Fresh Ink

FDI, Herm Haffner Look to Lead Nor-Cote to Future Heights


When Indianapolis-based Fortune Diversified Industries (FDI) acquired Nor-Cote International Inc., a Crawfordsville, IN-based UV screen ink specialist in July, FDI looked to bring in a knowledgeable ink person as CEO of its new wholly owned subsidiary.
FDI found the person they were looking for in Herm Haffner. Mr. Haffner was previously vice president of marketing and sales for Nor-Cote from 1979 to 1993. For the last nine years, he and his wife have run their own successful consulting business, helping companies with their planning, strategic marketing, sales and customer service.
For Mr. Haffner, coming back to the ink industry, and especially to Nor-Cote, was an easy choice.
“I loved the industry while I was here, and when the opportunity came to return to Nor-Cote, I jumped at the chance,” Mr. Haffner said. “Once you get ink in your blood, it’s there.”
Nor-Cote’s strength is in niche UV screen applications, and the company has been successful in these markets, with estimates placing its annual sales at $20 million. Mr. Haffner said these segments will remain Nor-Cote’s focus.
“Over the years, we have carved little niches for ourselves, and we are really good at these areas,” Mr. Haffner said. “Our focus will be on retrenching in our core businesses for industrial graphics, industrial screen printing and industrial rotary screen printing of labels. We focus on these niches and follow them worldwide.
“In the time since I left Nor-Cote to start my own business, there have been dramatic innovations in radiation curing,” said Mr. Haffner. “I look forward to bringing these technologies to our customers, focusing on their business needs to help them increase their efficiency, expand their abilities, and ultimately increase their sales. In addition, Nor-Cote has kind of overlooked digital technology, and we need to find the right partner, which is something we are working on.”
Working with FDI will also provide Nor-Cote International with opportunities. FDI has a wide variety of interests, including wireless and electronic technologies, which are an area of strength for Nor-Cote as well.
“Nor-Cote is the kind of company we are looking for. The strength of its product line along with its international presence in the marketplace, are key factors that will contribute to the expansion of Fortune Diversified Industries’ manufacturing and distribution segment,” said Carter Fortune, CEO of Fortune Diversified Industries. “We are very excited to do this deal so we can keep Nor-Cote International’s innovative technology and talented employee base in Indiana.”
“Fortune Diversified Industries has a very diversified group of companies, yet there are some hidden synergies,” Mr. Haffner said. “They have a lot of contacts with consumer electronics companies, and we also service these companies with our products, such as inks for overlays, printable conductive inks and inks for CDs and DVDs.”
“Utilizing Fortune’s financial strength along with the synergies of its existing companies will allow Nor-Cote to expand its worldwide presence from a sales and marketing standpoint,” said Norman Wolcott, founder of Nor-Cote and its present chairman of the board of directors. “It’s a better way to service our global perspective.”
Mr. Haffner said he has learned much from Mr. Wolcott. “Over the years, Norman has been very helpful to me,” Mr. Haffner said. “He’s a good man.”
Above all, Mr. Haffner knows that he has a strong team at Nor-Cote International.
“You can have the best formulations, but if you don’t have good people to back them up, you can’t go anywhere,” Mr. Haffner said. “You have to have the best R&D people to produce the ink, and technical people to service the customers. Our company has been very good at that. We have some new products coming down the pipe that will definitely have a positive impact.