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Midwest firm buys White City lamination plant

WHITE CITY — A Midwest manufacturing firm has acquired Lamination Technology Industries' White City and Spokane, Washington, plants.

Tiffin, Ohio-based Laminate Technologies Inc. announced the purchase during a Friday meeting with Lamination Technology Industries' 55 employees.

Privately held Lam Tech supplies laminated panel products and fabricated components to manufacturers of kitchen cabinets, residential and office furniture and displays. The firm has plants in six states with more than 300 employees and has generated post-recession annual revenue of more than $100 million.

Lam Tech President and CEO Fred Zoeller said the acquisition consolidated his company's position as the largest privately held continuous roll laminator.

"We're very similar in names and philosophy in how we deal with customers and our co-workers," Zoeller said. "Our intention is to make some investments into the plants and take them to new heights." 

Zoeller founded his enterprise, located about 30 miles from Lake Erie, in 1985 and has grown it incrementally.

"Our growth over the last 34 years has been controlled, consistent growth, where we would make an acquisition or expand over the period of a couple years, and then look for other opportunities," he said.

Its most recent expansion was in Martinsville, Virginia, during 2012. Four years before that, the company began operations in Live Oak, Texas.

"We're not going to have rapid growth, where we expand, year after year," Zoeller said. "We streamline operations, bring technology into place, and grow it to the next level."

The company considers itself a global supplier with an import division, headquartered in China, with engineers and quality control personnel.

"We get the best product throughout the world," Zoeller said.

Lam Tech began looking westward a couple of years ago, seeking a company with the knowledge of the laminate industry that could also expand its product line.

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. contacted Lam Tech in November 2015, and shortly afterward, SOREDI Executive Director Colleen Padilla met with Lam Tech management. In fall 2016, Lam Tech managers participated in the agency's regional familiarization tour.

Lamination Technology Industries on Avenue C, founded in 1993 by Rick Clark, fit the bill with specialty laminated panels, fabricated components, hardwood veneer panels and specialty products Lam Tech could bring to its Eastern plants. Beyond that, one of the Ohio company's customers is Grants Pass-based MasterBrand Cabinets, which made expanding to the Rogue Valley even more appealing.

SOREDI spurred the negotiation process, providing background data and explaining state and local incentives. Most of Lam Tech's imports have entered through Eastern ports, but Zoeller said the company will now take advantage of Tacoma and other West Coast ports.

Managers from Lam Tech's other facilities will lead the company until a permanent manager is hired next year.

"We're looking at a couple of internal candidates, but we'll look outside, too, until we find the right candidate," Zoeller said. "We'll find the right person with the right culture and business philosophy for our customer. We're a family-oriented company with an emphasis on taking care of our co-workers."

 — Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.