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Modern Group tightens distribution operations
Thursday, 6 Aug 2009 ( #422 ) - Bristol, PA, United States
News Story
Dave Griffith
Modern Group Ltd has restructured its operations as a single integrated full-line industrial distributor and no longer operates as a holding company in the mid-Atlantic region.

While positioning for future growth, "2009 is a significant challenge to top line, but we remain cash positive", says Dave Griffith, president and chief executive officer since 1995. "We will be doing acquisitions as we come out of the current environment."

Senior personnel with units of the Bristol-based Modern Group have assumed new responsibilities. Carl Rathemacher, formerly Modern Handling Equipment president, is now a special advisor to the CEO on acquisitions. Gerry Couch, formerly president of Modern Equipment & Sales Co, is now senior vice president of sales across all Modern Group businesses.

"We are streamlining the company and creating single points of contact in all of our operations," Griffith notes, adding that the restructuring allows Modern to provide customers with a full range of product offerings while maintaining a dedicated sales force and application specialists for specific products and services.

Griffith intends for the change to make operations more efficient and leverage the company’s investments in technology.

Modern Group employs more than 500 staff at 21 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland and provides sales, leasing, short-term rental, service, parts, training and financing services.

Predecessor firm Rapids Handling Equipment Co was formed in 1946, became a franchised dealer for Hyster in 1947 and, through the years, has logged about 33 acquisitions. Modern Group Ltd was formed as a holding company in 1979 to manage acquisitions.

Now, in addition to Hyster, Modern Group represents JLG, Genie, Generac and New Holland brands and a total of more than 400 product lines involving materials handling and construction equipment and power systems and generators.

The company operates under an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) that went to a 100% status in 2003. Previously, a number of individual shareholders owned most of the business through an ESOP. The firm withholds sales figures.
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