Author: Jason

What is Twist and Seal Anyway?

Over the last two years, I have been doing my best to explain the Twist and Seal products and now I have a great Twist and Seal video to do that for me.

Based in the Chicago suburb of Frankfort, Twist and Seal designs and manufactures patented devices that protect electrical cords from water damage. The device snaps over where two cords plug together or where cords plug into a multi-plug power strip to keep snow, rain, and ice from affecting the connection. Twist and Seal serves a wide range of customers, including homeowners hanging holiday lights, zoos, industrial operations, entertainment venues, construction sites, and municipalities.

Each Twist and Seal product has gone through rigorous lab testing, has been certified to industry standards and is manufactured in the U.S. Twist and Seal is a three-time recipient of the Most Innovative Product of the Year award at the National Hardware Show. Twist and Seal products can be found at most hardware stores, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart and online at Amazon or twistandseal.com.

Twist and Seal Mini

Twist and Seal products are specifically designed to protect your outdoor extension cord connections. Perfect for holiday lights, outdoor lighting, and the job site.

  • APPLICATIONS – Perfect for keeping water, mud and melting snow away from extension cord connections. No more tripped outlets or lights going off when it rains or snows.
  • EASY TO USE – Unique and patented design will keep typical extension cord connections dry all season long. Simply place your connections inside and clamp latches down!
  • SAFETY – Helps prevents tripped outlets and reduce the risk of electrical shock. Independently lab tested to meet and exceed NEMA standards for protection against rain, sleet and ice.
  • HEAVY DUTY – Proudly made in USA! Constructed from commercial grade plastic that has UV protection.

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Colfax Creek and Rock River’s Fluence Automation Acquires POST-IS

CHICAGO, IL / BIRMINGHAM, MI – Colfax Creek Capital and Rock River Capital Partners formed Fluence Automation to acquire the mail and parcel sorting business unit of Bell and Howell on July 31, 2017.    Fluence Automation is the leading manufacturer of mail and parcel sorting equipment, software, and services.  Fluence Automation has acquired POST Integrated Solutions (POST-IS), a parcel processing and material handling technology company serving the eCommerce, postal and parcel automation markets.

Strategically, the move further enhances Fluence Automation’s technology offerings and adds a dedicated team of professionals in the growing parcel delivery and eCommerce fulfillment automation markets, while the company continues to serve customers in traditional mail and postal sorting.

POST-IS and Fluence Automation have already worked closely together to serve customers. The combined entity has a comprehensive automation platform to provide high-speed parcel induction, encoding and data-automation solutions including scanning, dimensioning, weighing, address reading, variable-length, dynamic labeling and sorting technology.

“The addition of POST-IS complements our efforts in the surging eCommerce automation space and will help our customers reduce costs and delivery timeframes by increasing production speed in their eCommerce, mail and parcel processing, distribution and shipping operations,” says Mike Swift, president and CEO of Fluence Automation.

Jason Duzan of Colfax Creek added, “that Post-IS will provide new capabilities to accelerate Fluence Automation’s eCommerce and parcel automation growth”.

Rob Stone, founder and president of POST-IS, will join Fluence Automation and lead the Fluence business unit focused on eCommerce automation.

“We are excited to build on the success we’ve had at POST-IS over the past several years, now as part of Fluence,” says Stone. “The company has a strong, growing business with an outstanding suite of products, software, and technical support. I look forward to tapping the collective resources of the organization to provide expanded solutions for customers.”

About Colfax Creek Capital

Based in Birmingham, Michigan, Colfax Creek is a private investment firm that invests in “smaller” middle market companies. The firm focuses on consumer product, service, and industrial companies in the Great Lake states. Colfax Creek brings its investment expertise and collaboration with operating executives and entrepreneurs to build long-term businesses.  We develop relationships with business owners and management and focus our capital and resources with a shared purpose of creating lasting value. For more information, visit www.colfaxcreek.com.

About Rock River Capital

Rock River Capital is a Chicago-based private investment firm focused on investing in growing industrial and services businesses as well as other growth-oriented opportunities.  We generally prefer to partner with existing management in ownership transition situations and take a long-term, patient approach.  For more information visit: www.rockrivercp.com.

About Fluence Automation

Fluence Automation is an innovative technology solutions company that builds and markets mail and parcel sorting systems and owns a portfolio of mail and parcel labeling technologies that increasingly is being adapted for the e-Commerce fulfillment market. Fluence provides long-term support and customer care through its robust suite of software focused on vision/recognition and sorting applications, and a service support network that is based primarily in the U.S., with operating subsidiaries in the UK and Germany. For more information visit: www.fluenceautomation.com.

 


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Shaffer Joins GLE Precision as Board Advisor

GLE Precision, headquartered in Bridgeport, Mich., has recruited a proven industrial executive to advise and guide the company through its next growth phase. Alan Shaffer will serve as an advisor to the board of directors. He brings 30 years of operating experience in 13 domestic and international industrial markets while at four publicly traded companies and two private equity portfolio companies.

“Alan is a terrific find for GLE Precision,” Jason Duzan, chairman of GLE, said. “He has decades of experience in leading businesses similar to GLE Precision, including precision manufacturing. He has terrific chemistry with management; his guidance and experience will be invaluable during the upcoming growth expansion that GLE Precision is driving toward.”

Looking for the Right Advisor

GLE Precision has exceeded its growth objective since Colfax Creek acquired the company in 2015 and has developed new precision manufacturing capabilities to become a leader in the medical device, fiber optic, and computer chip markets. With more growth on the horizon, GLE Precision’s leadership decided to add a new board advisor who will counsel us on our sales and marketing initiatives.

“The GLE leadership team was looking for an individual who has a deep and broad exposure to business, one who truly enjoys the challenges of business today, including technical sales and manufacturing,” said Clint Bucholz, president of GLE Precision. “A person that is an individual that has a ‘been there and done that’ portfolio of work experiences. Alan is that guy. It should be a fun journey together.”

An Engineer & a Proven Executive

An engineer by training, Shaffer has used his technical expertise and leadership experience in a variety of domestic and international industrial markets.  These markets included cutting tools, metalworking chemicals, bonded abrasives, carbide wear parts/powered metals, mining and road construction tools, industrial magnets, printed circuit board laminates, metrology and industrial lasers, coordinate measuring machines, machine tools and flexible manufacturing systems, precision press die tooling and plastic mold tooling.

In addition to 30 years of P&L experience, Shaffer has also led the acquisition, restructuring, integration, and operation of 15 companies and the divestiture of seven businesses in North America, Europe, Japan and Asia that totaled $1 billion in revenue. Most of the acquired companies were losing money. Shaffer led the work to turn these companies into profitable businesses.

Shaffer also has experience in private equity, serving on a board of directors and as a business owner. For seven years, he was one of five owners of Starchem Inc., a developer and manufacturer of metalworking chemicals with sales in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, and India.

Shaffer held several executive level positions with different companies, including Federal Signal Corporation [NYSE: FSS], American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. [NYSE: AXL] (Blackstone Group portfolio company), and Cincinnati Milacron Inc. [NYSE: MZ], before retiring in early 2015 as president of Dayton Lamina Corporation, a $220 million subsidiary of Misumi Group Inc. of Japan with 14 plants and 1,500 employees.

Guiding GLE Precision

GLE Precision has been going through a rapid period of growth. This has led to many positive changes but highlighted our need for improvement, which has encouraged us to look for another key member of the team. As an advisor to the board of directors, Shaffer will share his considerable experience with GLE Precision’s leadership to help move the company into the next phase and expand its market reach.

“GLE Precision has a tremendous opportunity because of its unique skill set of working with extremely small parts that require a high finish,” Shaffer said. “I am excited to be a part of the growth potential of the business and leverage my experience in sales and operations with similar sized and larger industrial businesses.”

About Colfax Creek Capital

Based in Birmingham, Michigan, Colfax Creek is a private investment firm that invests in“smaller” middle market companies. The firm focuses on consumer product, service, and industrial companies with EBITDA from $2 million to $7 million in the Great Lake states. Colfax Creek brings its investment expertise and collaboration with operating executives and entrepreneurs to build long-term businesses. Jason Duzan, the principal of Colfax Creek, has invested in middle market companies for more than 20 years — leading or co-leading nearly $2 billion in private investment transactions in consumer, service and industrial companies. We develop relationships with business owners and management and focus our capital and resources with a shared purpose of creating lasting value. For more information, visit www.colfaxcreek.com.

About GLE Precision

Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Bridgeport, Michigan, GLE Precision is a manufacturer of extremely high precision products, when gage tolerances, wear properties, and high finishes are critical. GLE Precision is a global leader in tungsten carbide machining, ceramic machining and other hard exotic materials machined to customer specifications. Its products serve the waterjet, medical device, chip/tech, aerospace, fiber optic markets and a broad range of other applications for some of the most recognizable companies in the world such as Johnson & Johnson, Emerson, IBM, and Bosch. For more information, visit www.gle-precision.com.


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GLE Precision to Expand its Board of Directors

Colfax Creek acquired GLE Precision in 2015. Over the last two and half years, GLE has exceeded its growth objectives.  In addition, the Company has developed new precision manufacturing capabilities to serve cutting-edge customers and industries, particularly in the medical device, fiber optic, and aerospace markets. As a result, GLE is seeking to add one new member to its Board of Directors to assist and guide the company in its sales and marketing initiatives.

New Board of Directors Candidate Guidelines (not rules):
Experience:
      1. Current or Retired CEO, COO, or VP-Sales & Marketing
      2. Technical sales and marketing skill set and experience
      3. Manufacturing and/or industrial service experience
      4. Relationships in any of the following market segments:
        • Medical Devices
        • Fiber Optic
        • Aerospace
        • Computer Chip
Intangibles:
      1. No Jerk Rule – chemistry with management and fellow board members is critical
      2. Time to Commit – typically monthly calls and quarterly in-person board meetings
      3. Greater Michigan location – accessible to Bridgeport, Michigan
      4. Relationship focused – preference for referred candidates
Please contact Colfax Creek at jason@colfaxcreek.com to refer a Board of Directors candidate.

About Colfax Creek Capital

Based in Birmingham, Michigan, Colfax Creek is a private investment firm that invests in “smaller” middle market companies.  The firm focuses on consumer product, service, and industrial companies with EBITDA from $2 million to $7 million in the Great Lake States. Colfax Creek brings its investment expertise and collaboration with operating executives and entrepreneurs to build long-term businesses.  Jason Duzan, the principal of Colfax Creek, has invested in middle market companies for twenty years — leading or co-leading nearly two billion in private investment transactions in consumer, service, and industrial companies. We develop relationships with business owners and management and focus our capital and resources with a shared purpose of creating lasting value. For more information visit: www.colfaxcreek.com.

About GLE Precision

Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Bridgeport, Michigan, GLE Precision is a manufacturer of extremely high precision products, when gage tolerances, wear properties, and high finishes are critical. GLE Precision is a global leader in tungsten carbide machining, ceramic machining, and other hard exotic materials machined to customer specifications. Its products serve the waterjet, medical device, chip/tech, aerospace,  fiber optic markets and a broad range of other applications for some of the most recognizable companies in the world such as Johnson & Johnson, Emerson, IBM, and Bosch. For more information visit: www.gle-precision.com.


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Colfax Creek and Rock River Capital Lead the Acquisition of Fluence Automation

CHICAGO, IL / BIRMINGHAM, MI – Colfax Creek Capital and Rock River Capital Partners formed Fluence Automation LLC to acquire the mail and parcel sorting business unit of Bell and Howell.    The acquisition included the mail and parcel sorting systems / hardware and related software and service revenue associated with the hardware as well as assets that will be leveraged for growth opportunities in the material handling and e-commerce fulfillment markets.

Colfax Creek and Rock River, along with key members of the management team, partnered with Tecum Capital Partners, Midwest Mezzanine and Wintrust Bank to acquire the business unit.  All three partners have significant industry experience and provide a strong and stable capital base that will support the company’s growth objectives.

Fluence Automation will be led by Bell and Howell’s tenured VP and General Manager of Sorting, Mike Swift as President and CEO. “Fluence Automation will expand its position in the mail and parcel sorting market, making further investments in new market segments, including e-commerce, to accelerate growth,” Swift said. “Our automated solutions enable break-through productivity and speed-of-delivery improvements, backed by an outstanding suite of software and world-class customer support.”

“We are pleased to partner with Mike Swift and the Fluence team.  Mike has led the business unit since 1999 and has a knowledgeable team in place,” said Ryan Satterfield of Rock River Capital. “We are focused on leveraging Fluence’s leadership position in its core mail processing market to continue to serve the expanding customer base.  With this acquisition, we have provided Mike and the team with the capital necessary to take advantage of growth opportunities in the company’s core market as well as growth opportunities in the rapidly expanding material handling market.”

Jason Duzan of Colfax Creek added “that the relationship with our three capital partners is ideal.”  “They are not only established middle market company investors, but they bring industry experiences to the company.”

Mike Swift, CEO of Fluence, added, “Colfax Creek and Rock River provide a long-term perspective to investing and are supportive of our growth objectives.  We are focused on service and software improvements, product enhancements, international expansion and investment into e-commerce applications.  My team and I are highly energized by this acquisition as it further enables us to focus on our existing and new emerging markets in our space.”

About Colfax Creek Capital

Colfax Creek is a private investment firm that takes a long-term approach to investing in smaller middle market companies.  The firm invests in consumer product, service, and industrial companies in the Great Lake States.  We prefer to support existing management in control investments, but we will support limited management transitions.  Colfax Creek is based in Birmingham, MI.  For more information visit: www.colfaxcreek.com.

 About Rock River Capital

Rock River Capital is a Chicago-based private investment firm focused on investing in growing industrial and services businesses as well as other growth oriented opportunities.  We generally prefer to partner with existing management in ownership transition situations and take a long term, patient approach.  For more information visit: www.rockrivercp.com.

 About Fluence Automation

Fluence Automation is an innovative technology solutions company that is headquartered in Wheeling, IL.  Fluence Automation sells mail and parcel sorting systems and owns a portfolio of mail and parcel labeling technologies that are increasingly being adapted for the e-commerce fulfillment market.  Fluence provides long-term support and customer care through its robust suite of software focused on vision/recognition and sorting applications and a service support network that is based primarily in the US with operating subsidiaries in the UK and Germany.  For more information visit: www.fluenceautomation.com.


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What’s in a Name? At Colfax Creek, It’s a Story

I am often asked, “Where did Colfax Creek come from?”

I wanted a name that was relevant to me and to the path that led me to where I am today.  I spent months brainstorming names and ruling them out because they didn’t fit my story.  That’s what a name does…it tells a story.  It may be passed from generation to generation, bestowed in some way that represents your family’s history.  That’s what I wanted for this firm…a meaningful name that represents my priorities, values, and heritage.

Finding the Right Name

At first, I spent months on a running list of possible names based on streets and natural features in my adopted state of Michigan.  But that’s just it…my path to Michigan began outside of ‘The Mitten’.  It began in my hometown of Colfax, Illinois, a small farming community with a population of 1,036.  A quick Google search of Colfax led me to Colfax Corporation, a publicly traded industrial business.  I knew I would cause too much confusion if I just used Colfax; the name needed to be more distinct.

That’s how I ended up on Google Maps, zooming over my hometown.  I began to note that the little stream that ran through town actually had a name, Colfax Creek.  I knew that stream well…I just never knew it had a name.

Down by the Crick

You see, I grew up on a corn and soybean farm three miles from town and “the Crick”, as we called that stream of water, ran along the end of our corn fields about a half-mile behind our home.  The Crick was a magical place in my childhood.  I passed many hours fishing, wading, shooting my BB gun, building forts, camping, and floating inner tubes with my siblings and friends.  It was a childhood paradise.  Those moments made up an awesome childhood experience that cultivated my imagination, self-reliance, and intrinsic motivation.  It was a destination after a hot day of walking beans, shucking sweet corn, and observing my father and his fellow farmers work together to produce something significant.  My upbringing in small town America, where everyone knows each other and reputations are built over decades and lost overnight, taught me that relationships matter.

I had my name…Colfax Creek.  It is a constant reminder of small town America where life was viewed with a long-term approach and based on the relationships that you formed whether for business or friendship.


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GLE Precision Puts a Face on Middle-Market Business

The Michigan Manufacturer Makes Products That Fit in Your Palm, but Its Reach Goes Much Further

CHAUNIE BRUSIE | AUGUST 10, 2017 | http://middlemarketgrowth.org

Tucked behind the main street of Frankenmuth, Michigan, where Bavarian architecture, world-famous chicken dinners and horse-drawn carriages are town trademarks, stands the grinding facility of GLE Precision.

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Middle Market Growth: The Strength of Small

The Strength of Small: GLE Precision Helps Manufacturers Meet Stringent Quality Requirements

S.A. SWANSON | MAY 17, 2017 | middlemarketgrowth.org

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Colfax Creek Leads Recapitalization of Twist and Seal

Finding the right investor makes a difference. Any firm can invest in a company and provide capital, but Colfax Creek invests as a dedicated, long-term partner to drive business growth. That personal touch helped Colfax Creek founder Jason Duzan stand out against the competition in leading a recent recapitalization of Midwest Innovative Products, who does business as Twist and Seal, with the management team.

“After entertaining numerous offers from investment partners, Jason instantly rose to the top,” Twist and Seal founder and CEO Bryan Nooner said. “As a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of Midwest Innovative Products, I was looking for a partner that offered more than just capital. Having a partner that provided access to the appropriate funding was certainly important; however, it was not the key decision-making factor. Having the ‘right fit’ partner that understood both our current and future business needs was actually the critical hurdle that needed to be overcome.”

Colfax Creek’s investment will support Nooner in his vision to grow the Twist and Seal product line into more retailers, expand into new end markets, and introduce new products.

Based in the Chicago suburb of Frankfort, Twist and Seal designs and manufactures patented devices that protect electrical cords from water damage. The device snaps over where two cords plug together or where cords plug into a multi-plug power strip to keep snow, rain, and ice from affecting the connection. Twist and Seal serves a wide range of customers, including homeowners hanging Christmas lights, zoos, industrial operations, entertainment venues, construction sites, and municipalities.

Each Twist and Seal product has gone through rigorous lab testing, has been certified to industry standards and is manufactured in the U.S. Twist and Seal is a three-time recipient of the Most Innovative Product of the Year award at the National Hardware Show. Twist and Seal products can be found at most hardware stores, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart.

“I am excited to partner with Bryan Nooner to continue to grow the Twist and Seal business,” Jason said. “I believe Twist and Seal is a real gem that has innovative and unique products, fantastic retail partners and, most importantly, a passionate CEO. Twist and Seal is a good fit for Colfax Creek, as we can leverage my experiences and resources leading investments in numerous consumer products businesses.”

The Colfax Creek Difference

  • The Colfax Creek difference starts before a deal has ever been made. Jason shows up at the table with 20 years of private equity experience, a willingness to develop a plan that works well for Colfax Creek and the company, and the drive to create an even better company together.
  • “Jason’s straight-forward and insightful demeanor demonstrated a tremendous amount of business acumen along with respect and caring for me and our growing organization,” Nooner said. “I really appreciated the ‘stick-to-it’ intensity level that Jason brought to the due diligence and acquisition process. He has developed a very efficient and thorough acquisition methodology that does not overburden the management team, allowing the company to focus on its operations. From the first meeting to closing, Jason kept his team on task and always followed through with what he said he would do. As a result of our partnership with Jason and his Colfax Creek organization, I am confident that our company is now positioned with the necessary strategic leadership and capital to grow.”

A Friend in the Business

  • As a private investment firm, Colfax Creek focuses on “smaller” middle market companies in the Great Lakes states where the team’s expertise can have the most impact and utilizing relationships to find outstanding operating partners and companies.
  • Andrew Chidester, an investment banker with Metolius Partners Inc., introduced Jason to Twist and Seal and the opportunity to recapitalize the company. Metolius helps companies find the best solution for their liquidity needs by assisting business owners with raising capital, selling assets, merging, and purchasing other businesses.
  • “It was a pleasure working with Colfax Creek on the successful closing of Twist and Seal,” Chidester “Jason and the Colfax Creek team were consummate professionals throughout the transaction process and delivered on the deal terms they initially proposed. Twist and Seal has gained a valuable partner in Colfax Creek, and I expect Twist and Seal to achieve significant success in the near future.”

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Introducing Colfax Creek Capital

Colfax Creek Capital isn’t just about making investments. It’s about building businesses to create lasting value for all the business’s stakeholders. I am focusing on “smaller” middle market companies in the Great Lakes states working with management and like-minded capital partners to improve their operations and grow their business over the long-term.

In the last 20 years, I’ve led nearly $2 billion in private investment transactions and managed or co-managed investments in 12 platform companies with EBITDA of $3 million to $12 million in the consumer products, services, and industrials sectors. I’ve sourced investment opportunities, closed those investments, worked with management to enhance value, and realized many of those investments.

Now I’m leveraging those years of private investment experience to invest in businesses where I have a greater level of involvement in the company’s success. Colfax Creek, named for my hometown in Illinois, is about building relationships and developing partnerships to create long-term value. I’m interested in working with people who are committed and passionate about a business and value integrity, transparency, and candor.

An Experienced Equity Partner

My investment experience includes leading deal negotiations, performing due diligence, financing, recruiting and retaining management teams and developing an investment strategy. Here is an overview of four different businesses I was previously involved with.

  • ACE Bakery — Produces and markets 35 varieties of European-style artisan bread and other baked goods that are marketed in Canada and the United States.
  • Encore Rehabilitation Services — Provides outcome-driven rehabilitative therapy services to skilled nursing facilities, assisted-living facilities, and home health agencies.
  • Moosejaw — A leading online retailer, Moosejaw also sells outdoor apparel and equipment through retail stores and seasonal catalogs. Moosejaw offers its own Moosejaw brand and major names in outdoor products, such as North Face, Patagonia, and Canada Goose.
  • Fusion Education Group — Operates a network of private middle and high schools that offer each student a one-on-one education tailored to their learning differences.

Investment Focus

Colfax Creek will focus on the smaller side of middle market companies in the Great Lakes states – operations within a drive of Detroit.  Staying closer to home allows me to spend more time working with each company to deliver more resources by utilizing my regional connections to improve the long-term health and success of my companies.

Life is too short to work with people you don’t like. The people factor is critical. I’m interested in building a partnership with the right companies run by the right people.

To find the best opportunities for Colfax Creek, I’ve developed investment guidelines.

Geography — Companies that operate in the Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin)  or generally easy for me to visit.

Investment structure — Control investments or shared control with like-minded investors.

Company EBITDA — $2 to $7 million (or larger if I have a significant operational edge) with 10 percent or greater operating margins.

Industry focus — Consumer products, services, and industrials.

Management team — Prefer to support the existing management team or with limited management transitions.

When Everything Comes Together

Colfax Creek isn’t the right investment firm for every company. I am selective about the companies I invest in, as I am not just making a financial investment. It is personal. I am investing my time, energy and talent to help our collective vision succeed.

Visit Colfax Creek at colfaxcreek.com to learn more who we are.


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