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AFC looks to future with personnel changes

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SEATTLE—Major changes at the top have been made at Lake in the Hills, Ill.-headquartered Advanced Flexible Composites Inc.

Chris Lewis, who joined AFC in 1998, has been named president, replacing his father, Bill Lewis, who will continue to serve as CEO and chairman of the company.

In addition, Bart Lewis has moved up to the chief technical officer post; Malcolm “Woody” Swift will become chief operations officer; and Michael Baker was promoted to chief sales and marketing officer.

All three are newly created positions.

AFC announced the changes at the NIBA—The Belting Association convention.

Chris Lewis will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the firm, establishing goals and strategies, directing business initiatives, and ensuring the execution of corporate objectives.

He previously served as chief financial officer and vice president of strategic development.

“Along with his expertise and knowledge in business development and strategy, Chris possesses a high level of leadership to support the future development of the organization,” Bill Lewis said in making the announcement.

He noted that AFC is a family business.

“I feel fortunate to be able to hand off the day-to-day operations to him,” he said. “Chris has been instrumental in the growth of AFC over the last 16-plus years. I feel confident Chris is the right person to lead AFC into the future.”

Meanwhile, in addition to holding down the CEO and chairman positions, Bill Lewis will focus on special projects, where he will have more time to work on innovations and be an entrepreneur, Chris Lewis said. “That's what he enjoys doing the most.”

As chief technical officer, Bart Lewis will be responsible for directing the technical, product engineering and research and development operations.

He previously served as vice president of manufacturing at AFC and has 35 years of experience in the coating, converting and engineered fabrication industries.

Swift in his position as COO will have management responsibilities for all of AFC's global manufacturing operations, Chris Lewis said.

“There are no two more qualified individuals in our industry than Bart and Woody to assume these vital roles in our company,” the new president said.

“It is critical to AFC's growth and my success as president that we have great leadership directing our technical and operational teams.”

He said Bart Lewis has been instrumental in the company's growth since Bill Lewis started the business more than 26 years ago, citing his role in developing, designing and assisting the firm in implementing most of the products and services AFC offers today.

Bart Lewis said he was looking forward to the new opportunity.

“I feel we have organized AFC to provide our customers with outstanding service, quality and the ability to rapidly deliver new and innovative solutions that will solve their problems,” he said.

During Swift's six years at AFC, he has assisted the firm in becoming a more professional organization while maintaining its core family values, Chris Lewis said.

“In his new role as COO, we can utilize Woody's expertise and knowledge in operations, quality management, leadership and customer service,” he said.

Swift, who previously was general manager of the company, has spent 42 years in the silicone and PTFE coating, converting and fabrication industry in various management and operational roles.

As chief sales and marketing officer, Baker will be responsible for directing the sales and marketing initiatives of the company's global businesses, including the Industrial Products Group, Specialty Belting Group and Food Products Group.

He will continue to maintain oversight of the Specialty Belting Group. Prior to the promotion, he served as the firm's senior vice president of sales and marketing. He's been involved in the industry for more than 20 years and has been with AFC for 11 years.

“Along with his expertise and knowledge in sales, marketing, strategy and business development, Mike is a natural leader,” Chris Lewis said. “These leadership skills will assist me in leading AFC into the future.”

In addition to his other duties, Baker will develop and implement the company's short and long term strategies “that allow us to meet AFC's goal and initiatives,” Lewis said.

All of the moves further support AFC's commitment to its core principles: quality, service and innovation, according to Bill Lewis.