Eye On Industry
By Industrial Exchange
The current operating environment presents a host of challenges for owners and operators of middle market industrial companies. The future may be even more challenging, yet also offer exciting opportunities. For insights, observations and innovative ways to approach today’s problems and tomorrow’s possibilities — and a look at the trends and forces shaping both — we invite you to join Industrial Exchange’s Jon Cooper for IE’s Eye On Industry. This podcast series will feature leading executives and subject matter experts in lively discussions on issues that have real bottom line consequences.
Episode 12: Where There is Wind, There's a Way
On this episode of the IE Eye on Industry podcast, we’ve sat down with the President & Co-Founder of Hover Energy LLC, a company looking to build a better planet sustained on one of earth’s greatest natural power sources – wind. Chris Griffin, the company’s resident expert in energy, has nearly 30 years of experience in renewable energy, finance, M&A, restructuring & portfolio management. Chris spent the last 15 years in Renewable Energy, most recently as CEO of Regenedyne LLC, the Intellectual Property (“IP”) predecessor to Hover Energy. In the early part of his career, Chris served the Energy Industry as VP of Investment Banking (M&A/Restructuring) at Morgan Stanley and VP of Institutional Municipal Securities for Smith Barney. He also served as Director of Finance at IBEAM Broadcasting and VP & Head of Derivatives at Chapdelaine & Co. As Founder & CEO of 4G Private Equity, he launched Natural Citrus Products Corp. in 2007, the first Cellulosic Ethanol plant in the United States; Perfectly Green, Inc. in 2010, a ‘Waste-to-Energy’ Distributed Power Generation company; and led the restructuring of Regenedyne LLC in 2011, whose assets and IP in magnetic wind power were eventually acquired by Hover in 2015. Hover Energy is dedicating its efforts to transition the world from dependence on centralized power to independence through distributed energy. With the ability to empower companies to utilize the assets they already have from their very own rooftop wind turbine systems, Hover Energy is looking to create both an environmentally and economically sustainable solution for industrial companies across the country. Their vision to turn the built environment into a power source where every building would become a power contributor to the grid is a step into optimizing a clean, domestic source of energy that enables U.S. industry growth. Think net positive, not just net zero. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world, and we don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. “For as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid.” And Hover Energy is here to convert said energy. Where there is wind, there’s a way. #energy #wind #power #infrastructure
April 21, 2021
Episode 11: Robotics as a Service – Give Pizza a Chance
On our eleventh episode of the IE Eye on Industry podcast, we’ve sat down with the CEO of Picnic, a Seattle-based company that’s been innovating the food and beverage industry since 2016. A leader in industrial food automation, Picnic has created the first-of-its-kind intelligent end-to-end automated assembly platform, otherwise known as: a pizza-making robot. Clayton Wood, the CEO of Picnic, has assembled a team of proven success in complex global, multi-site and technology-driven organizations at companies such as Honeywell, Naverus (of GE), Planetary Power and iUNU. With a leadership team of experts in hardware, software, design and robotics, Picnic has married deep learning AI technology with the insatiable desire for high-quality food to produce a product that meets customer demand while reducing waste from the industry’s usual 10% to Picnic’s impressive 1%. We’ll be taking a deep dive into how the Picnic Pizza System is helping to turn a corner in the labor and working conditions crisis that have only been exacerbated over the last year. We’ll also talk about data analytics and how that integration with S&OP is helping to create good quality, customizable pizzas on a consistent basis for the customer. Last but not least, what is the price tag for something this innovative? Clayton walks through how the RaaS (Robotics as a Service) is modeled to grow EBITDA and sales, reduce costs and improve ROI immediately - there is no payback period. Whether you take pineapple or pepperoni, Picnic is for all pizza lovers. #foodandbeverage #industrialautomation #robotics #IOT #pizza
March 16, 2021
Episode 10: Made in America - Reshoring: Moving Production From China Back to the US
Welcome to our tenth episode of the IE Eye on Industry Podcast. We've sat down with Rosemary Coates, Executive Director of the Reshoring Institute and President of Blue Silk Consulting. She is a management consultant with over 25 years of experience and 80 global supply chain clients and is also a Chinese Manufacturing Expert Witness for legal cases involving global supply chain matters. Rosemary is passionate about bringing manufacturing back to America. We'll be taking a deep dive into how the impact of the trade war, the geopolitical environment and the disruption from COVID-19 are compelling companies to rethink their global supply chains, manufacturing processes, factory design, automation and skilled workers. What made this "perfect storm" that increased interest in reshoring? And how does technology fit into the solutions for our community? We're excited to have Rosemary join us! You can visit www.reshoringinstitute.org for research, case studies and expert guidance on global manufacturing.
October 30, 2020
Episode 9: From Spark Spreads to Hash Rates
Welcome to our ninth episode of the IE Eye on Industry Podcast. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the more fascinating Private Equity turnaround stories we have come across in recent memory. This particular investment was made in 2014 by Atlas Holdings -- when they purchased Greenidge Generation, a distressed 90-year-old coal-based power plant in Upstate New York. The investment thesis and the execution plan was set: get the facility re-permitted to supply power to the grid and convert the facility to cleaner burning natural gas. Then, in 2017 when the converted facility was about to go online, New York State unexpectedly bailed out several nuclear-powered facilities, driving capacity prices to unanticipated lows. The deterioration in capacity prices spawned a slew of alternative value creation strategies. After several iterations, Greenidge is now running one of the most successful institutional bitcoin mining operations in the US. But as we’ll soon learn, this story is not just about cryptocurrencies and bitcoin mining, but a case study on value creation and what to do when your business gets turned upside down.. Today we’ve invited Tim Rainey, CFO at Greenidge Generation LLC, to share this unique story with our community. Tim is a licensed CPA with over a decade of hands-on accounting experience across traditional finance, energy and cryptocurrencies. At Greenidge, Tim oversees the world’s first fully compliant, hybrid power plant cryptocurrency mining operation. We’re excited to have Tim join us today.
October 26, 2020
Episode 8: Employee Engagement During Uncertain Times
Welcome to our eighth episode of the IE Eye on Industry Podcast. Today, we’re going to take a look at employee engagement and the importance of gratitude in the workplace. As we all know, the pandemic has had some emotional impact on us all. Whether it be the natural stress related to the uncertainty in the world, quarantining, or re-adjusting your basic routines with your family to remain safe -- this environment has been one of the most difficult in recent memory. Even the simple act of remote work or going back to your job with re-configured shop floors or new operating procedures can be overwhelming for even the most resilient and productive staffers. But as you’ll soon find out - addressing the human element of your business is sometimes easier than you think - and can drive meaningful increases in productivity and profitability during times when morale is low. Today we’ve invited Lisa Ryan, Chief Appreciation Strategist at Grategy, to talk about the importance of employee engagement and strategies to strengthen your workplace culture during these uncertain times. Lisa is an award- winning speaker and author of ten books. Her expertise includes: strengthening workplace culture, improving employee engagement, increasing customer retention, and initiating gratitude strategies (“Grategies”) for personal and professional benefit. We’re excited to have Lisa join us today.
October 13, 2020
Episode 7: The 'Remote-ification' of Value Creation - Part II with AlixPartners
Welcome to our seventh episode of the IE Eye on Industry Podcast. Today, we continue our special two-part series with AlixPartners that examines the digitization of operations at middle market industrial companies. During part I, we explored the impact of COVID on the core functions of the advisory business, as well as its impact on the operations of manufacturing companies and their PE investors. Today, we discuss the human element -- how managers can better engage their employees during this time of increased isolation. We’re excited to have Marc Iampieri and Parmesh Bhaskaran from AlixPartners join us again to continue the conversation.
October 05, 2020
Episode 6: Navigating International & Domestic Tax Issues
Today, we’re going to take a look at the potential impact of tax regime changes for Private Equity investors and Manufacturers. In the first quarter alone, U.S. companies brought home 124 billion dollars in foreign profits, the highest level since an immediate rush after the 2017 tax law, according to data released by the Commerce Department. To some - The repatriations, made just as the coronavirus-related recession was starting, are a sign of how many companies may have needed cash in their U.S. operations. Or is this just prudent risk management during an election year when policy changes can be quickly reversed if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is elected? With the election less than 60 days away, now is an ideal time for investors and operators alike to assess the potential impact of potential policy changes on their current portfolio and M&A pipeline. Today we’ve invited Sean King, who leads the international tax practice at McGuire Sponsel. Sean is a renowned legal, tax and business advisor who brings his clients not only technical expertise, but also a cultural and commercial awareness that can only be gained by living and working in numerous countries and on multiple continents. Sean has completed transactions in more than 75 countries and has been included in The International Who’s Who of Corporate Tax Lawyers. We’re excited to have Sean join us today.
September 25, 2020
Episode 5: The 'Remote-ification' of Value Creation - Part I with AlixPartners
The digitization of operations at middle market industrial companies, which was well under way before the arrival of COVID-19, has only been hastened by the pandemic. Particularly important has been the ability to now conduct and manage a greater number of operations and functions remotely. In this special two-part series of IE Eye on Industry, we’ve invited principals from AlixPartners to discuss the wide-ranging impact of “remote-ification” on production, supply chains, marketing, and financial performance in the middle-market industrial sector. Management Consultants have always been a key partner, and oftentimes “an agent of change” for Private Equity investors and their portfolio companies. On today’s episode, we are going to take a look at how the working relationship and core functions of the advisory business have changed in light of the “new norm” brought on by the pandemic. To kick off the series, we’ve asked Marc Iampieri and Parmesh Bhaskaran from AlixPartners to provide an insider’s view of how COVID-19 has impacted the core advisory services they offer to PE investors and manufacturing companies: from due diligence and cash flow modeling to turnaround and M&A work. Between them both they have over 40 years of experience of management consulting work for complex supply chain, manufacturing and distribution intensive companies. They are both Managing Directors in the Operations Practice where they partner with PE investors and manufacturing businesses to drive operational improvements. We’re excited to have Marc and Parmesh join us today.
September 21, 2020
Episode 4: MacLaurin Group
Today, we’re going to take a look at technology strategy from the perspective of outsourced operating partners for private equity. As we’ll soon learn, the COVID 19 pandemic has impacted PE firms in two primary ways: Frst, it accelerated the push for technological modernization of basic corporate infrastructure. Second and perhaps most notable, the pandemic has produced some serious innovation from a group that is -- more often than not -- known for being tech laggards. Was the combination of a tough investment landscape and COVID the catalyst needed to accelerate Private Equity's emphasis on tech-enabled value creation? We’ve asked Alan Williamson and Jim Headley from the MacLaurin Group to make sense of the tech challenges that exist for PE. They talk about how to view the CTO and CIO roles within a PE-owned enterprise -- along with the common pitfalls managers can avoid when developing a technology strategy both pre-deal and post-deal. Between them both they have over 40 years of experience working in CTO and CIO capacities. At MacLaurin Group, they work with a roster of PE clientele in an outsourced operating partner capacity focused on technology strategy. We’re excited to have Alan and Jim join us today.
September 09, 2020
Episode 3: Big Law’s Lebron James Problem
Today, we’re going to be talking about law, or to be more specific Big Law’s Lebron James Problem. Big Law is Big Business. The global marketplace for counsel is almost half a trillion dollars annually. In the US alone, the legal market is estimated at $250 billion dollars of revenue with over 1 million lawyers - and let’s not forget that we mint 20,000 new lawyers each year. As we’ll soon learn, the pricing of legal services - whether it is for fund formation, due diligence or very niche practice areas- are so opaque that the most sophisticated investors and corporates often do not know whether what they are paying for legal services is fair, and how prices compare to other star lawyers. We’ve asked Raj Goyle from Bodhala to help us make sense of the legal pricing landscape. Raj is not your typical tech CEO. He started his career as a civil rights attorney and then served two-terms in the Kansas House of Representatives - then partnered up with his Harvard Law School buddy to co-found Bodhala, a leading legal tech platform that optimizes outside counsel spend.
September 03, 2020
Episode 2: Lumber
Today, we’re going to be talking about wood, or to be more accurate lumber. Lumber has been in the news a lot these days – mostly because of its price – which despite a recent selloff, has outperformed gold as commodity over the past five months. As we’ll soon learn, lumber is a pretty critical component of the housing market – which even in the midst of record unemployment – is booming. According to the US Census Bureau -- July saw a nearly 23% jump in U.S. home construction from the prior year -- at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million. At a glance, it would seem that the exodus out of our big cities, -- NY and SF is real and that this is a demand driven phenomenon. But as we’ll soon learn, there is a supply side to this market that has its own logic. We’ve asked Ashley Boeckholt from MaterialsXchange to help us make sense of the lumber market. Ashley has more or less spent his life in the lumber market. He started his career as an operator at his family’s retail yard then transitioned to a national wholesale distributor, then to Koch Pulp and Paper Trading where he managed lumber risk for institutional clients. More recently he helped form a startup called MaterialsXchange, a digital marketplace for forest product including lumber and panels.
August 28, 2020
Episode 1: A look at Cosmetics
Welcome to IE’s Eye on Industry. On this episode, Industrial Exchange’s Jon Cooper is joined by his guest Susan Copperman, CEO of Sunless Inc. a Private Equity owned industry leader in premium sunless tanning beauty products and equipment. Their discussion covered a number of interesting topics including; What it’s like to transition from Wall Street to Operating a PE-owned company in Cleveland. How COVID has impacted the Cosmetics industry and what the future looks like. Is the “Work From Home” (WFH) movement a structural or a cyclical change. Why pivoting to produce PPE during April was a strategic win. What will the supply chain for cosmetics look like in 2021.
August 21, 2020