Vermont Castings Group, based in Paris, KY, a leading supplier of hearth and grill products throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe, with two plants in Vermont (Randolph and Bethel), today announced that after a prolonged sale process with many potential buyers, the company has been acquired by an entity owned by the employees of the company. As a result of the acquisition, Vermont Castings Group (VCG) will be the largest privately held, employee-owned company in the hearth industry.‘I can’t be more excited about the direction we are taking Vermont Castings Group,’said Ricardo LeÃ³n, the new Chairman and CEO of Vermont Castings Group. ‘After listening to all the different proposals and evaluating the options for returning Vermont Castings Group to prominence, the employees realized the best way for our business to succeed was to take back the control and play the leading role in driving the Company’s strategic direction. Over the coming weeks and months, we will refocus VCG on the hearth industry, and transition away from non-core activities. We will provide the highest quality products to all our customers, large and small. You won’t find a more motivated Company in the business.’The new ownership team is entirely made up by current and former employees including Ricardo LeÃ³n, Pat Kelly, Jess Baldwin and Kirsten Jenkins.Expect to see other familiar faces from the industry returning to Vermont Castings Group, as well. As part of this transaction, the Company cancelled the majority of its debt and is emerging in a stronger financial position. ‘With the financial commitment from the ownership group, an aggressive and focused operational plan, and the support of the senior lenders, we have created the financial flexibility to continue serving and earning the right to grow with our customers,’added Mr. LeÃ³n.‘We have a lot of work to do, but the optimism has never been higher,’said Jess Baldwin, Senior Vice President of Sales and Customer Service.‘Every customer will now be able to put a real face to this business and we are thrilled to be given this opportunity.’Bill Tweardy, the former owner and founder of Monessen Hearth Systems added, “I am exceedingly supportive of this transaction, and believe this approach represents the best possible solution for the Company, its employees, and most importantly, its customers. The employees demonstrated remarkable courage and determination in taking back what I am convinced is a great company. I know this is just the beginning for Vermont Castings Group and our customers can expect great things to come.”Vermont Castings Group is a leading supplier of hearth and grill products throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe. Under its four brands, Vermont Castings, Majestic, Monessen and Ambient Technologies, Vermont Castings Group offers a full line of direct vent, natural vent, vent-free, wood-burning and electric fireplaces, inserts, log sets and stoves as well as outdoor grills and heating products. Vermont Castings Group is proud to be on the cutting edge of design, efficiency and environmental responsibility. Source: PARIS, KENTUCKY, August 1, 2013 ‘Vermont Castings Group.
Now ranked first among Big Ten teams, Minnesota heads to conference championshipsThe Gophers are ranked No. 2 in the country, just behind reigning national champion Oklahoma. Easton Green, Daily File PhotoLuke Aldrich high-fives a teammate after competing on the pommel horse on Sunday, March 18. Erik NelsonApril 5, 2018Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintNo. 2 Minnesota has been waiting for the Big Ten Championships for months. As anticipation builds, the Gophers hope to win the Big Ten title for the 22nd time in program history.Knowing what the team is ranked, senior Luke Aldrich said the team expects the title.“We’re coming in ranked first [in the Big Ten]. We plan to finish first,” Aldrich said. “This is the first time in the four years that I’ve been here that we’ve been ranked first. That’s motivated us to tap into our potential. We know we’re the best. The rankings show that.”Last season, Minnesota won three of its seven meets against Big Ten opponents. Junior Justin Karstadt said it was important for the Gophers to improve their record against conference rivals this season.“We wanted to win the regular season as a statement to the rest of the Big Ten going into the Championships. We’ve beaten a lot of major contenders for the Big Ten title this year,” Karstadt said. “In previous years, we’ve always had a lot of potential on the team and then let regular-season meets slip away against Big Ten opponents.” This season, Minnesota won four of its six regular-season meets against Big Ten rivals. The Gophers won both of their home meets against conference opponents with victories over No. 9 Iowa on Jan. 27 and No. 8 Illinois on Feb. 10.Head coach Mike Burns said this will be the most competitive Big Ten Championships he has been part of in his 14 seasons of coaching at Minnesota. “Every team in the Big Ten this year is going to have an opportunity to win it,” Burns said. “It’s going to be critical that we bring our ‘A’ game to this thing and do what we’re capable of doing. It’s going to come down to the last guy on the last event.”At the 2017 Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Illinois, the Gophers won bronze in the team competition with a score of 413.300. In the individual competition, senior Alex Wittenberg won the Big Ten title on floor and earned a score of 14.550. Senior Yaroslav Pochinka won bronze on vault with a 14.750.Minnesota hasn’t won a Big Ten title in 23 years. Karstadt said the rest of the team owes it to the seniors to win the Big Ten title.“They’ve done so much for our program,” Karstadt said. “They’ve changed the whole program and have been great leaders for us. It’s time to pay them back.”The Big Ten Championships begin at 6 p.m. Friday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The individual portion of the Championships will be held Saturday, also at 6 p.m.Aldrich said a Big Ten title would be significant for him.“These past two years, I’ve been working hard in the gym making my sets and making lineup. If we win, it will be a team effort,” Aldrich said. “Coming in with nine other people, we’ve wanted this goal for four years.”
Birds are lifting spirits all over Los Alamos including this male blue bird spotted early this morning taking a grub to his nest for breakfast on Barranca Mesa. Photo by Steve Limback