Trailerbodybuilders 1184 People Positions 2

People and Positions October 2016

Nov. 3, 2016
Trailer/Body Builders' October 2016 news and highlights of people in the truck, trailer manufacturing, marketing, and distribution industry.


Wabash National Corporation’s Composites business has made organizational changes. Jeff Cole has been named director of business development. He comes from Solvay, where he most recently had sales responsibility for its Industrial Business Division. Frank Pendleton is Wabash Composites’ new director of sales after most recently serving as vice-president and general manager of Scott Intermodal. Joseph Perry has been named sales manager, Wabash Composites. He spent the past 10 years at Michelin and, most recently, Ziegler Tire, where he managed the sales team and key customer accounts. Blake Robertson is the new director of manufacturing, Wabash Composites. He most recently was vice-president and general manager for the US Midwest Region of Sapa.



Matthew J Boler has been elected chairman of the board of The Boler Company, replacing his father John Boler, who died in March 2016. Matthew Boler is also president and chief executive officer of The Boler Company.

Firestone Industrial Products Company LLC (FSIP) has tapped Mark Hilburger to lead strategic marketing efforts as executive director of marketing, a newly created position. A 21-year employee of the company, he most recently was global automotive OEM business manager.

Sika Corporation, Target Market Industry has appointed Monica Gapczynski senior market field manager for TM Industry. She joined Sika in 1989 as an office manager, took a three-year sabbatical, and returned in 2008 as customer service representative. In 2010, she assumed her most recent position as customer service manager, Industry and Automotive.



Ryan Houfek has joined Direct ChassisLink Inc (DCLI) as senior vice-president, business development. He spent the past nine years at CSX Transportation, where his most recent role was assistant vice-president of marketing.



Americas Commercial Transportation (ACT) Research Co LLC announced that Donavan Gerken has joined as director–marketing, sales, and consulting. Since 2011, he has worked for a publishing firm in Bloomington IN managing sales.



James Kleinman

, chief executive officer and patriarch of Buyers Products Company, died suddenly September 15, 2016. After service in the US Army, he entered the construction business and then joined his uncle at Buyers Products in 1964. In 1988, Kleinman founded and became CEO of Viking Forge Corporation (Streetsboro OH). Over the years Viking Forge established itself as the primary forging supplier to Buyers Products. While CEO of Buyers Products, Kleinman also guided expansion with the acquisition of TRACOM, the founding of Progressive Powder Coating, acquisition of Romotech and Boomerang Rubber, and the formation of TAD and TSST. Kleinman is survived by his wife Dolores, two children, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Kleinman’s son-in-law Mark Saltzman (president of Buyers Products Co) will assume the additional corporate responsibilities while continuing in his current role.

Gordon Franklin Thomsen, founder of Trail King Industries and former chairman of the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA), died August 28 in Mitchell SD after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 89. Thomsen was born on a farm near Spencer IA in 1927. He started his career in sales, first for a car dealership in Spencer, and then with sales positions at J I Case, Minneapolis Moline, Brady Manufacturing, and Long Manufacturing Co. In 1948, he married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Borchard, and the couple moved to South Dakota in 1970. His first job after relocating there was general manager at Dakota Manufacturing. Five years later, Thomsen started Western Ag-Sales. The offices were initially located in the Thomsen’s home, and the business consisted of four people including Thomsen and his wife. Trailers became the company’s main product, and in 1977, the Trail King of today began to take shape. Thomsen is survived by his wife and his children: Jackie Morrison (Don Lura) of Mitchell, Suzanne Thomsen of Tucson AZ, Bill Thomsen (Julie Fliegel) of Del Mar CA, Jerry Thomsen (Pam Thomsen) of Mitchell, and Jenny Trom of Columbia MO. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. ♦