Global Fastener News

2004 FIN – Kaminski: Ready to Find New Success

October 28
00:00 2012

February 24, 2004 FIN – When Robert Kaminski decided to retire in 2001 the 65-year old had a well-earned break ahead of him. He’d grown his fastener company, Continental/Midland, from annual revenue of $20 million to $85 million. Along the way he’d transformed the manufacturer from a company losing about $5 million each year to what he termed a “very profitable business.” Then in 1999 Kaminski sold Continental/Midland to Cordant Technologies in a deal he thought would expand his company even further. But a year later Cordant was acquired by Alcoa Inc.

Soon Kaminski witnessed a series of troubling consolidations by Alcoa’s new management team that were leading to a potential business “disaster.”
Within a year he decided he’d seen enough. “I couldn’t stand around and watch my baby get battered,” he told FIN. So Kaminski retired to spend more time with his wife of more than 40 years, Mary Ann.
Over the next couple of years he also became an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church and became active in his community, visiting the sick and elderly and performing funerals when needed.
But when Alcoa put Continental/Midland and some other fastener manufacturers up for sale in early 2003, Kaminski saw an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. With the help of his sons David Kaminski and Bob Kaminski and longtime colleague Jack Woodruff, Kaminski assembled a deal that put him back at the helm of Continental/Midland. Kaminski told FIN he’d retired in frustration after Alcoa took over. He says his prediction about Huck Automotive Fasteners came true over the next two years.
According to Kaminski, the businesses went from $225 million in annual revenue to just over $100 million in sales, and were no longer profitable. “They screwed it up. They started shutting down auto plants. Anyone in this business knows you don’t shut down auto plants,” he explained.
Kaminski is quick to point out that Alcoa did some things right. They invested a great deal of money into Continental/Midland and other fastener facilities to update equipment. “These plants are better than when I sold them,” he noted.
But leadership is critical to success, because it sets the tone for the entire business, Kaminski stated.
As Kaminski likes to say, “We’re going to be better tomorrow than we are today.” That philosophy is what the Kaminski team hopes to bring back to the fastener makers – good management trading on good names.
One of his first acts as new CEO of the companies was to change the names back to what the companies were called when they were so successful: Continental/Midland, Jacobsen, and MSD Stamping. “We put the names back in place because these names mean something. Our customers know we deliver quality products,” Kaminski stated. That reputation helped Continental/Midland grow revenue at least 15% for six years in a row during the 1990s, a record that makes Kaminski proud.
Kaminski declined to venture a prediction on the auto market, but he was quick to venture a guess at Continental/Midland’s future. The companies earn about $100 million in annual sales, a figure Kaminski wants to double within three years. “We’re going to turn this place into a winner again.”
Kaminski is especially confident now that his sons will be working directly under him. David Kaminski is president and chief operating officer at the new companies, and Bob Kaminski is vice president of sales and marketing. “We have all the pieces, but we have to prove to our customers that we can deliver,” he claimed.
And what about retirement? Kaminski said he’s in no hurry to slow down. “At 68, I’m excited and challenged by this opportunity.” 2004/2012 Fastener Industry News
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2004 FIN � Kaminski Group Acquires Huck Automotive Fasteners
February 24, 2004 FIN – A group headed by Robert Kaminski and other former employees of Continental/Midland have purchased the Huck Automotive Fasteners Group from Alcoa Inc.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Kaminski owned Continental Midland from 1986-1999, when he sold the company to Cordant Technologies for a reported $106 million. Alcoa bought Cordant the following year for about $3 billion.
The Continental/Midland acquisition includes a 300,000 sq ft facility in Park Forest, IL; a 103,000 sq ft plant in Valparaiso, IN (formerly known as Midwest Fasteners); a 280,000 sq ft factory in Medina, OH (formerly Huck/Jacobson); and MSD Stamping’s 40,000 sq ft operation in Livonia, MI.
Together the plants have more than 600 employees and generated over $100 million in revenues in 2003. “We believe this business has tremendous growth potential,” commented Kaminski. “We are also excited to be working once again with our talented employees to return our company to industry prominence. We did it before, and we will do it again.” The deal comes more than a year after Alcoa CEO Alain Belda signaled his intention to sell the aluminum giant’s automotive fastener division, identifying it as one of several segments that “do not deliver superior returns.”
Continental/Midland and the other businesses will be owned and managed by Kaminski, his sons Bob Kaminski and Dave Kaminski, and Jack Woodruff.
The group helped manage Continental/Midland’s rapid growth during the 1990s.
Kaminski said immediate plans include emphasizing customer service, simplifying operations and reinforcing core business values. “We understand the auto-making business and will do whatever it takes to deliver quality products that meet our customers’ specifications and production scheduling requirements,” stated Kaminski.
Continental/Midland, Jacobson Manufacturing and MSD Stamping design and manufacture engineered metal fasteners, cold-formed parts and fastener assemblies for automotive and industrial manufacturers and suppliers. Continental/Midland also manufactures powder-actuated tools. ©2004/2012 Fastener Industry News
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