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Durable Technologies: Growth Through Acquisition

In their August edition, Marking Industry Magazine announced Durable Technologies as their Gold Manufacturer of the Year. Explaining their choice, they said, "When you consider the broad range of products and applications that fall under the heading of marking and identification, our 2012 Gold Manufacturer of the Year, Durable Technologies, exemplifies a company that spans that spectrum. By consistently expanding through acquisitions, organic growth and strategically serving customers across a variety of markets, the company has positioned itself as an expert in delivering marking and identification solutions, particularly in direct part marking."

The evolution of Durable Technologies is one of strategic acquisition and centralized operations. In an excerpt from "Gold Manufacturer of the Year: Durable Technologies" Kari Lunden, president and CEO of Durable Technologies, explains the companies evolution and operational set up.

Kari Lunden:

In the mid-1970s, I moved from Finland to work for Ken Mosman at Worcester Stamp, who was the president of the Marking Device Association.

At that time, Worcester Stamp was just a small, traditional marking device company. We learned early on that in our industry, you have to focus on more than just organic growth if you really want to grow.

We started actively looking for potential acquisitions that fit into our business model and contributed to our overall strength. We changed our name to North American Marking Equipment Corp. or NAMECO, and during our time together we bought eight companies and had one startup in New England.

In 1985, we formed our own company in Worcester, VisiMark, Inc., with Chris Podles and another former principal. Since its inception, VisiMark, Inc. has acquired a total of nine additional marking device companies, most of them small companies located throughout New England.

In 2005, VisiMark, Inc. acquired Durable Engravers of Franklin Park, Illinois as a wholly-owned subsidiary from the Maybach brothers, Jim and Ted. Their father founded the company in 1952, and Jim is still with us today as vice president of Operations.

Our acquisition of Durable was one of the defining moments for our company. Their presence in the Midwest offers a competitive advantage due to its central location. Durable’s technology changed the landscape of our company from a manufacturing standpoint, allowing us to pursue new markets and opportunities that were previously unattainable.

In 2006, Durable Engravers acquired the traditional marking division from the former Mecco/M.E. Cunningham Company out of Pittsburgh, which for many years was an industry leader in indent marking technology for heavy- duty industrial applications. The two companies merged to form Durable Mecco.

Currently, Durable Technologies is the all-encompassing, corporate identity for all of its subsidiaries and divisions and a melting pot of startups and 14 acquisitions...

Our business model has always been to operate lean and centralized. Our corporate office, central sales and marketing and accounting are located in Worcester, Massachusetts. We manufacture in four locations: in Franklin Park, Illinois, there’s Durable Engravers and Mecco/M.E. Cunningham Company’s stamp division, formerly located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In Worcester, Massachusetts, we have VisiMark, Inc. and Durable Machine. In Auburn, Massachusetts, Kay Gee Sign and Graphics, and in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, we have A.A. White Company, which was recently relocated from Providence, Rhode Island, where they were the 21st oldest active company in the state, an achievement which we’re very proud of.

We also own all four commercial properties housing our operations and operate them as separate realty entities. Our philosophy is to pay rent to ourselves and build equity. We lease the excess space to companies in related industries providing complimentary services, such as neon sign fabrication, rubber and polymer printing plate manufacturing and magnesium etching.

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