six employees last year, and that total is expected to remain steady or increase slightly in 2014.
Operations are expected to remain stable this year.
“Garner is expecting the trucking industry to have a modest increase in business this year,” Garner Transportation Group President Sherri Garner Brumbaugh said.
Revenue and profits will continue to be limited by a driver shortage and new federal regulations limiting drivers’ hours and when they can drive.
The driver shortage is the biggest challenge facing Garner Transportation Group and other trucking companies, Garner Brumbaugh said.
“Truck driving positions are open across this country,” she said.
Another head wind: fuel costs are forecast to rise.
Despite the constraints, Garner invested $4.2 million in 25 replacement trucks and 100 trailers in 2013. It plans to replace 25 trucks and 25 trailers this year.
It has little choice but to replace aging equipment.
“Those that don’t are finding it difficult to retain and attract drivers as well as keep and gain business,” Brumbaugh said.
Newer equipment also is important for safety, improving a company’s federal safety compliance scores, Brumbaugh said. She said Garner has one of the best safety records among its peers.
1801 Production Drive, Findlay
Local products: Automotive wiring harnesses
Local workforce: 192
Profit, employment and production are all expected to grow this year for the assembler of wire harnesses for various automotive uses, mostly for Toyota Motor Corp.
That’s after three straight years in which G.S.W. added more than 25 employees. Last year, G.S.W. added 32 employees, including assembly workers, production engineers and information technology personnel.
With profits projected to grow by 10 percent this year, more assemblers will be hired. But General Manager Joseph Nemrava declined to say how many.
G.S.W. reported struggling last year with a shortage of qualified applicants for engineering and tooling positions. But the difficulties were related to good business news.
Sales grew by 25 percent and profits “met our expectations,” Nemrava said.
He credited the performance to new technology, a dedicated workforce, increased productivity and competitiveness.
“We were pleased to share our success with all employees in the form of a year-end bonus,” Nemrava said.
G.S.W. is planning to add new product lines toward the end of 2014. Nemrava declined to give further details. Last year, it added a $175,000 assembly line for a new speed sensor wiring harness.
It also reduced energy use and cost with a $250,000 replacement of its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Last year, G.S.W. won The Companies of Tall Timbers Industrial Park Small Business Manufacturing Excellence Award from the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance’s Chamber of Commerce. In winning the award, G.S.W. also received official recognition from Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
It also won the New Product Launch Award from DENSO Thermal Systems North American Center, Battle Creek, Mich., for accommodating the customer’s build schedule and other processes.
G.S.W. this year will celebrate its 25th year in Findlay. It was one of the first Japanese companies at Tall Timbers Industrial Park.
Hearthside Food Solutions
312 Rader Road, McComb
Local products: Baked goods
Local workforce: N/A
The manufacturer of Nabisco brand cookies and other baked goods, in McComb, reported having a stable year in 2013. It expects its business to continue to expand this year with customer needs.
“We will continue to invest new capital all across the plant. No specific major projects for 2014 are identified at this time,” said Plant Manager John Aldrich. “We are always making new capital investments. Sometimes they are new production lines or other specific projects. Last year, most new capital went into maintaining and improving existing infrastructure so we can continue to provide high levels of customer service and new capabilities.”
The McComb plant last year won multiple internal company awards for its safety programs and safety record.
While the Hearthside Food operation in McComb had no management changes in 2013, it suffered a loss on Jan. 28, 2014, with the death of the bakery’s founder, Fritz Meyers, 91. Meyers in 1962 founded Consolidated Industries Biscuit Co. in McComb, and then sold the business in the 1980s.
“While he had not been active in the plant in many years, it was his vision that originally formed this business,” Aldrich said. “Today we carry on the tradition he began, both the products we produce and in being a good corporate citizen in McComb.”
2150 Industrial Drive, Findlay
Local products: Filters for automotive and other equipment
Local workforce: 240
Production is expected to be stable this year for the maker of filters for automotive uses, pavers, snowblowers, small appliances, and agricultural, construction and mining equipment. Kuss Filtration is forecasting a positive profit outlook for 2014.
It plans to add production workers, and as of early this month was recruiting for five jobs: market product engineer, product engineer, maintenance supervisor, manufacturing engineer, master scheduler/sales forecaster.
Production levels last year were stable and increased toward year-end with the addition of two production cells and several more transferred from Kuss operations in Europe.
Marathon Petroleum Corp.
539 S. Main St., Findlay
Local products and services: Petroleum
Local workforce: 1,900
Marathon Petroleum added 100 employees last year to bring its total in Findlay to 1,900. It expects employment to remain stable this year.
Its main business is to buy crude and refine it into gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products, and then market the products. That’s how Marathon Petroleum earns the vast majority of its profits. It is planning to grow its Speedway and pipeline subsidiaries.
Pipeline subsidiary MPLX LP will add an estimated 150 Findlay jobs by December 2017. By then, Marathon Petroleum will have spent $80 million to add two office buildings, including a six-story MPLX headquarters, and two multi-level parking garages to its complex.
This year, MPLX is developing a new 49-mile Cornerstone pipeline, connecting multiple oil production operations in the Utica shale region to Marathon’s Canton refinery. The line will start from Cadiz, in Harrison County, and run northwest to Canton. The line also will connect with other MPLX pipelines in the area.
Marathon Petroleum also is completing an engineering and design study for potential investment in equipment to produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel at the Garyville, La., refinery. If approved by company officials, the project would start in early 2018.
Marathon’s refineries processed 33 percent more crude oil last year, or 1.6 million barrels per day.
Its refining capacity was increased nearly 40 percent last year to 1.71 million barrels per day with the purchase of the Galveston Bay, Texas, refinery from BP. The Galveston Bay refinery, bought for $1.49 billion last February, added 451,000 barrels per day of refinery capacity. The purchase included other related assets, including four light product terminals, refinery-related pipelines and the assignment of branded-wholesaler contracts for about 1,200 Marathon retail stations in the Southeast.
Marathon Petroleum also bought from Mitsui & Co., for $75 million, an interest in three ethanol companies: The Andersons Clymers Ethanol, The Andersons Marathon Ethanol and The Andersons Albion Ethanol.
In addition, Speedway expanded into two new states, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Speedway stores are now located in nine Midwest states.
In top management changes, effective Jan. 1, 2014:
• Garry L. Peiffer, executive vice president for corporate planning and investor and government relations, retired.
• Pamela K.M. Beall was named senior vice president for corporate planning, government and public affairs and president of MPLX, Marathon Petroleum’s midstream affiliate. Beall had been vice president for investor relations and government and public affairs.
• Timothy T. Griffith was named vice president for finance and investor relations, and treasurer. Griffith had been vice president for finance, and treasurer,
In addition, John R. Haley was appointed vice president for tax on June 1, 2013.
In other events:
• Marathon Petroleum maintained its status as a Responsible Care company, demonstrating voluntary commitment to continual improvement in health, environment, safety and security. It has reduced safety incidents by 80 percent and reduced total criteria pollutant emissions across its operations by 50 percent since 2002.
• The refineries and other facilities garnered Facility Safety Certificates from the American Chemistry Council for site safety with more than 20,000 exposure hours worked. Forty-two Marathon Petroleum facilities received Certificates of Excellence in 2013 by having zero fatalities, zero days away, and zero restricted duty cases among both employees and contractors in 2012.
Six facilities received Certificates of Honor and three received Certificates of Achievement.
Four refineries, Detroit, Robinson, Ill., Garyville and Canton, received the American Chemistry Council Energy Efficiency Award for reducing emissions and conserving energy.
• Marathon Petroleum continued to work to implement processes and install equipment to increase energy efficiency and avoid increasing emissions. Two of Marathon’s refineries, Canton and Garyville, received EPA Energy Star recognition for superior energy efficiency in 2013. Marathon Petroleum has earned 25 of the 31 Energy Star recognitions the EPA has awarded to refineries since 2005.
• Five Marathon Petroleum facilities, including the Findlay offices, earned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s highest rating for effective safety and health management systems and for keeping injury and illness rates below average for their respective industries.
The Voluntary Protection Program Star designation also was achieved by Marathon Petroleum’s refineries in Detroit, Garyville, Robinson, and Texas City, Texas.
• The Canton, Catlettsburg and Detroit refineries, along with the terminal, transport and rail organization, received the Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award for having zero non-accidental releases.
• The American Heart Association recognized Marathon Petroleum as an employer who champions the health of its employees and strives to create a culture of physical activity and health in the workplace. Marathon received the highest distinction, platinum level, of the American Heart Association Fit Friendly Company Award in 2013. It has received the platinum level distinction of the award since first applying in 2012. Only 28 companies in the five-state Great Rivers Affiliate Region and 281 companies nationwide have received platinum recognition.
• Marathon Petroleum maintains 18 habitat sites certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council. The sites are certified as either Wildlife at Work or Corporate Lands for Learning sites, and in some cases, both. In 2013, Marathon Petroleum’s Robinson refinery; Terminal, Transport and Rail; and Marathon Pipeline received Wildlife Habitat Certification.
National Lime & Stone Co.
551 Lake Cascades Parkway, Findlay
Local products: Stone and building products
Local workforce: N/A
In 2013, National Lime and Stone Co. achieved record”‘setting sales and profits, the company reported.
Sales volume increased 12 percent, though it was still well below pre”‘recession levels. Ongoing focus on cost control and efficiency paid off in record operating income, National Lime reported. In addition, recent acquisitions and investments in the company’s rail”‘distribution business have expanded its footprint, as well as its products and service offerings.
Sales continued to improve largely because of construction associated with the Utica shale operations in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, National Lime said. Those areas are attracting energy companies, which are chasing plentiful quantities of natural gas, natural gas liquids and condensate. The number of wells permitted and drilled keeps escalating, and areas being drilled continue to expand. Perhaps most important, National Lime said, companies are taking steps to build more infrastructure for the increased levels of production that are anticipated.
As energy”‘related construction has escalated, National Lime and Stone has become a leading supplier of aggregates to the energy companies and their contractors. National Lime said it is well”‘positioned with an extensive network of rail”‘served distribution centers, and rail”‘based quarries, which have direct service from four primary rail carriers and multiple secondary connections.
In markets outside the energy sector, demand growth has been smaller. However, the residential market showed some promise in 2013, especially in Columbus, where housing development is beginning to recover, National Lime and Stone said.
Also in Columbus, National Lime participated in several large nonresidential projects, including construction of several big-box retail stores.
In addition, demand for the company’s industrial minerals products remains strong. National Lime is the leading supplier of dolomitic limestone to the U.S. glass manufacturing industry, and it added the largest float glass plant in the U.S. to its customer base in 2013, the company reported.
Strong demand from the agricultural market also continued to benefit National Lime.
Infrastructure construction was the largest overall market for the company’s products in 2013, National Lime reported. Road”‘building was an especially important part of the overall sales mix, as National Lime supplied a number of high”‘profile projects.
However, government investment in infrastructure continues to fall short of the nation’s needs for new bridges, additional highway capacity and basic maintenance, the company said.
At the outset of the Great Recession, the company redoubled its focus on efficiency and operational improvement, and National Lime reports those efforts have been an important driver of back”‘to”‘back years of record”‘setting earnings. Although cost of sales increased in 2013 due to higher production volumes and rail”‘freight expense, which were necessary to fulfill higher sales demand, these costs were partially offset by lower per”‘unit manufacturing costs.
Growth continues to be a high priority of the company’s management team. Over the past several years, corporate development initiatives have contributed to the company’s increases in sales and earnings, and these initiatives have strengthened National Lime’s competitive position and standing in the industry, the company said.
It also reported that the recent expansion of its rail”‘distribution network has been an important source of growth. The network focuses on markets that do not have a native source of high”‘quality limestone. Since 2008, it has expanded to 10 distribution centers. The company’s market footprint now blankets eastern Ohio and includes portions of western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.
The company’s newest rail”‘distribution facility, in Martins Ferry, has enabled it to serve Utica shale hotspots in southeast Ohio and northern West Virginia and has made significant contributions in its first full year of business.
The company also continued to pursue acquisitions to strengthen and expand its aggregates footprint. Early in 2013, it bought Chesterville Sand & Gravel, which is located east of Marion and adjacent to Interstate 71 in Chesterville. The Chesterville operation expands the company’s market footprint and range of products in central Ohio. In 2013, it gave National Lime and Stone strategic advantages in winning a large Interstate 71 project.
In January 2014, National Lime completed its purchase of Lash Paving, an asphalt and paving business that operates three asphalt plants in Martins Ferry, Cadiz and Empire, all in eastern Ohio. Its capabilities includes river aggregates transfer, asphalt production, paving and trucking. Lash has been an important customer, and the acquisition follows extensive discussions with its founder and owner.
The Lash business will enhance National Lime and Stone’s capabilities to serve public and private paving projects in eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia, and it provides important benefits with National Lime’s rail”‘distribution network, National Lime said.
To enhance the growing scope and complexity of the company operations, National Lime and Stone reported that it has added a number of high”‘quality people over the past several years. It added numerous personnel to its rail”‘distribution business, and the recent acquisitions have brought managers and employees who are providing new expertise.
To lead the company’s new asphalt and paving operation associated with the Lash acquisition, National Lime and Stone has hired Brian Varrato as vice president for asphalt manufacturing and paving operations. Varrato has extensive experience in the road”‘building business.
In 2013, National Lime negotiated new collective bargaining agreements with its two labor unions. The new four”‘year agreements enable National Lime to maintain its long”‘term focus on managing the cost of health care and retirement benefits.
National Lime’s employees have demonstrated commitment to safety and environmental stewardship. For 2013, the company’s safety record improved with a decline in the accident rate as a percent of hours worked, the company reported.
In addition, National Lime and Stone received an award from the Ohio Aggregates Association for its environmental reclamation efforts at the new Chesterville location.
1901 Industrial Drive, Findlay
Local products: Automotive
Local workforce: 1,114
The brake systems and engine mount brackets maker added 52 employees in 2013 as the auto industry continued to thrive. This year is expected to be another strong year. Honda Motor Co., which buys 90 percent of Nissin’s production, is reaching record production levels, Nissin reported.
Nissin will be producing new parts for Acura TL and for Subaru Legacy, and its sales are projected to grow by 4 percent to $510 million.
Employment is expected to remain stable this year after Nissin added 450 employees in the past three years.
Nissin will be doing nearly $15 million in retooling. It will spend $5.4 million to replace equipment; $3.5 million in new equipment and tooling in preparation for production of brake system parts for the 2016 model year Honda Civic; $3 million to increase production capacity; $1.5 million in improvements and new equipment for quality verifications; $875,000 for production equipment and tools for the 2015 model Pilot; and $600,000 for production tools for the 2015 model CR-V.
It made $17.5 million in equipment and machining investments in 2013, including: $6.9 million for a new production line for Acura TL products; $1.9 million for machining equipment to produce a Subaru brake part; $875,000 for a new production line for a Harley-Davidson brake system; and $950,000 for equipment upgrades.
Wil Schroeder was promoted from general manager to chief operating officer of the Findlay plant this year. Ken Lee was promoted from senior manager to vice president of operations.
Nissin last October celebrated its 25th anniversary in Findlay.
2040 Industrial Drive, Findlay
Local products: Plastic sheets for signs, engraving and thermoforming
Local workforce: 136
Though it did not disclose a number, Rowmark is planning to add jobs in Findlay to support its plans for growth in new and existing markets, which will involve several new products. As a result, production also is forecast to rise.
Rowmark produces plastic sheets for a variety of uses, including signs, plaques, trophy plates, hotel hospitality carts, dashboards and interior panels for heavy trucks, boats and recreational vehicles.
Production increased in 2013, mainly from growth in sales in Europe and in Rowmark’s customized sheet division, Premier Material Concepts, which produces plastic sheets for nontraditional purposes for power sports, heavy truck, recreational vehicle, agricultural, marine and construction uses.
Rowmark last year launched several new products, including new film patterns for marine, recreational vehicle and heavy truck decorative interiors for the Premier Material Concepts and the thermoforming market.
For the engraving/signage/personal identification/awards market, Rowmark introduced several new products including UltraGrave, a versatile, highly-durable sheet material for engraving; the Hardwood Collection, a product offering of real wood substrates for laser engraving; FusionGrafix, a product comprised of patterned cap layers and colored cores; and RackStar, a modular engraving cutting table system for dimensional products.
Rowmark undertook several equipment upgrades last year, but declined to disclose the costs.
In management changes last year, Kurt Ohlrich was appointed chief financial officer and Eric Short was named vice president of operations.
Rowmark last year was purchased by private equity firm Bertram Capital of San Mateo, Calif. Bertram is expected to improve or enlarge the business, Rowmark Chief Executive Officer Duane Jebbett has said.
Rowmark had been owned by private equity firm Clearview Capital, of Old Greenwich, Conn.
4901 N. Main St., Findlay
Local products: Dishwashers
Local workforce: 2,215
Increased demand for dishwashers generated nearly 200 additional jobs at the Findlay plant, the world’s largest dishwasher manufacturer. Production is projected to remain stable this year.
Whirlpool last year invested about $10 million for equipment, product and quality improvements. It also launched new Kenmore and KitchenAid dishwashers.
In 2013, Whirlpool’s North American Dishwasher Category, for which the Findlay plant does most of the work, was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Quality.
Wilin: 419-427-8413 Send an E-mail to Lou Wilin