We have received the sad news that former Snorkel owner Al Havlin passed away over the weekend, he was 74.
The news came through last night and we have now managed to confirm that he died yesterday. We have no other details but will update this item when we learn more and hear about the funeral arrangements.
Havlin was chief executive and co-owner of Fluid Tech a component supplier to Snorkel, Altec and Terex Cranes, when he acquired the aerial work platform manufacturer in partnership with other local investors in Kansas City who made up Elwood Holdings.
The Snorkel plant in Elwood, and St Joseph, Kansas were mothballed in 2002 after owner Omniquip – part of Textron – had failed to find a buyer for the business as a going concern. Havlin managed, where others had failed, to persuade Textron to sell the company to him and his partners at a sensible price and took over in late 2002. The new owners restarted the production lines in early 2003 and recruited Frank Scarborough as president. Havlin built the Snorkel business back up again and sold it to Tanfield in mid 2007. Tanfield merged it with UpRight and after several years of mismanagement managed to sell it to Don Ahern in 2013.
Havlin was a successful sales rep for Fluid Power Systems, when in 1978 he spotted the potential for a small local company Fluid Tech that had been set up in 1972 but was struggling in what was a tough market. He sold his home and cashed in the commissions that he had built up and acquired the company. At the time he said: "I didn't want to start a company up from zero. This one was already started and was running. The core was basically there, and sales went up rather rapidly."
He expanded the company rapidly over the next 12 years and then in 1995 he founded the Midwest Suppliers Alliance, a sort of co-op which included a number of local suppliers working together to offer manufacturers a wide range of products and in effect reduce the number of separate suppliers they had to deal with.
Al Havlin remained interested in the aerial lift market long after he had sold Snorkel, and was a regular visitor to the ARA Rental show. He celebrated the acquisition of the business by Don Ahern in 2013 which effectively saved the company for the second time.
A service will be held this Thursday, the 30th January at
10000 Marshall Drive
Lenexa, KS 66215
Viewing will be at 10:00 followed by a Celebration of Life Service at 11:00