Associated Banc-Corp: A Regional Bank Holding Company

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Founded in 1861, Associated Banc-Corp operates as a regional bank holding company. It is the parent company of Associated Bank. All of the acquired assets of the company are merged under one brand name, the Associated Bank.

Serving the areas of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the company is considered as the largest bank headquartered in Wisconsin, based on asset size. It is in Green Bay, Wisconsin that the business holds its corporate office. They have 200 banking offices across the three states and has assets valued to be more than $27 billion. The operations of the company are segmented into retail banking, commercial banking, commercial real estate, wealth management/private banking, associated financial group and specialized financial services.

The business is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its common shares are marketed using the ticker symbol ASB. It thrives in the industries of financial services, bank-holding company and regional banks.

Ardmore Shipping Corporation: Serving the Oil and Chemical Industry

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Ardmore Shipping Corporation is one of the businesses that support the energy industry. The business was incorporated in May 2013 and continues to operate as a provider of seaborne transportation of petroleum products and chemicals. The company holds its corporate office in the Bermuda.

The history of the company goes back to the creation of its predecessor in 2010. As a shipping company, it offers its services to oil and chemical companies, national oil companies, and global chemical companies. It operates a fleet of state of the art vessels that are capable of transporting commodities even in rough environments. The business has a strong financial foundation, which allows it to continuously grow and seize new opportunities. It also remains on the prowl for opportunities to snatch competing businesses.

Understanding the challenges of international shipping operations, Ardmore Shipping Corporation continues to innovate and benchmark best practices in the industry, which continues to fuel growth. Currently, the business has 14 vessels that are serving its customers. They also have 10 other vessels that are currently under construction and are about to operate sometime in 2017. Their vessels include the mighty Ardmore Centurion, Ardmore Capella, Ardmore Endeavour, Ardmore Seaventure and Ardmore Seavaliant. The company also serves as a parent company to several subsidiaries across the world. Some of the subsidiaries it oversees include Malin Shipco LLC, Bailey Shipco LLC, Fastnet Shipco LLC, Plymouth Shipco LLC and Rockall Shipco LLC, among others. Through its global network of support, they are able to help seafarers deliver products to clients safely and decisively.

The company is listed as one of the components of the Russell 3000 Index. It remains publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it continues to market its common shares using the ticker symbol ASC.

VECO Corporation Was Once a Major Oil Industry Player

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First established as Veltri Enterprises in 1968 by Wayne Ray Veltri, Bill Allen renamed it VE Construction upon his 1970 purchase before renaming it VECO Corporation in 1979. Before it was dissolved upon its September 2007 acquisition by CH2M HILL, it was a major player in the global oil industry with several divisions in many major markets in its capacity as an oil pipeline and construction company.

During its existence, it maintained headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska while its former executives included Tammy Kerrigan (CEO), Leter Leathard (President and COO), and Roger Chan (CFO and EVP). VECO Corporation was engaged in services engineering, construction, procurement, project management, design/build, operations and maintenance services.

CH2M HILL was formerly owned by Allen Limited Partnership with a 62% stake while the Tammy Kerrigan Revocable Trust (17%), Leathard Limited Partnership (10%), Roger Chan (6%), and Bill Allen (5%) owned minority stakes. Before its 2007 dissolution, it had 4,000 employees and owned several subsidiaries including Commonwealth Construction, VECO Construction, and VECO Gas Technologies, Inc., among others.

Vaughan & Bushnell Manufacturing Leads the Hammer Industry

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Vaughan & Bushnell Manufacturing, also simply known as Vaughan Manufacturing, is an American manufacturing company known for its world-class product lines consisting of hammers, prybars, axes, and handsaws. Such is its comprehensive range of products that it manufactures over 250 kinds of hammers thus ensuring that every consumer need and want will be addressed.

Alexander Vaughan founded the company in 1869 in Peoria, Illinois as a plumbing business owned and managed by the 18-year old blacksmith. He soon set up a blacksmith shop behind Sidney Bushnell’s hardware store in Chicago, Illinois. He was granted a patent for a better post auger in 15 June 1869 and he was soon manufacturing custom tools.

But in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed much of the company. Bushnell, fortunately, invested additional funds into Vaughn’s company thus allowing it to be incorporated as Vaughan and Bushnell Manufacturing Company in 1882. With its new management, the company shifted its focus to the manufacture of hatchets, hammers, wrecking bars, and axes.

By 1922, the Vaughn family purchased the Bushnell family’s interest but retained the corporate name. In 1963, its headquarters were moved to Hebron, Illinois. In 1966, the company formed a subsidiary, The V&B Mfg. Co., which manufactured hickory handles for its product lines; the subsidiary was located in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

In 1992, Vaughn Manufacturing added the GroundBreakers landscaping tools to its existing product lines. With their innovative design, construction and features, these landscaping tools became quickly popular among homeowners, landscapers, and contractors.

In 1994, the company purchased a saw mill in Centreville, Texas that supplied high-quality hickory for its landscaping and striking tools. The saw mill was located in the heart of a sustainable hickory forest, which explains the company’s decision to acquire it.

One of the highlights of Vaughn Manufacturing’s existence was its final approval for the International Standards Organization ISO 9002 Certification in 1993. It was the world’s first striking tool manufacturer to be awarded said prestigious award.

Western Digital Designs Products for Data Protection

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Western Digital Corporation is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hard disk drives and among the one of the most reliable manufacturers of computer data storage products. Founded by Alvin Phillips in April 1970 as General Digital, its leadership status in the electronic circuit industry has been established due to its commitment to world-class integrated circuits and storage products.

The company is also known for its above-average warranties on its hard disk drives with the warranties ranging from one to five years; for example, the enterprise-class models like Re, Se and Velociraptor has a 5-year warranty. The industry standard is a two-year warranty period. Customers can choose from two warranty options, namely, the retail price is inclusive of the warranty and a longer warranty period that can be purchased from its official website.

Western Digital also offers a replacement policy. Customers can replace broken products with new ones within the 30-day replacement period.

The company is also known for its numerous innovations including the first single-chip UART, the first single-chip floppy disk controller, and the first mass market 8-MB buffer IDE drive, among others.

West Liberty Foods: Turkey Is its Specialty

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West Liberty Foods, L.L.C. can rightfully call itself one of the leaders in the United States’ turkey industry. Established in 1996, the meat processing company is now owned and operated by the Iowa Turkey Growers Cooperative with four meat processing plants in Iowa and Utah.

As of 2006, the company was the 12th largest turkey-based company in the country – truly, an achievement because of the stiff competition. Emphasis must be made, however, that West Liberty Foods primarily manufactures products that its customers can market and sell under their own brand names. The company also sells 10% of its products under its own brand name with the 90% sold to organizational customers.

In addition to its turkey products, West Liberty Foods also produces other meat products from beef, chicken and pork.

Each of the company’s four plants has specific manufacturing functions in the entering process from slaughtering the animals to packaging the finished products. The West Liberty, Iowa plant is an exemption as it has the facilities for the entire process from preparing the raw materials (i.e., slaughtering) to processing and packaging the finished meats; it is also the first turkey processing plant to receive the ISO 14001 certification in the United States. The Mount Pleasant, Iowa plant is only involved in packaging the finished product while the Sigourney, Iowa plant is focused on processing the raw materials.

West Liberty Foods also maintains separate research and development as well as laboratory testing facilities, which are located in adjacent buildings from the West Liberty plant. The research and development facility is involved in testing raw and finished (i.e., cooked) products; creating products; and inventing packaging innovations, among others. The lab testing facility performs product quality testing.

Such is the passionate commitment to world-class products that West Liberty Foods has been recognized by the industry with several awards. These include the 2005 USDA Rural Development Economic Vision Award; the Hormel Spirit of Excellence Award for several years; and the 2005 Iowa Recycling Association’s Best Business Recycling Program, among others.

Vulcan Corporation: Leading Materials Manufacturer

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Vulcan Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vulcan International Corporation, is among the leading materials manufacturer in the United States. The Clarksville, Tennessee-based company specializes in foam, rubber and plastic products as well as in bowling pins with its 272,000-square feet manufacturing facility having a total mixing capacity of over 50 million pounds yearly. The rubber and foam products are manufactured in the Rubber Division’s abovementioned plant, which was originally built and used by B.F. Goodrich Corporation.

Vulcan Corporation sells approximately 57% of their products to several shoe companies. The company also has a joint venture agreement with Brunswick Bowling & Billiards in the manufacture of bowling pins, which are produced using its proprietary Surlyn coating process.

While its manufacturing officers are in Tennessee, its General Accounting Offices are in Cincinnati, Ohio. Vulcan Corporation has established and continues to maintain its leadership status in the sector because of its passionate commitment to world-class product quality, competitive pricing, and on-time delivery as well as superior customer service.

Wendy’s Company: Food Industry Leader In Its Own Right

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Wendy’s Company has undergone several changes in its name since its founding in the 19th century – Deisel-Wemmer Co. in 1884, Deisel-Wemmer-Gilbert Corporation in 1929, DWG Cigar Corporation in 1946, DWG Corporation in 1966, Triarc Companies, Inc. in 1993, and Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. in 2008. By 2011, the holding company for Wendy’s, a major global fast-food chain, has changed to its present-day name.

With its headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, Wendy’s Company owns and manages several fast-food joints including Wendy’s International, its principal subsidiary; Pasta Connection with 6 outlets and T.J. Cinnamons with 243 locations; and Arby’s, a roast beef sandwich fast-food chain with a minority stake (18.5%). Wendy’s International, the parent company and franchisor of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, has undergone several corporate changes itself, such as the purchase by Triarc Inc. in 2008 and the merger that resulted in Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. The latter represented a change in ownership and leadership for both of the fast-food chains, which was also accompanied by a stock symbol change to WEN.

T.J. Cinnamons, which was founded by Ted and Joyce Rice in 1985, is a cinnamon roll chain with several locations across the United States. In 1996, it was purchased by Arby’s that was, in turn, purchased by Wendy’s in late 2011; the company remained under Wendy’s Company’s ownership.

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. has over 3,400 restaurants across the United States thus making it the second-largest quick-service sandwich chain in the country; other locations are in Canada, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Turkey. Roark Capital Group owns 81.5% of Arby’s while Wendy’s Company owns the remaining 18.5%. Arby’s menu includes roast beef sandwiches, deli-style sandwiches, and shakes.

With the three major fast-food chains covering a wide range of fast-food products from cinnamon rolls to roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers and fries, and pasta dishes, Wendy’s Company continues to enjoy its leadership position in the restaurant industry.

Westinghouse Digital LLC: LCD and LED Televisions Marketer

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Westinghouse Digital LLC, an American company with headquarters in Orange, California, markets a wide range of LCD and LED televisions. It is licensed by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and, as such, is one of the prominent companies in the consumer electronics sector. For example, Westinghouse Digital announced the introduction of one of the world’s first high-definition televisions.

The Westinghouse brand continues to be at the forefront of the commercial display and consumer television markets, thanks to its innovative technologies. Among its innovative products are the HDTVs and UHDTVs, also known for 4K, for the consumer market including options for over-the-top (OTT) streaming of content via its mainstream content partners. In the professional display market, the Ultra HD (4K) line comes in several sizes up to the 98-inch model as well as a wide variety of features including interactive whiteboards equipped with multi-point Touch and embedded personal computers.

In the competitive world of the television industry, Westinghouse stays on top of its game through its strong commitment to the production of reliable, energy-efficient, and feature-rich displays for both residential and commercial applications.

Whataburger and Hamburgers: A Special Relationship

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When it comes to many of the United States’ best fast-food hamburgers, Whataburger’s hamburgers rank near the top of the list. Whataburger, a privately-held regional fast-food restaurant chain with its headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, was founded by Paul Burton and Harmon Dobson in 1950. The chain, which has 735 stores across the southern United States, is owned and managed by the Dobson family as well as 25 franchisers today.

Whataburger’s core products are obviously various kinds of hamburgers with the specialities being the Whataburger, Whataburger Jr., Justaburger, Whatacatch, and Whatachick’n. The chain’s restaurants also offer a breakfast menu.

Whataburger prides itself on offering the bigger and better hamburger in comparison with its competitors including McDonald’s. Its trademark Whataburger, for example, is made from 100% beef patty served on a large, toasted 5-inch bun. Its other hamburgers are usually variations of the basic Whataburger albeit with additions of cheese, vegetables and other food products.

On its 51st year (2001), Whataburger was declared as a Texas Treasure by virtue of a bill passed during the 77th Texas Legislature Session. By then, the fast-food chain already had 575 stores, which increased to 700 stores across 10 states in 2007 with overall annual revenues of US$1 billion.

With the advertising campaign featuring William Bassett launched in 2003, the chain’s popularity grew. In 2011, the company changed its advertising strategy by using documentary-style ads where employees and customers’ testimonials were used. As of 2011, Whataburger had 728 stores across 10 states – 611 stores were owned by the Dobson family while 117 stores were owned by 25 franchisers.

Free upgrades on Whatameals were used as a marketing tool for its 65th anniversary on 8 August 2015. This was, of course, just one of a long line of promotional tools employed by Whataburger to retain its loyal customers and attract new diners.