March 11, 2014
Press Release

Business Executive, Blackthorne Partners Combine to Purchase Hughes Company
Significant Growth Planned for Food Processing Machinery Manufacturer

Hughes Company, a Columbus, WI.-based manufacturer and international distributor of stainless steel equipment for the food processing industry, has been acquired by Blackthorne Partners Ltd., and former Trostel, Ltd, executive Ross Lund, who has become president and chief executive officer of the company.

"We have aggressive growth goals for the company, which I know we can achieve based on the company's existing staff of highly skilled and dedicated employees, our existing manufacturing technology, and the new resources we will bring to the operation," Lund said. "We will help our customers become even more productive through investments in our people and in technology."

The company is now known as Hughes Equipment Company, LLC.

Since 1961, The Hughes Company Inc. has designed and manufactured standard and customized equipment for the food industry. Its machinery is used for vegetable, pasta, rice, fruit and root crop processing and preparation.

John Syburg, a managing director at Blackthorne Partners, said the company is well positioned for growth.

"Hughes Equipment Company has an impressive lineup of highly reliable products, unparalleled customer service, and an incredibly talented staff," he said. "We are confident we can build on that great foundation, and meet our customers' needs to an even greater degree, now and well into the future."

Lund called the employees at Hughes "some of the best in the business," with expertise in engineering, manufacturing and technology.

"We intend to further develop that talent and to provide them with the best technology," he said. "We plan on taking technology to a new level in this industry," he added.

Lund, a Certified Public Accountant with an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has held leadership positions at corporations including Trostel, Ltd, Lake Geneva, WI, where he was vice president and general manager at the Polymer Compounding Division and previously director of finance and plant controller. Prior to his work at Trostel, Lund held a variety of positions at Viasys Healthcare and John Deere.

Lund's experience in various manufacturing environments, where he championed lean manufacturing techniques and technology enhancements, will be invaluable as Hughes Equipment Co. engages its growth plans, said Steve Balistreri, a managing director at Blackthorne Partners.

Jeff Powell, the former president who purchased the company in 2008 and who led growth over the past six years, will retain an interest in the company and serve as a consultant to Lund.

Hughes Equipment Co. will remain in its 60,000-square-foot facility at 1200 W. James St. in Columbus, WI, which has the capacity to handle the anticipated business growth, Lund said.

Along with new opportunities for existing employees, Lund anticipates the need for additional employees as the growth plans unfold.

About Hughes Equipment Company:
Hughes Equipment Company was organized in 1961 and prides itself on excellence in the engineering and manufacture of high quality, precision fabricated machinery that exceeds customer expectations.

Its product and service offerings include:
Precision formed stainless steel food processing equipment such as:
Washers, screens and air cleaners
Cutters, snippers, saws and huskers
Graders and metering elevators
Blanchers, cookers and coolers
Conveyors, fillers, holding tanks and lift tables
Custom contract manufacturing
Excellent customer service
Competitive lead times

The company is online at

About Blackthorne Partners:
Blackthorne Partners is a business ownership group that focuses on small private companies in the Upper Midwest with $4 million to $15 million in revenues and EBITDA of $1 million. Its portfolio includes skid steer attachment manufacturer Berlon Industries, SAP information technology consultants group:basis, Pallet USA, and Integrated Medical Partners, which owns a portfolio of health care information technology service businesses.
Focused on addressing the equity and liquidity needs of small businesses in the Upper Midwest