AUSTIN, Texas—RotaDyne Corp. has spent the year strategizing with its new president, Jamin L. Patrick, who took the reins on Nov. 1, 2014.
Patrick was “very happily retired,” he said during the Rubber Roller Group meeting, held in Austin, May 3-5. Then he received a call from Jere Robbins, the chairman of RotaDyne, to work with the firm on “some longer range, strategic planning issues that ultimately led to him asking me to step in and run the company.”
Patrick previously ran Ontario, Calif.-based Thermal Dynamics L.L.C., where Robbins was a controlling shareholder and chairman of RotaDyne. After Thermal Dynamics was sold in 2012, Patrick went into early retirement. However, in the summer of 2014, Robbins reached out and asked him to consult with RotaDyne, which eventually led him to returning to the work force full time.
When asked if he plans on continuing in the position, he said, “We'll see how it plays out ... there's a lot of opportunity that we see at RotaDyne. My goal is to help the company to take advantage of those opportunities and maximize its potential and all those good things.”
Things have been going great, he said. “We have a lot of very dedicated, loyal people.”
One aspect he has noticed in this industry, especially with speaking to people at the Rubber Roller Group meeting, is that people tend to stay in this industry for a long time.
“A couple of weeks ago, we had a retirement party for one of our factory workers, where he had worked for the company for 43 years, which is just, pretty unusual in this day and age,” Patrick said.
“We've got a lot of people at the company that have been there 20-plus years, 30-plus years.”
There's “a lot of loyalty and a lot of commitment to seeing the company be successful,” he added.
Darien, Ill.-based RotaDyne calls itself one of the largest manufacturers of rollers, roll coverings and related products in the world. It can control all phases of roller manufacturing, from designing and producing cores and custom mixing rubber and urethane compounds for covering rollers, to delivery and follow-up services such as re-grinding.
The company employs roughly 450 in the U.S. It has additional operations in Canada, Mexico, South America, England, Poland and China, with a research and development department “that is continually bringing new rubber and urethane elastomers to market,” according to the company's website.
Patrick joked about living out of a suitcase as the Austin-based president travels back and forth to the company's headquarters.
Looking toward the future, RotaDyne is evaluating its skills and what the customers' needs are versus what competitors are doing.
“Of course everybody's conscious of the kind of long-term decline going on, on the graphics side of the business,” he said.
“Our plants are, for the most part, well-positioned to do industrial work,” Patrick said. “We see opportunities there.”
It is just like any other business, where there are lots of opportunities and lots of threats, he said, a company just has to be nimble.
“Being new to the industry has its obvious disadvantages, but also, having worked in other industries, you've got kind of a different perspective on things,” Patrick said.
“It makes a really good dynamic on the management team. We're having good engagement in our discussions about how we should focus the company and where the opportunities are.”
The world is evolving and technology is both a threat and an opportunity, he said. RotaDyne is seeing that customer requirements are getting more sophisticated.
“We're certainly seeing that the ... way you made a roller 30 years ago isn't necessarily going to be sufficient for what the customer needs are today,” he said.
“I guarantee they're not sufficient. Complexities are growing.”
Every industry is evolving and you either evolve with it or you will go out of business, Patrick said.