Chip Holton Named NCFI Polyurethanes President. Former Dir. of Ops Says “Shift” New Word for 2015 and Beyond
MOUNT AIRY, NC—NCFI Polyurethanes, and its parent company, Barnhardt Manufacturing Co. (BMC), today announced the Board of Directors has named Chip Holton as the company’s president effective January 1, 2015. Holton joined NCFI as Dir. of Operations in 2012, and brings with him an extensive, and impressive, operational leadership background.
Holton, 50, holds an engineering degree from The United States Military Academy at West Point and is a former serving US Army infantry officer. His work career began with Alcatel (now Alcatel-Lucent) fiber optics division where he served in multiple capacities from line supervisor to plant manager in Claremont, NC. Holton joined GE Plastics in 2003, where he served as Southeast Region Operations Manager, overseeing logistics, distribution, and manufacturing for up to 13 facilities.
Most recently Holton served as Vice President of US Operations for Swiss company, Jacob Holm Industries, one of the world’s leading nonwoven roll good manufacturers. It was at Jacob Holm where he met the Barnhardt family.
Lewis Barnhardt, President and COO of BMC says, “We believe Chip the ideal person to step into this leadership role at this crucial time. He was instrumental in our successful relationship with Jacob Holm, and we are positive he will lead the next stage of growth and transformation for our 50-year-old polyurethane company.”
Holton says he was attracted to NCFI because of its 50-year history as a market leader in polyurethane foams, and says the company’s commercial success can be attributed to “the depth of knowledge and experience of the people within the organization.”
The company is involved in almost all polyurethane markets, and according to Holton, “NCFI is the historic leader in markets like geotechnical foam, bedding, aviation foam, SPF insulation, and aerospace. We lead the way in various applications within these markets, however, there are areas where we must
narrow our focus to become a supplier of excellence and maximize our value to the customer.”
He adds the company’s commitment to safety in the workplace and on the jobsite is evidence the organizational leadership is committed to not only the employee, but to the polyurethane industry. “It’s a holistic approach. The success of our safety program is attributed to the associates that lead this program from the ground up. Continuous improvement will play a major role in our developing
culture as we are in relentless pursuit of process improvement for every aspect of our operations, and within the markets in which we participate.”
Holton says his leadership style has been honed over time, but his experience in the US Army is the foundation for leading people. Working within GE’s successful culture and other leadership roles has provided a very process-oriented approach to achieve a desired outcome. “There are no silver bullets. You can have a toolbox full of lean manufacturing tools, a wide array of leadership skills and extensive industry knowledge, but in the end you can only use them a lacarte—synthesize them—extract the elements that best fit within the current organization, best serve the goals of the company, and best fit the markets and customers we serve. Our resulting NCFI culture will be expressly ours.”
Holton and Barnhardt agree one tangible outcome customers can expect in the short-run is quicker turn-around times. “Our cultural transformation is well underway with new people, new products, and new markets,” says Holton. “With an industry expected to grow at six-to-seven percent through 2020, we’re retooling our culture to think and act in a constant change environment. NCFI has a great reputation in every market we serve for innovating products and solutions. We’re learning to focus and shift to take advantage of new opportunities, or move away from areas that soften. Our internal talk about people, purpose, and passion is much more than just a slogan; they are the three key elements to our success. Add the word predictability and those four P’s become the foundation for our continued evolutionary leap from a local NC company to an international powerhouse polyurethane supplier. I’m excited about NCFI’s future, and honored to be playing a role in creating a place where change is the new normal.”
Holton succeeds Steve Riddle upon his retirement.