Waco-based Time Manufacturing, a maker of lifts that employs about 450 people locally, has been bought by The Sterling Group, a Houston-based private equity firm that reportedly will make no changes in local operations.
Time president Jay Jeffrey said Sterling is acquiring the company at a time of growth at the local facility, 7601 Imperial Drive, which just completed a 50,000-square-foot expansion that included a 28,000-square-foot service facility and a 22,000-square-foot manufacturing expansion.
“Sterling plans to grow the company and expand it,” Jeffrey said, dismissing any notion Sterling plans cutbacks or layoffs.
Time Manufacturing was founded in 1965 and operates nine companies in 12 facilities across the United States and Europe, supporting manufacturing, distribution and rental operations in more than 50 countries.
The main manufacturing facility in Waco consists of five buildings covering just under 400,000 square feet, according to information provided by Jeffrey. The local plant serves as home to Versalift Southwest, which is the Versalift distributor for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.
There are more than 30,000 truck-mounted Versalift products in use around the world, Jeffrey said in a press release.
As part of the transaction, Charles Wiley, who has been with the company for more than 45 years and was president for 26 years, was promoted to chief executive officer. Jeffrey, who has been with the company more than 30 years, was promoted to president.
“Sterling is the right partner for Time as we continue to pursue the significant growth opportunities that exist for the company today,” Wiley said in a prepared statement. “The Time team is excited to partner with Sterling, and together we expect continued success in this next phase of our company’s history.”
The Sterling Group focuses on acquiring companies with values ranging from $100 million to $750 million. It has sponsored the buyout of more than 50 companies and add-on transactions valued at more than $10 billion. It now has $2.2 billion in assets under management.
March 15 is “Waco Day” in Austin, and the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce is accepting reservations from those wanting to attend.
The trip to Austin will provide an opportunity to network with state officials and other community and business leaders, according to the chamber.
A bus will leave Waco at 8 a.m. and depart Austin at 7:30 p.m.
The full day of activities will include recognition in the House and Senate chambers and a briefing with legislators and agency heads. Those attending also will have the opportunity to schedule their own visits with lawmakers.
Waco Day in Austin will conclude with a Taste of Waco Legislative Reception at the Capitol that will include jazz entertainment provided by Waco businessman Evan Klaras, catering by Rio Brazos Cuisine and refreshments by Balcones Distilling.
A Waco Candy Shoppe will be stocked with goodies from the Mars chocolate plant in Waco, and a photo booth will welcome guests.
Tickets are $100, and space is limited on the bus. Those wishing to attend should contact the chamber’s Jessica Attas at 757-5631.
Local on CBS’s ‘Hunted’
Local businessman Lee Wilson, a partner in the ownership of Waco Escape Rooms, has been a lead character in the high-tech, hide-and-seek series called “Hunted” appearing Wednesday evenings on CBS.
Dubbed “Wolf” in the program, Wilson, 34, has been partnered with Hilmar Skagfield, 28, an IT consultant, to form one of nine teams that try to evade capture in a contest with a $250,000 grand prize.
Wilson and Skagfield have survived to hide again through the first five episodes, with the last two scheduled to air Feb. 22 and March 7. The episodes are titled “Poking The Bear” and “The Final Escape,” respectively, according to CBS.
Promotional material for the series says it reflects a “real-life manhunt as teams attempt the nearly impossible task of disappearing in today’s vast digital world as highly skilled investigators combine state-of-the-art tracking methods with traditional tactics to pursue and catch them.”
The goal of the teams is to be able to “stay off the grid” long enough to avoid being found within 100,000 square miles of the southeastern United States. The grand prize of $250,000 will be awarded to each team that successfully evades being caught for up to 28 days.
Wilson will have quite a story to tell when the contest concludes.
Convention center app
Visitors to Waco wanting information about local attractions now have access to a mobile app courtesy of the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The app is free, and contains information about Waco lodging, attractions, shopping, restaurants, Waco’s cultural district, walking tours, trolley, and more,” according to a city press release. “It is available for Android and iPhone.”
A search for “waco” or “waco tx” in the Android Play Store or the Apple App Store should turn up the app, which has a heart icon with a “w” in the middle, according to the press release.
The bureau created the app to encourage the quickly growing number of visitors to Waco to see more of the city. Tourism grew from 600,000 visitors in 2015 to 1.9 million visitors last year, according to the press release.
The growth is primarily attributable to the opening of Magnolia Market at the Silos at the end of October 2015.
“This is something we’ve tossed around for a while, and we didn’t know what kind of reception we would get,” bureau tourism manager Susan Morton said. “But we’ve already had 340 downloads, and it has been available just a few days.
“We’re really proud of it. We did a lot of research to provide the best product we could that would reflect well on the city. We can update the information really quickly, so if something opens or closes, we can make those changes almost instantly.”
Bad driving habits
A new report by the AAA Texas auto club shows that 88 percent of people age 19 to 24 reported engaging in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot for worst behaved U.S. drivers.
These dangerous behaviors, which increase crash risks, included texting while driving, running red lights and speeding, according to AAA.
“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19 to 24 believe their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, wrote in a press release. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”
Data that produced the results are from a survey of 2,511 licensed drivers who reported driving in the past 30 days.