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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 6 years ago

Hudson Technologies president retires, replaced by apprentice

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New president, Bret Schmitz, has taken over for Mark Andrews, who has retired from his post.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

Bret Schmitz started at Hudson Technologies in 1987 as a toolmaker and apprentice. But he took the reins of the 250-employee company this month, after being promoted from vice president of operations Aug. 1.

Former President Mark Andrews, 64, has retired but said that he will continue to work with the company as a consultant.

Hudson has a solid strategy in place, according to Schmitz, and he intends on following down that established path.

“We’ve hired 50 people since the beginning of the year,” he said.

Schmitz said his top objective is that the leadership change be “seamless” for both customers and employees.

“Four times a year, the management team meets to make short- and long-term goals,” he said. “I’ve been part of that. We have had stability and growth and we want to be sure we remain stable.”

As for future product plans, Schmitz expects growth in the medical field for implanted devices.

“We’ve had growth in that area and see potential for more,” he said.

Schmitz, 45, who lives with wife and two children in DeLand, has a bachelors degree in organizational management.

After starting in the factory at Hudson, Schmitz worked his way up and served as business unit manager for 16 years. He later left Hudson to work at Greatbatch-Globe, a global manufacturer of medical devices and components based in Minneapolis, Minn. In 2010, he returned to become vice president of operations.

Schmitz called his return to Hudson a positive career move, but also a return to family in the area.

“We accomplished a lot of good things with the move,” he said.

Looking back on the leadership of Andrews, Schmitz said that he solidified and enhanced the performance of the leadership team in a way that was much needed at the time. He noted that it was under his tenure that Hudson Tool and Die transformed into Hudson Technologies.

Hudson becoming a “green” company is also part of Andrews’ legacy, according to spokeswoman Kate Holcomb. In the two-year, $2 million effort to "go green," Hudson eliminated hazardous waste from its manufacturing process.

“We became green because it was the right thing to do,” she said. “There were no regulations that forced it.”

Another accomplishment of Andrews, Holcomb said, is the initiatives the company took on to improve employee wellness. The Volusia Manufacturers Association named Hudson Technologies the 2008 Manufacturer of the Year and, in 2009, presented it with two Best Practice awards for Employee Wellness Program and Going Green.

In 2010, Hudson Technologies celebrated its 70th anniversary and received the Retention/Expansion Project Award from the city of Ormond Beach.

“They are important to the area and important to Ormond Beach,” Chris Butera, incoming president of the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce, said of Hudson. “They have reinvested in their business the last few years.”

Andrews plans to continue serving local organizations such as the Volusia Manufacturers Association, for which he is the 2012-2013 chairman; United Way of Volusia-Flagler counties; the UCF Business Incubator-Daytona Beach; and the CEO Business Alliance.

Hudson is one of the largest companies in Volusia County. And so far, Holcomb said, no major changes are planned.

“We’ll be looking at opportunities to be a bigger and better company,” she said.

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