Cycle Country ends search for CEO – October 16, 2006

Cycle Country Accessories Corporation’s six-month search for a CEO recently ended with the hiring of Randy Kempf, whose background fits nicely with the company’s desire for more manufacturing expertise.
Kempf is a former executive of two Indiana manufacturing companies, including most recently as senior vice president of operations for Wessels Co., a maker of pressure vessels for fluid control applications.
“We wanted somebody that had pretty good experience in several areas. Manufacturing, obviously, was very important to us,” said Jim Danbom, the founder of Cycle Country and the chairman of its board.
The Iowa company dismissed its former CEO, Ron Hickman, in April, saying it wanted to increase shareholder value and growth. The company, which is traded on AMEX as ATC, has seen its shares drop from a high of $3.95 in the past 52 weeks to a low of $1.69. The share’s value has since rebounded somewhat to $2 as of Sept. 29.
Cycle Country, however, remains the market share leader in some aftermarket categories, saying it has more than 50 percent of the worldwide market in several product segments. So it’s not surprising that besides manufacturing expertise, Cycle Country also was looking for a CEO with a sales background and public relations skills.
“We wanted him to be a person that was able to deal with the public extremely well,” Danbom said, “and so far I’ve seen that happen.”
Among Kempf’s first goals will be concentrating on improving sales and streamlining the company’s manufacturing process. Danbom said Kempf will first “spend quite a bit time working with distribution and dealer channels. He has several trips planned that will be along” with Brad Danbom, the company’s national sales manager and one of Jim’s sons.
Kempf also held upper-level management positions at companies such as E-Lite Technologies, Inc, Molex, Inc., Brush Wellman, Inc. and Rockwell International, Inc. (Collins Radio).
At his last job, at Wessels Co., Kempf addressed the company’s supply chain management, implemented a lean manufacturing process and developed capital improvement and cost reduction programs, according to a Cycle Country press release.
With Kempf now at Cycle Country, Jim Danbom expects the company to broaden its product line and continue to look at possible acquisitions. The company added to its manufacturing capabilities by purchasing Simonsen Iron Works last year and has bought other accessory companies, including Weekend Warrior, previously.
“We’re excited about acquisitions,” Danbom said, noting the company is currently looking at a possible acquisition. “We would like to add as many products that are in line with what we’re doing.” psb

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