EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 24, 2013

Pelham company expands

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — PELHAM — A corporate decision to consolidate operations in Pelham is raising hopes for more jobs locally.

The Heico Companies LLC acquired New Hampshire-based Vette Corp. last year and announced a plan to merge operations with its previously acquired Wakefield Thermal Solutions.

That plan is now unfolding. It is resulting in more than 80 layoffs in Ontario, N.Y., as operations are shifted from there to Pelham and the now merged Wakefield-Vette.

A first step last year was moving Vette’s Portsmouth operations to a Wakefield plant in Pelham.

“They have been creating jobs in Pelham from the consolidation,” said Pelham Economic Development Committee member Lisa Landry, who visited the plant for a ribbon cutting last year.

A company spokesman did not return a call yesterday concerning the job growth outlook for the Pelham plant.

“Any new jobs resulting from the consolidation would be a good thing for Pelham,” town planning director Jeff Gowan said.

Landry said it is good news as Pelham strives to bring more businesses to town.

The company has said the consolidation is expected to be complete by April.

Consolidating administration and production operations in Pelham would help the business become more efficient and responsive to customers while saving it money, the company said last year.

The Pelham plant is located at 33 Bridge St., along busy Route 38 near the Massachusetts border.

The company makes electronic cooling components and systems, and has received patents in China and Japan for its Coolcentric products. Clients have included IBM, NASA and Syracuse University.

The consolidation made business sense. Heico said Vette and Wakefield both provided thermal management solutions for the same industries.

“It is a new and exciting time for the entire Wakefield-Vette team and a promising time for the customers we serve,” company president Kevin Kreger said last summer in addressing the corporate changes.

“Our commitment is to work tirelessly to be the world’s leader in the thermal solutions industry,” Kreger said.

BusinessNH Magazine last year rated Wakefield-Vette as the third fastest-growing private company in New Hampshire.

The magazine reported the company employs more than 1,000 people and has facilities in North Carolina, Wisconsin, California and China, in addition to Pelham and New York.

Heico, the parent company, headquartered in Illinois, has $2 billion in assets with 35 businesses in 12 countries that specialize in manufacturing, construction and industrial services.

Heico’s website signals why it found the Pelham opportunity attractive.

“Heico prefers to acquire companies that possess significant market share as well as products or services that exhibit above-average opportunities for revenue and earnings growth,” the company’s profile said.

The business sector is experiencing mergers and acquistions, with New Hampshire on the front lines.

Audax Group of Boston announced in December the acquisition of a Wakefield-Vette competitor, Aavid Thermalloy, which is headquartered in New Hampshire with offices in Concord.

Aavid Thermalloy also said it is aiming to grow its market share.