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NH-Based Techinical Manufacturing Company Sold

Hampshire Controls has a bright future with new ownership

It is amazing to meet and work with the owners of small companies producing incredible products. These small companies are often niche players in key markets.

Hampshire Controls Corp. of Dover is a good example.

The company was recently sold by Diane Rush, owner and president, to Pillar Imaging and its leader Dr. Michael Pilon, a long-time Thermo Fisher Scientific executive.

BTS colleague Carl Vercollone had been working with Dr. Pilon on another opportunity that ultimately didn’t work out. Dr. Pilon is a 30-year veteran from the bioanalytical instrumentation industry, and finding related companies of interest was not easy.

Meanwhile, other members of the BTS team – Ken Schaefer and I - had been talking with Diane Rush over a period of several years. The idea was transitioning ownership so she could pursue other passions, including music. Our original idea was doing a full national search for a buyer.

In November of 2020, we introduced Dr. Pilon to Ms. Rush at Hampshire Controls. It didn’t take long to see the possibilities in the acquisition. The rest is now history.

Since 1975, Hampshire Controls Corp. has been a leading manufacturer of remote refrigerator, freezer and walk-in cooler temperature monitors, loggers and alarm notification systems.

The devices – manufactured at the plant in downtown Dover - are used by OEMs, laboratories, clinics, hospitals, blood banks, manufacturing companies and pharmaceutical companies to meet FDA, JCAHO, VFC, AABB, CAP & State Board of Pharmacy regulatory standards.

Writing about the sale on LinkedIn, Ms. Rush said recently: “Mike served as the General Manager of one of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s most successful business units for 17 years, supplying critical life-saving imaging technologies to radiation oncology clinics and unique imaging technologies to the analytical instruments industries.  He adds considerable experience and expertise to our already talented team.”

Dr. Pilon indicated that no short-term changes to products or services are planned at the company. His focus, he said, is maintaining and growing with Hampshire Controls’ mission in mind: ‘Safeguarding Your Precious Biological Materials.’”

Hampshire Controls Corporation has both a production and engineering design team that develops and produces devices needed in lab research, vaccine storage, pharmaceutical storage, food storage and industrial manufacturing applications.

Looking at our involvement stretching back several years, there are some good lessons to be learned from this transaction.

  • The company was laser focused on manufacturing quality products, never took shortcuts and always stayed close to its customers.

Developing and marketing technical monitoring devices is difficult, and finding the right end users requires diligence and time investment. Hampshire has a full engineering team continually working on new applications and features. It has an experienced production team to manufacture the products. And they are right in the same building, just steps away from each other.

  • Quality products; well organized processes; and established markets have been developed through the years, making it possible for a new ownership to consider growth potential.

Hampshire is already a strong entity with time-proven processes which will make it possible to expand into new markets and new customers. It has been doing the same thing, but with advancements through the years. Put simply, these have stood the test of time. But the engineering team has also been making regular improvements and is continuously at work on advances needed by end users – the faithful customer base.

  • The owner surrounded herself with good advisors. She also took part in an SBA emerging leaders program. These gave her the support network that helped her preserve and develop the company.

Vincent DeGiacomo served as a business advisor and sounding board. She also worked closely with legal counsel Matthew Benson of Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson of Manchester. Benson is the past chair of the NH High Technology Council. He represented Hampshire Controls in the transaction.

We at Business Transition Strategies are glad to have helped transition ownership of this company. We hope that the new ownership is successful in taking it to new heights, creating jobs and career opportunities as well.

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