The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) is pleased to welcome Mar-Bal to the research park. Mar-Bal is the leading integrated compounder and molder of thermoset composite products and value added finishing services.
Mar-Bal is very much a family-owned business, as it was founded in 1970 by Jim and Carolyn Balogh in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and is now run by their two sons, Scott, the President and CEO, and Steven, the Vice President. Since then, Mar-Bal has engineered and manufactured quality, customized materials and parts while delivering client cost-effectiveness through superior customer service.
Mar-Bal provides thermoset composite components for several consumer appliance brands, including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, GE and Electrolux.
The company’s products include appliance handles, knobs, control panels, consoles and vent trim. “We also manufacture critical components that deliver excellent dielectric characteristics and are specified in electrical applications like switchgears, generators and other power distribution equipment,” said Ron Poff, Director of Global Marketing and Brands.
Mar-Bal serves the appliance, electrical, industrial, food service and transportation industries from their four facilities in North America – two in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where they are headquartered, one in Cuba, Missouri and one in Dublin, Virginia – and abroad at their sales office in Shanghai, China.
Mar-Bal has been recognized two years in a row (2013, 2014) by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest growing companies. The recognition “has been an incredible honor for our organization,” said Poff.
“This is an amazing honor as it outlines the hard work and dedication by each and every colleague within the organization. As a family-owned, B2B manufacturing company, it is a unique position to be recognized by Inc. Magazine as only about 5% of manufacturing organizations are outlined on the listing each year,” said Poff.
It is also a great testament to Mar-Bal’s founder, Jim Balogh, and his family. “We truly appreciate our entrepreneurial and ‘can-do’ spirited history,” said Poff (read more about Mar-Bal’s history here). “More importantly, the legacy of the entrepreneurial spirit continues 45 years later with investments, integrations and innovations that has helped us to receive this recognition.”
In addition to that acknowledgement, Mar-Bal’s Maria Gaeta was honored with the Progressive Woman Award at the 2015 Smart Business Northeast Ohio ‘Women Who Excel’ event in April. Gaeta joined Mar-Bal in November 2012 not only as the Corporate Director of Human Resources, but also as the only woman serving in a senior leadership role.
Earlier this year, Mar-Bal designed a non-corrosive refrigerator shelf product as a solution to a leading home appliance manufacturer’s metal frame corrosion issue, due to condensation inside refrigerators. Mar-Bal’s solution was successful because “thermoset composites gave the customer the look and feel of die cast, but with the added benefit of corrosion resistance,” said Poff.
Mar-Bal is also working on a number of product development projects that will drive manufacturing efficiencies for a new customer in a new market. One project is for a large original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that is reshoring their production from China back to the United States. “Mar-Bal was chosen for this project because of our expertise in materials engineering, our focus on program management including tool and part design and finally for our integrated manufacturing model – all of which provided the best value for the customer,” said Poff.
The company has recently begun a university outreach initiative where representatives visit universities and share with students the benefits and advantages of the industry. In early March, Poff and one of his colleagues visited West Virginia University and spoke to over 35 engineering students, faculty and staff. “I look forward to the opportunity to begin relationships at Virginia Tech where we can expand this outreach further,” he said. Mar-Bal also plans to utilize marketing interns in the future to help with market research projects, management of social media and other global marketing projects.
According to Poff, Mar-Bal chose to “live” at the VTCRC because of its reputation as a true leader in supporting entrepreneurs and helping companies grow their businesses. “As we begin to implement our strategic plan and focus on continued business growth including new markets, I thought it was very important to find a business environment and a community of business leaders where I could collaborate, network and learn ‘best-business’ practices, drive awareness of our engineering materials technology and advance our mission to grow,” said Poff.
As a native of the Blacksburg-Roanoke region, Poff has witnessed the incredible growth over the past 20 years at the VTCRC and the success of the companies associated with the park. “It was an easy choice for me to reach out to Joe Meredith, Ph.D., President of the VTCRC, and begin the discussion about locating a Global Marketing Office for Mar-Bal at the research park. As we continue our business growth journey, I am confident that the VTCRC will be an incredible asset to us, supporting our next generation of entrepreneurship spirit and will have multiple chapters in our story of success,” said Poff.
To learn more about Mar-Bal, visit www.mar-bal.com.