Portfolio Company Spotlight: Q&A with Daniel Wright, CEO of Aerofil Technology, Inc.

Aerofil Technology, Inc., a contract manufacturer that provides aerosol formulation and packaging capabilities, has recently appointed Daniel Wright as Chief Executive Officer. Learn why Daniel is excited about the future prospects for Aerofil.


Discuss your career journey and how HBM’s focus on talent development aided you in your recent career move.

DW: I spent the majority of my career working at Israel Chemicals Ltd., a large, multi-national corporation, most recently as the Vice President of Global Performance Chemicals Business Unit. It was a great experience, but I felt it was the right time to join a more growth-oriented organization. That’s when I found HBM Holdings – and I am glad I did!

HBM’s vision and strategy resonated with me. Everything seemed to just click. My perspectives were completely aligned with Mike DeCola’s, HBM’s CEO, vision and priorities. There was no introductory dance. We quickly moved to execute the strategy which I believe is evidenced by HBM closing two transactions in 2017.

After acquiring Aerofil, I was appointed President of Aerofil and was fortunate to work closely with the founder, Bob Dunaway. Bob’s deep understanding of the company, the suppliers and the market were invaluable. He frequently challenged me to evaluate my plans/strategies further, and through my diligence, I was able to make refinements that led to a solid go-forward plan. Working closely with Bob prepared me for my current role as CEO.

HBM’s culture is very much based on a mentorship philosophy. I was afforded the opportunity to work closely with Mike during my nine months at HBM, learning from his advice and coaching. Looking back, I feel fortunate for joining HBM as it provided me with the opportunity to hone my skills and viewpoints and prepare myself to become a more effective executive. I look to implement the same mentorship culture at Aerofil.

What excites you about Aerofil’s future?

DW: Over the past eight months, we have implemented a template for a high-performance culture which I believe aligns well with Aerofil’s Lean philosophy. Through our diligence, we have been able to identify opportunities in the marketplace as well as operational inefficiencies that need attention for us to make significant strides in our performance.

I believe we are in an advantageous spot to move forward and have been working hard on our strategic plan to lay the groundwork for investment in both organic and inorganic growth. Aerofil 2.0 is right around the corner, and I am not shy to say that we expect to achieve strong growth over the next three to five years.

If you cannot tell, I am extremely excited about the prospects for Aerofil.

What do you foresee as some of Aerofil’s challenges?

DW: Technology transformation is a challenge in the industry, not just Aerofil’s. For example, we recently upgraded our ERP system but have not fully rolled it out. Employees are still using older processes and ways of communicating that we sought to eliminate with the new system. We have now put a plan in place to fully implement the ERP system into our organization by the end of July.

From conversations I have had with other companies (both mid and large size), this is not uncommon. People are slow to adopt technology or embrace change. What we need to show is that through technology, the company can become more efficient and reduce low-value activities and work.

Lean Manufacturing is a major part of Aerofil’s culture. How does Lean differentiate the company in the marketplace?

DW: Aerofil is almost a decade into its Lean journey which means it is the company’s culture. Everyone within the company believes in Lean and is proud of it. It is one of Aerofil’s competitive advantages as we have been able to convert opportunities better than our competitors.

I envision Lean to be a major component of the value we could bring to any potential acquisition. There are always opportunities out there, and with Lean, we have a capability in place to make an integration of an acquisition into our Lean system quite seamless.

How do you envision working with HBM to achieve Aerofil’s long-term objectives?

DW: I envision Aerofil working closely with HBM on a number fronts. The two that immediately come to mind are talent development and guidance on executing on our strategic plan.

First, we will work closely with Amy Fields, VP and Chief Human Resources Officer for HBM, on talent development initiatives. HBM has implemented a strong leadership development program which offers continuous development opportunities. These opportunities, as well as HBM’s mentorship culture, will serve Aerofil and its other portfolio companies well. I am a firm believer in developing talent from within and have recently promoted two employees to VP of Sales & Marketing and Director of Sales & Marketing.

Second, I see us working closely with HBM on executing on initiatives defined in our strategic plan. Specifically by improving processes, capital investment analysis and the evaluation of potential bolt-on acquisition targets. HBM’s expertise and strong bench strength make them an invaluable partner.

The future is bright for Aerofil. We operate in a constantly changing and dynamic market where few companies get it right. We believe we do.