If you remember, I ended part two of my story with the acquisition of a company in Elkhart, Indiana. Our team was still located in Newport News, Virginia. Now we had a decision to make regarding consolidating the two teams. It was quickly clear, that it made most sense to bring the two teams together in Elkhart. The Elkhart team had great expertise and a lot of experience in developing and producing sensors and actuators.
As we were starting the planning, it was also time for my family and me to make the decision whether to move back to Germany or move to Elkhart. Moving to Elkhart also required for me to go on a local contract. We had some big decisions to make. In November 2005 we visited Indiana. Here are some pictures of our first impression.
Quite different from Virginia! In addition a lot colder during the winter months. At the same time the entire family agreed that we want to stay in the US. Professionally I was excited about the opportunity to bring two strong sensor teams together and build on the success both parties had accomplished so far. With that being said, we ended up moving to Indiana. The hardest part of the move was to leave good friends behind and having a teenager in highschool. She had to go through a tough adjustment. I would not recommend anybody to do that to your child if you don’t absolutely have to. Looking back she’s grown tremendously through the experience. However going through it was painful for her and the entire family. On the other hand, all of us still have good friends in Virginia who we always look forward to visit.
As you can see we found a nice place in Granger. We added the sun room. That was the best decision we ever made. We spent all our spare time sitting in the sun room.
On the professional side, we couldn’t have been happier with the talent we had in Elkhart. The hard part was loosing some of the talent we had in Newport News since obviously not everybody was thrilled about moving to Indiana. Fortunately we were able to back-fill the people we lost with local talent.
In Elkhart everything was in one place. Planing, development, testing, administration, small component molding, as well as final assembly. We had a very strong team. Now one of our goals was to achieve certain targets of profitability. We implemented lean concepts in production, worked with suppliers to get cost down, looked at design changes to achieve cost reductions, and so on. While we were getting all this going, we also targeted some critical new business acquisitions that we successfully closed out. We were off to a good start.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter of my career and are curious to learn more about my time in Elkhart.