ST. JOSEPH, Mich.—Entering its fifth generation of family management, 127-year-old Vail Rubber Works, Inc., has tapped Vail Harding to serve as its next president.
Harding took the reins at the manufacturing firm on April 16, the company said, succeeding Joseph (Bill) Hanley, who served as Vail Rubber's fourth president since 1989. Hanley will remain as part of Vail Rubber's Board of Directors.
"We're very pleased to announce Vail's promotion and confident that, with his leadership and experience and the support of his strong management, sales and production teams, Vail Rubber will be in good hands as we move further into our second century," Hanley said.
Harding's executive team will include Matt Hanley, vice president of sales and technology; and Brian Nimtz, vice president of finance.
Harding started his career at the company in 1998 as a sales engineer and applications specialist, then transitioned to customer service. He was promoted to manager of manufacturing and maintenance in 2015, and to vice president of operations in 2019.
The St. Joseph resident also serves as president of the Rubber Roller Group; director on The Kinexus Group Board and on the Boards of two subsidiaries of The Kinexus Group; and works with Youth Solutions and the MMTA.
Vail Rubber was founded in 1892 by William A. Vail, Harding's great-great grandfather. The company makes rubber and polyurethane roll coverings and steel cores and serves the flat-rolled steel, aluminum and paper industries in the central southern and eastern U.S.
Vail Rubber maintains another manufacturing plant in Mobile, Ala., and is expected to begin operations at a second Michigan plant in St. Joseph this spring.