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Packard continues to expand its footprint and plans for the future by adopting an employee stock ownership plan.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

For nearly 60 years, Packard has been a dominant force in the HVACR industry because of its ongoing commitment to service, selection and satisfaction. Headquartered in Kennesaw, Ga., the company has regional offices and independent manufacturer’s representatives covering it from coast to coast.

As a master distributor, the company brings wholesalers innovative, high-quality products that include top industry names and its own exclusive private-label lines. Packard offers a full spectrum of HVACR parts and components. The company seeks to proactively evolve its product offering in response to purchasing shifts, trends and to meet or exceed regulatory requirements in the industry.

A major strength is the broad product line. This includes compressors, refrigeration controls, and high-efficiency motors, to list a few components found in domestic, light commercial and integral applications.  The expansive compressor line goes through 30 HP, encompassing low- to high-temperature applications that use a broad spectrum of refrigerants. The motor offering covers the industry spectrum from C-Frame to T-Frame for Residential and Commercial applications. Packard box

“Packard supplies refrigeration products to OEMs and distributors all over North America,” Vice President of OEM Sales Ferris McDaniel says. “Packard is all about sustainable solutions, emphasizing energy efficiency and reduced emissions. Our breadth and range of products rivals offerings by some of the largest manufacturers in the industry. Our product support specialists offer more than 100 years of combined product knowledge with full-time quality engineers on staff.”

“We are the leader in our market and are known as the solutions supplier,” President Susan Kirkland says. “We pride ourselves on speaking the language our customers speak. Our entire team responds with professionalism and a personal touch, our online ordering is seamless and we are continually expanding to offer distribution centers with customer pick-up options.”

Strategic Operations

Packard is investing in its future by continuing to add brick and mortar locations. The company relocated its corporate office in late 2017 to a new 154,000-square-foot space, which more than doubled its previous location. In 2015, Packard opened its Indianapolis Distribution Center, which serves the Midwest and added a third distribution center in Chandler, Ariz., in February, which will meet the needs of its West Coast customers.  

When the company was preparing to move into its new headquarters, Operations Manager Lee Washington met with a leading logistical company to streamline its processes and become more efficient. “It all comes down to relationships and technology and how you leverage that for the future,” he adds. “We spent a significant amount of time future-proofing our new distribution center in Georgia so we can get our product to customers faster.”

Getting product out faster helps solve clients’ just-in-time challenges. Packard stocks so they can supply quickly.  This pioneering company is always looking for ways to improve its processes and procedures. “Adding automation to our warehousing and secondary processes have been instrumental in increasing the throughput of our production and shipping departments,” Washington says.

 “Packard has worked with our partners upstream and downstream in the supply chain to move the entire chain forward,” he continues. “We must have the mindset that what we are doing across our distribution centers today will not sustain us for next year’s growth. We have to continue to find ways to grow and improve our processes continually.”

The company’s partners want to be part of its success and allow it to remain competitive in the market and pass those savings on to its customers. “Faster and cheaper, that’s what everyone wants,” Washington adds.

Packard’s vision serves as its roadmap and will guide every aspect of its business by describing what it needs to accomplish to continue achieving sustainable, quality growth. For its partners, Packard promises to “nurture a winning network of customers and suppliers, and together we can create mutual, lasting value.” They do this by listening to what their partners have to say and by remaining flexible to not only their needs, but the needs of the industry.

Securing its Legacy

Packard transitioned to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in August 2017, to secure the company’s unique culture into the next generation. The purpose of this ESOP is to enable Packard’s eligible employees to share in the growth and prosperity of the company, accumulate capital for their future economic security and acquire beneficial stock ownership interests in the company.

“My hope for this new employee-owned path is two-fold: to continue the legacy of service, selection and satisfaction that CEO Tom Campbell and I have nurtured these past 45 years, and to provide a concrete future for our hardworking employees and valued customers,” Kirkland says. This long, prayer-filled journey was not forged into lightly.”

It took the company one year to conduct its research and do its due diligence on how an ESOP would work before it implemented the new structure. “We are really excited and our employees are more engaged than ever,” Kirkland says. “When an Employee finally understands that they are now a beneficial owner and all they invested was sweat equity, it really does encourage them to do a better job. We told them to keep doing exactly what they had been doing, just more of it and like you own it, because you do. “

Packard looks to double-digit growth regardless of outlying factors, Vice President of Business Development Jim Mosman says. “We are driven primarily by seasonality and weather,” he adds. “Economics are always a factor, we tend to do better in tougher economic times as the end-user base shifts more to repairing equipment utilizing our components rather than replacing it with new equipment, which isn’t currently part of our product offering.  During stronger economic periods, we provide value to our customers by supplying new sustainable products and developing services that create efficiencies within their business.”

Moving forward, Packard plans to continue to build a future for its employees and customers. “I want to go out on a high note here and I have a goal before I step aside and let the next generation come in, which is to see us do more of what we do best.  I think you will see more acquisitions in our future.” Kirkland says.

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