Coming out of the turbulence of 2020 like the rest of the world, HBM and our portfolio of companies felt ready to tackle 2021 even with a continuing high level of uncertainty. While we knew there would be challenges, what wasn’t clear was just how unpredictable some of the variables would become. HBM’s employees in every operating company exhibited remarkable resilience as they navigated these areas, including ongoing pandemic conditions, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and logistics hurdles.
Several of our operating companies experienced record demand and delivered the strongest performance in the history of the business. That success is impressive on its own, but especially considering the challenges throughout the year. We experienced supply disruptions including unpredictable flow of raw materials, price fluctuations, and long lead times to get the materials needed to produce a finished product. The ingenuity and hard work our teams exhibited to serve our customers was a testament to their commitment to deliver results.
Similarly, we were not immune from the impact of “The Great Resignation” with some of our businesses seeing their highest turnover rates in many years. Our leaders and HR teams got very creative to attack a widespread challenge and to attract and retain talent at all levels.
We also experienced a key planned leadership transition this year. After 22 years of dedicated service to the company in various roles, Bill Ayers will retire in early 2022 as the President & CEO of our Mississippi Lime business. Bill’s leadership and contributions to build and grow the business are immeasurable. We were thrilled to have Paul Hogan join us this fall as the incoming CEO and are confident his accomplished leadership will bring Mississippi Lime into the next chapter. I wish both Bill and Paul success as we move forward.
HBM’s focus on growth continued in 2021. We were delighted to acquire Control Devices, a leading manufacturer of highly engineered flow-control products based in the metro St. Louis area, in October. We look forward to partnering with the management team to build this business in our precision machining space.
I am proud of our teams for the way they have responded to the challenges and opportunities that continue to come our way. Our values of integrity, relationships, and results are taking center stage as we learn to rely on each other more than ever, partner with our customers and suppliers, and continue our focus to stay safe and to operate with continuity.
Our operating results this year are the best in the history of HBM, thanks to the efforts of our talented people. A great leader I respect had a saying: “The strength of a company lies in its people” (Joseph Heil, Sr). I could not agree more. While more uncertainty is surely ahead, I look forward to what this next year will bring for our portfolio. I am confident the people across HBM’s portfolio of companies will rise to meet the opportunities that will cross our path.