Jerry McCool, National Product Manager, The NovaFlex Group
Jerry McCool is a new member of the NAHAD Board. His term goes until April 30, 2014.
NAHAD: How was 2010 for the NovaFlex Group, and what is the outlook for the rest of 2011?
Jerry McCool: 2010 was a good year. We rebounded from 2009 as did most manufacturing companies in the U.S. Our increase in sales was almost 25 percent in 2010 over 2009. It was a terrific increase. Keep in mind we were down about 15 percent the year before. We forecasted a 10 percent to 12 percent increase this year over 2010. That's pretty aggressive, but we're on pace to get there.
NAHAD: Which markets for the company are strong, and which are weak?
McCool: NovaFlex is a North American manufacturer. We have four plants in North America - North Carolina, New Hampshire, Montreal and Toronto. We have four main product lines: industrial rubber hose, composite hose, industrial ducting â€“ fabric, as well as plastic ducting. We also represent an American-owned company called Todo, which is a dry-break coupling manufacturer. Having said that, our increase in sales is really based on our mil-spec hose. We're strong in petrochemical hose. The food industry is brisk also. That is one of our main product lines, which has had a tremendous increase in sales as well as material handling hose. Those hoses could handle anything from dirt and debris to sludge and slurry, but that's been another very strong hose for us. We're not strong in what we call spaghetti hose. We make one-inch hose and above. That's what gave us growth in 2010 and what we expect will in 2011.
NAHAD: What benefits does the association offer members? How has membership with the association benefitted NovaFlex?
McCool: We've been a member for at least 15 years. NAHAD is a great organization because the distributors are able to all get together. The biggest benefit they bring is the hose assembly guidelines. Its name was changed to the Hose Safety Institute. It is very beneficial to distributors and end users who use the product. It's been a big benefit to us.
NAHAD: You recently became a member of the association's board. Why do you think you were nominated?
McCool: I was really honored to be asked to be a part of the board because that gives our company some notoriety. NovaFlex is not considered one of the big manufacturers in this country. We're more or less a second-tier manufacturer. I'm fairly unique because I've been with the company for 15 years. But my prior life was in the distributor business. I've been on both sides of the fence. I think that's why I was nominated. I've been told since I worked for a distributor for many years that I truly understand their pain, and that was why I was picked.
NAHAD: What do you hope to accomplish?
McCool: I'm on the Hose Safety Institute committee, and I'm also on the Manufacturer Associate committee. Previously there were five groupings of products - industrial hose, hydraulic hose, composite hose, Teflon hose and metal hose. They're merging into this Hose Safety Institute. I hope to be involved on the composite hose portion of it. I hope I can lend some assistance coming from the manufacturer standpoint.Â
NAHAD: What are you looking forward to?
McCool: I know most of the members of the board from doing business with them. They all have the focus to improve the NAHAD organization. The organization and board itself is made of people who are truly interested in improving NAHAD and making it more strong and viable.
NAHAD: What is your background in the industry? How long have you been working in it, and how did you get to where you are now?
McCool: I've been in this business for 35 years. I have been with NovaFlex for almost 15 years. We were a very small manufacturing facility and now our sales are at $50 million. I started as a regional salesman covering the Northeast. I covered Virginia up to Maine. After a few years, I was promoted to a national sales position. I covered the country and Canada to Mexico, as well. I was a national sales manager for composite hose in Todo. Now I'm a national product manager and branch manager of this New Jersey facility. Prior to that I spent time as an industrial rubber distributor for 20 years with three different companies.
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