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MTL Holdings Shares Their Evolution and Growth Strategies

MTL Holdings live at METALCON
November 20, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

MTL Holdings' representatives say that their recent acquisitions has changed the company for the better.

Editor's note: The following is a conversation between MTL Holdings' President Tony Mallinger, Citadel's Vice President of the GM Wall Division Josh Jacobi and RoofersCoffeeShop® President Heidi Ellsworth. You can watch the video or read the transcript below.

Heidi Ellsworth: Hello, we're back again. This is Heidi Ellsworth and we are in at METALCON Live in the Coffee Shop Sound Stage, as you know sponsored by New Tech Machinery. We are just so excited to be here and I... we have big news, so if you aren't watching the Newsroom every single day on Roofers Coffee Shop and Metal Coffee Shop, you're missing out because there's always great news. And right now we're going to talk about one of those press releases that just came out. But first of all, I'm going to introduce our guests from MTL Holdings. First of all, Tony, I'm so happy to have... we've worked together for a long time. We've seen each other.

Tony Mallinger: We have.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yes. A long time.

Tony Mallinger: Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth: And maybe we won't talk about how long.

Tony Mallinger: No, let's not do that.

Heidi Ellsworth: No, let's not go there. But you have an amazing family business. You have grown so much starting with Metal Era and then with the acquisition of Hickman. But can you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about your company?

Tony Mallinger: Yeah, so Tony Mallinger, I'm presidency of MTL Holdings, which is the holding company for metal era Hickman Edge systems, and now recently Citadel Architectural Products, which is

Heidi Ellsworth: That's the big news.

Tony Mallinger: Something we're going to be talking about. But I've been in the business for 21 years. Held almost every position possible within the company and have been probably president CEO for the last decade. So we've been very excited about growing the business and getting into a lot of different areas.

Heidi Ellsworth: I toured your facility and it was so impressive. I love it.

Tony Mallinger: We're extremely proud of our facility. You know, a lot of people are, I think, are getting in robotics. This is something we've done 12 years ago, and when you walk through our shop, you know, I always say we're a glorified sheet metal fabricator, but in all honesty, we have automation that nobody's ever seen before and robots that are just amazing. So it's exciting to walk people through.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, It's amazing. I mean, the robots and the... okay, and we're going to get back to this because there's so much I can talk about. I get so excited about the diversity you have on your working and the ability to be able to do that no matter how strong you are. So much great things. But I don't want to ignore Josh. So Josh.

Josh Jacobi: I'm okay being ignored.

Heidi Ellsworth: Josh I sometimes get a little excited. Can you introduce yourself and tell everybody about your company and your the new change.

Josh Jacobi: Yeah, so it is a change. I'm Josh Jacobi. I teamed up with Tony kind of out of happenstance along the way. I've been in the industry for a little over 33 years. Spent in the previous 33 years with one particular company and just had an opportunity to make a change. And through that I'd known Tony for 20 years. And while I was out doing something else, we just came across one another and looked for different opportunities to expand their business.

Heidi Ellsworth: That's awesome.

Josh Jacobi: I'm familiar with this side of the wall industry and it kind of led us to Citadel and very similar company to the values and the go to market strategy along the way. We felt like it was a good fit and it helps us move into different versions of the building envelope. So we're real excited about the opportunities and the things we get to do to win those two products together.

Heidi Ellsworth: Tell us a little bit more about Citadel. I think a lot of people would be really interested.

Josh Jacobi: We've owned them for a month, I don't want to divulge too much through the due diligence process, but we're an aluminum composite company. We do a phenolic core that's a little bit different than some of the standard larger components, but also a very durable, more impact resistant course. So we focus a little bit more on sticks and sheets in a simpler application, but we do route in return and do also some work within the glazing industry with glazing infill panels and a little bit outside of OEM. So more custom fabrication, but we're looking to expand upon that.

Heidi Ellsworth: That's cool. That's cool. So MTL Holdings, Metal-Era, Hickman who you know I used to work with Hickman a long time ago.

Tony Mallinger: I do, yes. They're a great company.

Heidi Ellsworth: I'm so happy that they're part... that you're all together. I just think they're an awesome company. And now Citadel, talk us to us a little bit about what you've brought together and how it's really helping the contractors across the country because of what you've done.

Tony Mallinger: MTL's kind of evolved. Call it over the last 18 to 24 months. As we've looked to grown, we've looked to grown strategically and the Hickman acquisition was just a great fit. One, they've been a phenomenal competitor to us for 35, 40 years before this. But more importantly, like you said, they're really, really good people and it's a good company with great products. It's amazing bringing the two cultures together that have so much experience under a single kind of product line, perimeter, edge, metal. It's amazing what the teams are right now. So that was a really, really good strategic fit. And not only broadest experience product center of the product line, but it also allowed us some expansion geographically. Metal Air is located in Wausau, Wisconsin. It's a great location, but in all honestly, as we look to grow, we look to grow and get closer to our customers.

So having a facility in Nashville, North Carolina now gives us an area of growth in the southeast. Something that is a pretty critical thing for us. In Citadel, I'll tell you, fit that same bill so Citadel for other reasons. But when we look at strategically growing, it's not diversification in products. So for us, we were always targeting something on the wall side. Citadel brought us an opportunity, very similar feel, style of company, good people, good processes, good quality product, and the ability to now package and go after the building envelope. And that's something that we're going to continue to grow around.

Heidi Ellsworth: I think it's so smart because that building envelope and the use of metal overall is just gaining. I mean it's been gaining, but you have to have seen the increase in what's going on out there with all of this, obviously.

Tony Mallinger: Yeah, I mean that's part of been the draw is just the growth in metal, especially on the wall side. So you know, kind of look at the edge side. We still have a ton of room to grow there, but the wall side just gives us more addressable markets to go after.

Heidi Ellsworth: I do have to say I've also toured the Hickman Plant in Nashville and I love it there too. I mean, there's nothing better than a plant tour as far as I'm concerned.

Tony Mallinger: They're getting their first robots at some point next year. There's going to be a lot of synergies between the both facilities.

Heidi Ellsworth: That is really cool. Josh what are are you seeing as you're looking out there at the market and how things are growing too with Citadel coming on and really that building envelope, I would love to have some of what you're seeing is happening?

Josh Jacobi: What made this a great fit when we went in is you're seeing more roof to wall transition and really uncertainty from an architect or a demarkation between those two traits. So what we wanted to do, or what I think is a great idea behind this process is to be able to take a one company approach to make a smoother transition from the edge termination down the wall. It gives consultants a product to specify around one manufacturer and one point of responsibility or one person, the point to, if you will, that process. But we know that we have to continue to grow through that side to expend those options for the designer, for the contractor. And it was a natural fit. Most of our contractors, most of our contractors extend their service from the roof edge down the wall now. Those are not different traits necessarily anymore. And so we're trying to capture that market for both of the contractor and ourselves to build a better business.

Heidi Ellsworth: We're seeing it all the time. The commercial contractors are looking at all six sides, whether it's waterproofing at the bottom, the curtain walls, the roofing, all the transitions. I mean, I know Tony, you've seen that change

Tony Mallinger: We've seen that a lot. We're seeing them expanding the other products. So for a manufacturer, we look at how do we create synergies, right? That's something that's opportunistic for both parties and something we're going to try to grow on.

Heidi Ellsworth: I always have to ask this because I know you have done some great things this year with price relief and also supply chain. So Tony, talk a little bit about that because I mean, you guys were...you were the leaders.

Tony Mallinger: This has been a crazy year. It's been one of the craziest years I've been a part of and we've been fortunate. Our team has done a phenomenal job of sourcing materials and we haven't really had a major impact on that this year, but we know a lot of our customers, a lot of our contractors, and everybody has. So what we've tried to do is take advantage of our opportunities of having materials on the shelf. We put together a price speed program that really focused on the contractor, bringing down that price further near your foot, getting products to almost a one day, two day ship and really tried to figure out a way that we can help them. Cause we knew every contractor's getting pinched with margins and almost every product. It's been tough and it's been something that's been really great for us to work with the contractors on.

Heidi Ellsworth: And I know the contractors appreciate it, those kind... throughout all this with the supply chain and everything that's gone on with material shortages. They just wanted honest communication and they wanted to make sure that they could get their jobs done for their customers. And you've both been such a huge part of that.

Josh Jacobi: It was an extreme challenge for all of our customers this year, and most of them had projects bid and were locked into pricing scenarios. And it became a very difficult process. Price increased, so we wanted to do what we could to give a little bit back where we could to show them that we're in this together.

Heidi Ellsworth: Right. So important. Well gentlemen, thank you. Thank you so much for being here and congratulations. Congratulations.

Tony Mallinger: Congratulations, on your success too.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you.

Tony Mallinger: This is phenomenal.

Heidi Ellsworth: This is pretty fun, huh?

Tony Mallinger: This is.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. Metal Coffee Shop, we have you on there and Roofers Coffee shop.

Tony Mallinger: There we go.

Heidi Ellsworth: So for everybody out there, if you want more information on Metal Era Hickman and now Citadel with MT and all under MTL Holdings, it's all on the coffee shop. You can go on either to the Roofers or to Metal and you can find the directory, awesome articles, some great video, everything, the price relief information, you can find all that there. Oh, and we didn't mention Falcon. I think I'm going to have to have you all back.

Tony Mallinger: Falcon. We would love to be back talking to Falcon.

Heidi Ellsworth: Technology that's changing the industry. So we'll have him back because I think we've got some more folks coming into this sound stage. But thank you again. Thank you both.

Tony Mallinger: Thank you Heidi.

Josh Jacobi: Thank You.

Heidi Ellsworth: And all of you. Stay tuned. We have some big news coming up next. Hang on.

Learn more about MTL Holdings companies Metal-Era and Hickman Edge Systems in their directories or visit www.metalera.com and hickmanedgesystems.com.



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