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Spartan Motors makes senior leadership changes

May 16, 2018
Spartan Motors recently experienced a series of changes with its senior leadership team, including two promotions and the resignation of John Slawson

Spartan Motors recently experienced a series of changes with its senior leadership team, including two promotions and the resignation of John Slawson, formerly president of Spartan Emergency Response (ER).

The company said it hopes the changes enhance the depth and bench strength of its leadership, while also streamlining its reporting structure.

The promotions include Tom Ninneman moving into the role of Spartan Motors’ chief operating officer, and Chad Heminover filing Ninneman’s former role as president of Spartans’ Fleet Vehicles and Services (FVS).

Ninneman spent the past year as FVS president and previously served as COO for Smeal Fire Apparatus Co., which Spartan – a leader in specialty chassis and vehicle design, manufacturing and assembly – acquired in 2017.

He brings more than 25 years of business and leadership experience, including 10 in custom vehicle manufacturing across the fire and emergency response, specialty vehicle and military markets. 

“We saw a need to bring greater operational expertise, structure and responsiveness to our senior management team to better prepare us to meet our 2020 goals and the actions we announced (May 15) are meant to accomplish that,” said Daryl Adams, Spartan president and CEO. “We are convinced that Tom brings the exact skill set and experience we need to lead our operations.

“Tom’s strong leadership in FVS over the past year, combined with his prior experience at Smeal and Oshkosh, makes him the ideal person to head up operational leadership across our organization, bringing increased agility to our senior leadership team.  With the addition of a COO, we will also see enhanced alignment on operational improvements across the business while allowing our entire team to sharpen their strategic focus for the long term.”

Spartan’s FVS division, which Heminover will lead, includes the Utilimaster and Spartan Upfit Services go-to-market brands. He most recently served as FVS vice president of operations and business development and previously was the business unit president for Taylor Corporation, a print and communications services provider, where he implemented a number of business turnarounds that resulted in enhanced efficiency and profitability.

“Chad is the right person to lead our FVS segment, as he brings an energetic and innovative approach to developing long-term strategic vision while managing the operational details of the day-to-day business,” Adams said.

“As we look to enhance the speed of delivery on our 2020 goals, we believe it’s important to empower the next generation of leadership to build on the foundation we’ve set over the past two years.”

Slawson resigned to “pursue other interests,” the company said. Ninneman will serve as interim president of the ER business unit until a search for Slawson’s replacement is completed.

“We are pleased with these appointments, which illustrate the bench strength of our management team and add to our confidence in our ability to achieve our 2020 goals,” Adams said.