LENEXA, Kan. — A group of Kansas investors purchased the Snorkel line of aerial work platforms from the Omniquip business unit of Textron Inc. Omniquip shut down U.S. production of the Snorkel line last June.
Elwood Holdings, an investment group headed by Allen Havlin, president of FluidTech, a Snorkel supplier based in Lenexa, Kan., acquired the respected Snorkel line. The acquisition includes Snorkel's manufacturing facility in Elwood, Kan. The ownership group includes Hank and David Bradley, principal owners of the St. Joseph New-Press & Gazette Co.
Havlin, who will serve temporarily as CEO, plans to immediately move Snorkel operations from St. Paul, Minn., back to the Elwood facility. Elwood Holdings expects to hire about 40 workers for the startup, including many former Snorkel employees.
“Snorkel has had many terrific people, dating back to my friend and (Snorkel) founder Art Moore,” Havlin said. “They will be key to making this turnaround effort a success.”
Snorkel was once one of the St. Joseph, Mo., area's largest employers, having employed as many as 800 people. It laid off a work force of about 200 when it closed. “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring more manufacturing jobs to the area,” said Hank Bradley.
Snorkel, which produces telescopic booms and scissor lifts, was owned by Figgie International until 1997, when it was acquired by Omniquip. In 1999, Omniquip merged with Textron. Snorkel also has manufacturing and sales operations in Australia and New Zealand, where the company remains profitable.