About UGN

About UGN

Our Mission, Values and Operating Principles

Mission: Sound Leadership Through Exceptional People

UGN, Inc. was founded in 1986 as a partnership between Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co. Ltd., (Nittoku), and Autoneum Holding AG. We are the preferred producer of high-quality acoustic, interior trim, thermal management products, and a recognized leader in customer satisfaction for the Japanese transplant automotive industry in North America.

Since 2002, our leader, Peter Anthony, has reconfigured the manufacturing strategy to enhance profitability and lower cost. He has also aggressively applied Toyota Production Systems throughout the organization to create a culture of continuous improvement and standardization, resulting in material, labor, and overhead savings.

Our Values –The UGN Way

Our deeply rooted values are Respect, Trust & Communication

Company culture is the DNA of an organization. It motivates and guides us to accomplish our mission and vision in a manner that treats our customers and fellow Team Members with the highest regard for their success and well-being. We call this The UGN Way. It is based on building and demonstrating respect and trust while communicating effectively in everything we do.

Operating Principles

Sustainability: UGN regards protection of the environment as paramount and endeavors to maintain its ISO14001 certification. UGN is committed to minimizing waste through reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Education: An organization’s Team Members are its most important asset. To ensure the continued growth and development of our Team Members, UGN offers learning and development opportunities through UGN University. UGN University provides Team Members with a common shared vision of the organization, its core values, and its culture, while enhancing their technical and leadership skills. UGN University’s mission is to support Team Member development through innovative online learning, classroom, and on-the-job training.

Community Outreach

With a focus on the community, each facility gives back. Below is a list of charities we proudly support:

Our Team

Our team members are the source of the UGN difference. They possess a broad range of experience, a highly diverse skill set, and a shared sense of commitment.

UGN encourages team members to take part in crafting the UGN culture. It is this culture that drives UGN forward.

Our Management Team

Peter Anthony

President and CEO

Randy Khalaf

COO and Executive Vice President of Strategy

Darrell Cook

Vice President of Continuous Improvement

Steven Hamilton

Chief Financial Officer

Nicolas Leclercq

Vice President of Product Development and Engineering

Grant Meseck

Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Ron Myotte

Vice President of Purchasing, Program Management, Quality

Esther Jones

Vice President of Information Systems

Kevin Bohan

Vice-President of Human Resources

Our History

All things start with a small seed, as did this ever-growing joint-venture company. The conception was in December of 1980, when the CEO of Globe Industries (Robert Christopher) was invited to Japan to meet with the purchasing departments of Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. The reason? Those three companies were set to build automobile manufacturing plants in the United States, and would need suppliers of acoustic­ sound deadening materials.

The major supplier of these products in Japan was the Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd. Mr. Nakanishi, the owner and president of Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd., was asked to recommend an American supplier. Sharing an acoustic technology agreement with a European company, Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd. and Globe Industries were on common ground so it made sense for Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd. to partner with Globe to create UGN.

After a stringent review, Chicago-based Globe Industries began to supply dampeners, absorbers, and barriers to Honda in Marysville, Ohio, and then the others as their plants became operational.

As demand grew each month with the post­ recession of 1979-82, the demand in America burgeoned for automobiles. It was apparent an additional plant would be required to meet the ever-increasing sales of the Japanese manufacturers. The gestation period of the December 1980 conception was over…the joint venture was at last birthed by two very cooperative parents: Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd. and Globe Industries.

Globe Industries provided an empty industrial building in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and the installation of manufacturing equipment was underway. Car floor pan dampers were the first product, followed by foam composites, cotton molded absorbers.

After production had progressed, an official ribbon cutting was scheduled with local government officials and interested citizens attended the gala event on March 27, 1987.

From the start, the venture was profitable, with sales increasing each month. Soon Toyota and Nissan had operating plants in the U.S., supplied by UGN. As other products were being needed by the Japanese plants, a second operation was commenced, named after its parent, UGN II. It made headliners and package trays.

One important benefit of the creation of UGN was its employment of approximately 350 associates at the Chicago Heights location and 90 at UGN II the company was a good neighbor bringing not only jobs to previously high-unemployment areas, but many services and materials were purchased from local businesses.

UGN was managed by a board of directors consisting of five members from Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd., and five from Globe Industries. The Globe CEO was the UGN president from 1986-95, with manufacturing managed by Jim Christopher, marketing by John Christopher, and Peter Anthony as lead salesman.

It was Peter who did much to build the image of UGN with its customers. His diligent and effective work led to him being elected president and CEO. Under his direction, UGN continued to grow, adding plants as the business grew.

In 1995, Globe Industries and its 50 percent ownership of UGN, owned by Kingdon Gould and Robert Christopher, was sold to Rieter Holding AG, a major acoustic products supplier in Europe. The new partnership of Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co, Ltd. and Rieter Holding AG—now known as Autoneum—helped the company continue to expand and diversify.

And, as the drumbeat of the company that started with a hurried trip to Japan in late 1980 continues to beat, what of its originators?

Mr. Nakanishi, the man with the original vision and his able assistant, Mr. Suzuki, have both passed on, but helped leave a lasting legacy of jobs, dignity, and useful work. The Americans, Kingdon Gould, and Robert Christopher, spend their time today in charitable work.

Environmental Responsibility

To remain ISO 14001 certified, UGN protects the environment, an obligation to this earth we share with our customers, suppliers, team members, and the public.

Our customers work to promote and achieve reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which drive the use of lightweight materials composed primarily of recycled materials. This, combined with continuous improvements in the products and processes, allow positive movement for customers and the environment.

As well, a rigorous environmental policy provides procedures to handle and transport all hazardous substances and to minimize waste through reducing, recycling, and reusing.

Suppliers and contractors also comply with all local, federal, and state requirements, and are willing to partner with other suppliers to promote a greener future.

The enrichment of our environment comes together with customers and suppliers.

Awards & Recognition

Through the core values of trust, respect, and communication, UGN strives to positively affect the lives of our Team Members where they live and work. The culture is built to inspire everyone toward excellence in their communities, through service. Our commitment to these core values has led to numerous awards, community involvement, and recognition.

Awards

  • Excellence in Value Award
  • National Safety Council – Occupational Excellence Achievement Award
  • ISO/TS 16949 Certified
  • ISO 14001 Certified
  • Toyota Quality Performance
  • Honda Supplier Performance
  • Honda Green Factor Achievement
  • Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year – UGN Somerset, KY facility
  • Chris Greicius Society of Hope – this award is named for the young boy who inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish and is reserved for those donors who have cumulatively given in excess of $100,000
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist – Peter Anthony, Chief Executive Officer at UGN, named a 2013, 2014 and 2016 finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. The program recognizes those who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their business and communities
  • Chicago CFO of the Year – Randy Khalaf, Chief Financial Officer at UGN, named by Financial Executives International as Chicago CFO of the Year for 2014. The Financial Executives International program recognizes senior financial leaders who have made contributions to a business or non-profit in Chicago with “quality, insight, and direction”

Internal Recognition

David Jones Achievement Award

This is named after David Jones who retired in December 2014 after 32 years of service with UGN. Through his dedication to UGN and its customers, David became the role model for all Team Members. The award recognizes one Team Member per calendar year which:

  • Exemplifies the UGN core values of Trust, Respect, and Communication
  • Is a role model for dedication to the business and its customers
  • Shows performance over and above the Team Member’s normal duties/responsibilities
  • Suggests a significant Continuous Improvement and/or financial contribution to the business

Safety Recognition – UGN recognizes Team Members for their safety excellence and the role they play in creating a proactive safety environment

UGN Awards and Customer Recognition

Jackson, Tennessee

  • Honda Service Parts Award—2011, 2012
  • Honda Supplier Performance Award—2009, 2010
  • Honda recognition for ISO14001 compliance
  • National Safety Council Safety Award—2003
  • Corporate recognition for nine months with “0” PPM
  • “Perfect Record Award,” National Safety Council—2004
  • Toyota Delivery Award—2003
  • Toyota Quality Award—2003, 2004, 2007, 2009
  • Manpower Safety Partner Award—2006, 2007, 2008
  • Honda Quality Performance Award—2005, 2006, 2007
  • Nissan Quality Performance Award—2006
  • Nissan Zero Defects—2007
  • Unipress Supplier Performance Award—2007
  • Rieter Top Three Plant for Performance Award—2008
  • Rieter Top 10 Plant Improvement Award—2008

Somerset, Kentucky

  • The Honda Green Factory Achievement 2011 Award for Recognition ofGreen Factory Activities, Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Toyota Delivery Award—2003
  • Toyota Quality Award—2003, 2004
  • Toyota Certificate of Quality Achievement—2007
  • Honda recognition for ISO14001 compliance
  • Honda Quality Performance Award—2005, 2006
  • National Safety Council Safety Award—2003
  • Corporate recognition for nine months with “0” PPM
  • “Perfect Record Award,” National Safety Council—2004
  • Manpower Safety Partner Award—2006

Valparaiso, Indiana

  • Honda Quality Performance Award—2006
  • Honda EDI& Bar Code implementation—1998
  • Toyota Achievement Award, quality and delivery—1999, 2001, 2002
  • The Toyota One Way Kanban Labeling Certificate—2003
  • Toyota Certificate of Achievement, quality performance—2007
  • Subaru Quality Achievement Award—2000
  • Nissan Zero Defect Award—2002, 2003
  • Nissan Quality Master Award—2002
  • NUMMI Award Target of Achievement, delivery—1997
  • United Motors Target Achievement, delivery—1997
  • United Motors Target Achievement, quality, delivery—1999, 2001, 2002
  • Rieter Manufacturing Performance, 3rd place—2002
  • Ford Q1—2006

Awards – Video Content

Executives

Contact Us

Questions? Want to discuss?

Peter Anthony

PCA Headshot small 2015President & Chief Executive Officer Peter Anthony joined UGN as a sales and marketing manager in 1992, determined to work with people, be creative, and have a positive effect on growth. He has accomplished those goals, and then some. His first steps, while responsible for business development, were to increase UGN sales from $42 million to $118 million, implement standard costing models to ensure consistent quotations to customers, develop worldwide customer focused sales teams to coordinate business acquisition activities and build an internal packaging department which became a profit center for the company. Upon taking the helm of chief executive in 2002, Anthony successfully shepherded UGN through the recent economic downturns, ultimately reinventing the company—expanding it from a niche supplier to a broad-based corporation with a diversified product line. His drive to embrace the Toyota Production System as the foundation of the UGN business model resulted in maximum productivity and efficiency throughout his manufacturing and business management structure. His overall strategic planning for acoustic, interior trim, and thermal management business for the Japanese transplant automotive industry in North America allowed him to provide his executive leadership across the entire organization. Today, Anthony spearheads the company’s more than $400 million in revenue across six manufacturing facilities in the United States—Farmington Hills, Michigan; Jackson, Tennessee; Monroe, Ohio; Somerset, Kentucky; Tinley Park, Illinois; and Valparaiso, Indiana; as well as a location in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico—which specialize in manufacturing, research, development, testing, and service support. A brand new facility is under construction in Monroe, Ohio, which will bring 150 jobs and a $50 million dollar investment to the city in 2015. A career like Anthony’s clearly demonstrates a powerful combination of independent thinking, perseverance, and high standards. At the heart of his achievements are his ability to maintain strong business relationships, anticipate market changes, experiment with new organizational structures to maximize team member growth and potential, and to always be on the lookout for organizational cost savings, such as sourcing and eradicating bottlenecks. These all ensure UGN remains a highly profitable enterprise and an industry leader in the delivery of innovative, state-of-the-art automotive products. Peter is a past board member for Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. He is a past-chairman of the board for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, a member and past-president of the Bluegrass Automotive Manufacturers Association (a Toyota Production System independent forum), a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, a member of Vistage International, was recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 in 2003, and a 2013 and 2014 finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award Midwest. Peter can be found writing on the UGN blog or you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Randy Khalaf

RKhalifChief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Strategy Randy Khalaf is the chief operating officer and executive vice president of strategy of UGN, Inc. He also sits on the UGN executive board. He has been part of the team since 2008 and has nearly 20 years of experience guiding the financial operations of companies across multiple industries. Specializing in mergers and acquisitions, manufacturing finance and cost accounting, strategy, and board interaction, Randy is instrumental in implementing value-added financial metrics that provide global competitiveness. His expertise in international business restructuring and expansion have allowed the company to expand outside of the United States and into Mexico, which gives it a North American presence. Before joining UGN, Randy worked in controlling and corporate finance for Ford Motor Company; corporate finance and accounting and divestiture analysis and support for The Limited; and corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions for GKN Driveline. At UGN, he is charged with finance, IT, costing, mergers and acquisitions, change management, margin enhancement, tax optimization, IT value extraction, ERP valuation and implementation, business valuation, and strategic planning. He holds a bachelor’s of public administration degree from the University of Windsor (Canada) and a master’s of business administration degree in finance and accounting from Wayne State University in Detroit. He also attended the executive management master’s of business administration program at Wayne State University. He has served on the board of SelectCore, a publicly traded transaction processing and point-of-sale electronic distribution company, where he provided his counsel on finance and accounting to the growing company. Randy is a Vistage International member and an Executive Club of Chicago member. He was a 2013 Oracle Chief Financial Officer Leadership Award finalist and was named Financial Executives International (FEI) Chicago CFO of the Year for 2014® for a large private company

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Darrell Cook

darrylVice President of Continuous Improvement Darrell Cook is the vice president of continuous improvement at UGN, Inc., and has more than 18 years of experience at the company. He joined the team in 1996 and, by 1998, joined the company’s executive team as vice president of quality and training. During his tenure with UGN, Darrell has been responsible for the certification of the company to the QS9000 quality standard, the development of UGN University, management of the quality engineering and program management functions, and he has served as interim plant manager at two UGN manufacturing facilities. He is also currently serving that role at the Silao, Mexcio facility. Before joining UGN, Darrell worked at Hella Electronics Corporation as the manufacturing manager and training coordinator, and he was production manager at a small manufacturing plant that provided interior trim and components for the recreational vehicle industry. Darrell obtained his bachelor of arts degree in education from Mid-America Christian University in Edmond and spent several years in the educational field of curriculum and design and lead workshops. He has completed additional studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as graduate work in personality profiles and education at Anderson Theological University in Anderson, Indiana. As he continues his education, he has obtained certificates and studies completed, such as Toyota Production System, electronics engineering, statistical engineering, architectural engineering, Six Sigma, Certified Quality Auditor, and lead auditor certifications in QS900, TS16949, and ISO14001. Darrell was the chairman of the education committee of Bluegrass Automotive Manufacturers Association (a Toyota Production System independent forum) from 2011-2013 and has been a member for 10 years.

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Steven Hamilton

Steven Hamilton, UGNChief Financial Officer Steven joined UGN as a leader with a solid history of creating highly effective global practices and teams that achieve excellence in performance and profitability. He has more than 25 years of experience in finance and business development, including acquisitions, joint ventures, project management, and negotiations. Prior to joining UGN, Steven was controller for a tier one automotive supplier, where he was responsible for financial reporting, budget development, capital expenditure management, and SOX compliance. Prior to that, Steven was director of global strategy and business development for a tier one NVH automotive supplier, where he responsible for identifying, developing, and closing strategic initiatives essential to the growth and profitability of the company. “Steven’s experience in creating highly effective global practices and finance teams that achieve outstanding performance and profitability is extensive,” says Peter Anthony. “His ability to rigorously analyze and establish tools to improve forecasting and budgeting is an asset.” “It is an honor to take another step with the UGN team,” says Hamilton. “The continued opportunity to achieve results in such a fast-paced, high-growth, and complex work culture remains as fulfilling as ever.”

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Nicolas Leclercq

NicolasL3Vice President of Product Development and Engineering Nicolas Leclercq is the vice president of product development and engineering for the UGN North American manufacturing facilities. He joined UGN in 2009, after spending more than 15 years at UGN parent companies in Europe, the U.S., and Japan. He was transferred to the corporate offices in Tinley Park, Illinois, to develop product innovation and local engineering and development capabilities and further reinforce the strong relationship with the parent companies thanks to his extended internal network. His responsibilities include long-term product strategy, partnering with sales and marketing, and management of technical customer pre-development and support. He drives research and innovation at UGN and in turn guides the company’s engineering team to develop products that answer local market needs. His engineering team is responsible for product and process development and validation as well as tooling and equipment specification and installation for all new manufacturing facilities to support new program launches. His team is also involved in the technical assistance within the organization and profit and loss responsibility. Nicolas began his career with Autoneum in Europe after receiving his master’s of engineering and research in 1993. He began his career as product engineer and moved to different locations in the U.S. and Europe, as program manager, product manager, and then technical sales manager before joining Nittoku in Japan as technical liaisons manager and later sales liaison manager. During his two last years in Japan, he was also deeply involved with the launch of a new facility in Korea, supporting the local engineering team on product, process, tooling, and equipment side. Nicolas holds a Master of Research degree from the École Central de Lille and a Master of Science degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Industries Textiles.

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Grant Meseck
Grant Meseck, UGN

Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Vice President of Sales and Marketing Grant joined UGN in 2005 as a business development manager. He has been instrumental in developing marketing penetration strategies for Japanese transplant customers. He has industry experience overseeing technical and commercial matters and leading the development and commercialization of new products. During his 11 years at UGN, Grant has grown the Honda account by 205 percent, with another nine percent expected by 2018. “Grant has been an extremely important member of our team from the very beginning,” says Peter Anthony. “He has an uncanny ability to identify and to assess strategic opportunities which generate the most value and develops long-term value pathways by building relationships founded on trust and integrity.” Grant is responsible for maximizing sales growth through increasing market share. He develops and implements strategic sales objectives, and has final responsibility for the customer. “It is a privilege to take this next step with UGN,” says Meseck. “It is an exciting time of growth for UGN, and I cannot wait to assume my new role in pursuit of continuing our market share growth.”

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Ron Myotte

ronVice President of Purchasing, Program Management, Quality Ron Myotte joined UGN in 2005 as director of purchasing and has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive supply sector. During his tenure with UGN, Ron has taken on additional functional responsibilities including purchasing, materials, quality, and program management. Ron spent eight years in procurement roles with Lear Corporation, a fortune 200 company. During his tenure, he was commodity manager for plastics, resins, fasteners, carpet, and acoustics. In this role, he achieved significant cost reductions, quality improvements, and supply optimization results. He worked with Alcoa Fujikura Limited for 10 years in progressive procurement and program launch/management roles. Ron attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. He earned a bachelor of business administration from Alma (Michigan) College. He also has his certified purchasing manager designation, Six Sigma black belt certification, and has represented UGN in the Bluegrass Automotive Manufacturers Association (a Toyota Production System independent forum). Ron has a passion for excellence and executing value added solutions in all aspects of product and organizational processes.

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Esther Jones

EJonesVice President of Information Systems Esther joined UGN in 1998 as an IT Manager dedicated to improving UGN’s Information systems, optimizing technology architectures, and updating IT policies and strategies to support and successfully achieve UGN’s business objectives. Esther is a highly driven performance focused business leader, with a “can-do” attitude to drive results. Esther has 30 plus years-experience in management and technical leadership roles in Information Systems and Technology. Over the course of Esther’s career at UGN, she has held positions of increasing responsibility. Jones was Manufacturing Manager at two UGN facilities where she was a hands-on manager with a drive to improve operational efficiency, support continuous improvement efforts, increase productivity and reduce cost. Esther is passionate in supporting, coaching and mentoring team members throughout the organization. Esther previously held the role of Director of Program Management and was responsible for developing program launch strategy, master product launch plans, and managing UGN’s program launch activity from design to Start of Production. With Esther’s diverse background, strong work ethic, and passion to succeed she brings depth of experience, technical skills, management capabilities and leadership to her current position. Today Esther is responsible for UGN’s ERP system, IT infrastructure, business data analytics, telecommunications, storage, IS/IT Governance, cloud-hosting strategy, database and related technologies. Esther works closely with the leadership team to ensure goals and strategic direction align with the business strategy. Prior to joining UGN, Esther was employed at Rieter Automotive, J & L Steel, and LaSalle Steel in various roles in Information Systems and Technology. Esther played key leadership roles and support of successful infrastructure and system improvement initiatives.

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Kevin Bohan

Vice-President of Human Resources Kevin joined UGN in 2017 as vice president of human resources. With over twenty years of HR leadership experience in world-class consumer packaged goods companies he will apply his expertise in talent management, succession planning, labor relations, employee engagement, leading change, and driving organizational performance to further developing the UGN team.

Prior to joining UGN, Kevin served as senior director of human resources at a $2 billion foodservice business unit in Lake Forest, Illinois. He instilled the organization’s standards and best practices across several acquired organizations. Kevin also spent 11 years in human resources at a $17 billion beverage company, where he led change management projects, built an employee engagement program, developed sophisticated recruiting initiatives, and improved team structure. These initiatives supported his former employer being named the 11th best global company for which to work.

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