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AirBoss selects president among other changes

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Lisa Swartzman
Lisa Swartzman

NEWMARKET, Ontario—AirBoss of America Corp. has made some significant management changes as it prepares to grow further and extend its reach in 2015.

Tim Toppen, who has served as president for the last year, was named deputy chairman of the company, according to Gren Schoch, AirBoss chairman and CEO.

At the same time, Schoch said Lisa Swartzman will be promoted to president, replacing Toppen, and have overall responsibility for the company's businesses in rubber compounding, engineered products, defense and automotive parts.

In addition, he said, Robert Dodd will become president of AirBoss Rubber Compounding and remains an executive vice president of the company.

Schoch said Toppen has brought invaluable experience to the firm during the last year—a transformative period for the company—and his new role will allow him to focus on special initiatives and key business relationships to continue building AirBoss.

Toppen took over as president of the company last Jan. 6, assuming many of the management duties of President and CEO Robert Hagerman, who was on extended medical leave recovering from injuries sustained in an accident. Schoch took over as CEO and remained chairman of the business.

Tim Toppen

Hagerman, who had been CEO of the business since 1992 and is a large shareholder of AirBoss, continues to serve on the Newcastle-based company's board of directors.

Toppen previously served as chairman and CEO of TruVitals Inc., a medical device maker, and president and CEO of Veyance Technologies Inc. He continues to serve as chairman of TruVitals.

“Our company's growing at a rapid pace,” Schoch said. “Tim is moving up to deputy chairman where he'll work on some strategic long-term relationships and projects with key customers.”

He'll also continue to work with the company's various divisions.

Swartzman takes over the reigns as president after joining the firm in early 2014 and becoming heavily involved in all executive management aspects of the business.

She has 20 years of experience in manufacturing, distribution and retail with some of Canada's largest companies as well as with mid-market organizations in the U.S. and Canada.

Schoch said she is well-suited to guide the company as it deals with continued growth in the immediate future and beyond.

“Lisa has a strong financial background, and she complements me well,” Schoch said. “She's strong in areas where I'm not as strong, so this should work out well.”

Gren Schoch, chairman of AirBoss.

Dodd moved up the presidency of the rubber compounding operation after serving as manager of the division since 2006.

He was responsible for successfully implementing lean manufacturing, margins enhancement strategies and diversifying the firm's customer base into new industries, according to Schoch.

His appointment to the new post gives AirBoss a president of each of the company's businesses: rubber compounding, defense products, auto parts and engineered products. Because of that set-up, AirBoss has eliminated the vacant chief operating officer position.

AirBoss has added additional key personnel to its management and corporate team throughout 2014, Schoch noted, and combined with the firm's existing business unit leaders, it has an experienced and capable group in place to manage the company as it deals with future growth opportunities.

“We are grateful to Tim and all of our business leaders for the contribution they have made to our growth in 2014,” said Schoch, who started the business with Hagerman in 1989.

But there's more to come, he said. “We have more visibility going forward than we ever had before. We have numerous opportunities to grow because we have a lot of irons in the fire. We'll also grow organically.”