Tom Schmidt
Ryan Suszek Tom Schmidt

Ryan Suszek has been named Besser Co. director of Pipe and Precast, succeeding Tom Schmidt, who retired last month. Suszek joined Besser in 2005 as a financial analyst and was soon promoted to Pipe and Precast unit controller. Schmidt joined (pre-Besser) Quinn Machinery and Foundry in 1992, progressing in Finance department positions to a 2005 appointment as treasurer; he was appointed Pipe and Precast director five years later, with responsibilities for Sioux City and Boone, Iowa, operations.

Separately, Besser has named Brian Christle the new Precast operations manager. He joined the Sioux City headquarters in 1989 as an engineer, transferring to Boone 10 years later. Since 2010, he has been manufacturing manager while maintaining engineering responsibilities. Also, Gary Ericson is serving a dual role as operations manager and director of Sales for Pipe. He began working for McCracken Concrete Pipe Machinery in 1978, installing equipment throughout the Americas as well as working in the machine assembly area of the plant. In 1985, he transitioned to territory sales representative, eventually taking on the position of North American sales manager, leading to a director of Sales appointment over the pipe product line.

Brian Christle Gary Ericson
Brian Christle Gary Ericson

Venture Measurement, manufacturer of Bindicator, Kistler-Morse and Niagara Meters brands, has appointed Ben Gambrel as vice president and general manager. He joined Venture parent Danaher Corp. in 2007, and was most recently responsible for global product marketing and business development for one of its other divisions.

Mack Trucks has commenced a $26 million upgrade of the Macungie Cab & Vehicle Assembly facility in Pennsylvania, aiming to improve plant efficiency and raise quality. The investment includes a comprehensive realignment of sub-assembly and material handling to more efficiently support the main vehicle assembly lines. The plant will also implement new processes and install equipment to improve post-production inspection and completed-vehicle testing.

“This investment speaks to our commitment to operational excellence,” says Mack Vice President and General Manager Roger Johnston. “Our highly engaged workforce will use these enhancements to take another step in our journey toward truly world-class manufacturing in Macungie.”

Two new state-of-the-art dynamometers, which allow completed trucks to run on stationary rollers for enhanced testing of a variety of engine and vehicle systems, will be installed as part of the upgrade. “Along with a product line-up and a dealer network that have never been stronger, this latest significant investment in our facilities sends a clear message that Mack is poised to grow,” affirms Stephen Roy, president of Mack Trucks North American Sales & Marketing.

A $69 million outlay for advanced equipment, processes and plant redesign will further improve manufacturing efficiency and vehicle quality at Volvo Trucks North America’s New River Valley assembly plant, spanning the VHD and four other models. “The investment will spur significant improvements in material handling and parts flow that will allow us to increase throughput and reduce tied-up capital,” says Vice President and General Manager Lars Blomberg. “In addition to helping us further improve product quality, the redesign and additional equipment will also provide our employees with an even safer and more ergonomic working environment.”
Energy-efficiency upgrades at the Dublin, Va., operation’s paint facility will increase capacity and truck finish quality. New racking and storage systems, docks, and lifting devices, together with the redesign of a variety of work areas, will allow improved material delivery.

Following its acquisition by the Carlyle Group, Muller will operate as a stand-alone business under the Signode Industrial Group. The company’s products are sold around the world under the Muller brand plus Yellow Jacket, Haloila, Mima, GaleWrap and two new additions, Lachenmeier and Lock n’ Pop. Staff from the latter two units will be working with the Muller management team to provide customers a broader range of load containment solutions and support. Muller will now offer Lock n’ Pop’s unique equipment and adhesives, while marketing the Lachenmeier brand of stretch hooding equipment and related film in North America. To further support customers and bring all its solutions together in one place, Muller has also launched, soon to offer an e-commerce section where visitors can easily purchase parts.

Fly ash-based binder specialist CeraTech has joined Architecture 2030’s “Challenge for Products” initiative, focused on carbon reduction in the built environment through reduced use of fossil fuels. The Alexandria, Va., company, which produces and distributes ekkomaxx and other branded binders—typically under licensing arrangement with ready mixed and precast producers—endorses the 2030 Challenge to reach architects, code-generating bodies, and green rating organizations.

Extech Building Materials, serving professional builders and contractors in metro New York and outlying New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets, has closed on Pasvalco, a natural stone supplier and custom stone. The acquisition further extends Extech’s product line by broadening its stone veneer and paver offerings as well as adding the unique ability to custom fabricate stone into various architectural designs and configurations.