“We are committed to long-term growth and we are prepared to make additional investments in in-plant equipment and we certainly anticipate future needs at Tri Aerospace. By the end of this year, we will be adding some additional equipment at Tri Aerospace,” said John Reinke, managing director for Generation Growth Capital.
“We anticipate having to expand the workforce as well,” Reinke said. “We are looking for ways to attract and bring additional skills into manufacturing. It has been a common theme across our portfolio of companies that it is not easy to find skilled personnel in some of these heavy manufacturing, machining industries. It seems to be a lost skill set,” he said.
“Part of our strategy is to look for creative ways to attract people back to the industry and help work with public and private partnerships to provide appropriate training for those folks,” Reinke said.
The acquisition, effective April 19, kept all 32 company employees intact at the Terre Haute facility, 1055 S. Hunt St. David Abrams was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing, from program and contracts manager, and Laurence Cross, former director of operations, was promoted to general manager.
Cross said former owners Robert R. Brown and Mary Beth Prickel will remain with Tri Aerospace, under a contractual agreement to work as consultants, to assist with a smooth transition for management and operation of the company.
“I look forward to the even greater success that the company will have in the future. I think that our choice in buyers couldn't be better. The team at GGC are true professionals. I look forward to working with them,” Robert Brown said in a release.
Tri Aerospace makes machined parts, such as a high-pressure turbine accelerator, which requires intricate brazing as well as close tolerance machining, or a 2,400-pound exhaust case made with electron beam welding, for companies such as General Electric, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell.
Generation Growth Capital Fund II, LP is a Milwaukee-based private equity firm focusing on investments in small businesses to support growth opportunities. Generation Growth Capital funds have investments in eight portfolio companies.
Tri Aerospace was acquired as part of GGC’s “Model 2 Machine Group” investment platform. That model includes M2M Machining, Inc. of Muskego, Wis. and Clinkenbeard & Associates, Inc. of Rockford, Ill. Both of those companies were purchased in October 2011, Reinke said.
Model 2 Machine Group provides original equipment manufacturer customers with rapid prototyping, parts development, near net shape casting development and high tolerance machining.
Reinke said some growth at Tri Aerospace can come from the use of specialized equipment at its facility that can also be used for products at other companies in its group. “They [Tri Aerospace] have some very high-tolerance machining capability. We can leverage some of that on the heavy truck side,” such as for large turbo chargers for heavy trucks and construction equipment, he said.
Tri Aerospace LLC was formed in 1998 after the purchase of D&S Manufacturing and Engineering in Brazil in Clay County. The company’s Clay County machine shop burned to the ground in 2000. The company then designed and built its present facility in 2001, moving into the building in June 2002.