The Right Fit... Tulsa Winch

Tulsa Winch, Inc. (TWI) is a classic example of a company that has utilized the resources of Dover Corporation to fuel unprecedented growth.

TWI, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a leading manufacturer of worm gear and planetary winches, swing drives, wheel drives, speed reducers, guardrail post drivers and crane overload protection devices. The company serves many of the leaders in the mobile crane, oilfield, towing, military, heavy hauling, utility, construction, refuse and aerial work platform markets. TWI was founded in 1929, by a truck salvage operator who utilized the gearsets from the rear axles of Model T trucks for his initial winch designs. The company was a division of Vickers Hydraulics from 1946 to 1986.
  TWI was revitalized by a 1986 management buyout led by Ron Hoffman and a few key managers who teamed with an outside investor to buy the company. The company focused on aggressive growth and market share gains with continuous product development and superior customer service.
  In 1995, the owners realized that the company was well positioned for additional growth with key OEM customers, but this new business would require significantly increased investment in equipment, facilities and manning. The company had strong profitability, a great growth record and was fully capable of continuing as a privately held company. "We began to ask ourselves if we were ready to leverage the company to meet tomorrow’s growth, limit our future expansion or explore the opportunity to sell the company to a larger entity that could support the company’s growth initiatives. We challenged our thinking as to when do we ever make a decision to sell the company." says Ron Hoffman, former President of TWI. Each of the owners had different expectations for their retirement plans, career aspirations and personal investment goals. The majority of each owner’s personal wealth was tied up in the company and they were intrigued with the possibility of cashing out to allow them to diversify their personal investment portfolios and estate plans. "How could we best meet all of these personal ownership goals and yet maintain the future of the company in the best interests of the customers and employees?" said Hoffman.
  They made a conscious effort to explore the possibilities of selling the company to a larger entity that could support our planned growth opportunities. A list of potentially compatible suitors was developed and they approached them with a profile of the company. They did not approach any competitors or financial buyers but instead sought buyers that had a history of long-term ownership of their acquisitions. "My desire was to remain with the company, but I was not willing to go back into a rigidly structured corporate environment." said Hoffman.

"Acquisitions are about people. Sure, there must be a good business and financial match...but without the right chemistry between the key people, they can't succeed."

Ron Hoffman, (now President & CEO, Dover Resources; former President, Tulsa Winch)

Dover quickly rose to the top of the list, not because of the monetary offer, but because they wanted the company to remain intact with its employees and responsive culture. Essentially they wanted to be a part of encouraging and facilitating TWI’s vision of internal growth, product development and complementary acquisitions. Hoffman remembered saying "this Dover group appears to be an ideal match. It almost seems too good to be true."
  TWI joined Dover Resources in December, 1996. “We have been thrilled to find that Dover has totally supported our plans to grow with limited involvement.” said Hoffman. TWI quickly outgrew its leased facility and Dover showed their long-term commitment to the company by approving a new 82,000 square foot plant in Jenks, Oklahoma.
  This new state of the art facility, coupled with a world-class focused factory approach, has strengthened TWI’s ability to serve the dynamic demands of their customer base.
  "It was our belief that the winch industry had a number of entrepreneur owners much like TWI, that might be evaluating their opportunities to sell their companies. Dover has provided us with the capital to pursue complementary acquisitions that have diversified our products and markets. We have already completed three acquisitions, DP Manufacturing, Greer Company and Pullmaster." Hoffman concluded.

Dp Manufacturing

DP Manufacturing (DP Winch) was acquired in November, 1999, and added breadth to the Tulsa Winch planetary product offerings. DP Manufacturing brought the military winch market, expanded product offerings for the towing and utility markets, broadened distribution and included a line of highway guardrail maintenance equipment. The two companies are an ideal fit in that they share a similar culture, dedication to customer service and a focused commitment to product development. DP Winch has two manufacturing facilities in Oklahoma and has brought fabrication capabilities to the group.
  The former owner of DP Manufacturing was exploring his retirement options and wanted his company to end up in the hands of a company that would continue to nurture the growth of the business in the best interest of its customers and employees. He was aware of the support that Dover had provided to TWI and felt that this offered the best on-going stability for his company. After a brief transition period, he was able to retire satisfied that his company was in capable hands.

"Integrating our several roll-up acquisitions is a demanding but rewarding process. We are seeing major synergies in leveraging each company's strong brand names."

Steve Oden, President, Tulsa Winch


Greer Company

The Greer Company, located in Santa Ana, California, was acquired in April 2000. Greer is a leader in the mobile crane overload protection market. They manufacture a line of load moment indicators along with a range of in-cab load information systems under the name Microguard®. These indicators warn the operator of an impending overload and disable functions that would cause a loss of stability of the crane. Greer’s customer base is essentially the same OEM mobile crane customers served by TWI. This strategic acquisition broadened the product offering of TWI and brought electronic expertise to the TWI group. Greer was formerly owned by Morgan Crucible Company plc of England. TWI, through Dover, offered Morgan Crucible the opportunity to divest a division that no longer fit the core competency of the company, to a corporate entity that had the financial stability to properly grow the business. The synergy between TWI and Greer will facilitate the growth of both companies.


TWI most recently acquired the Canadian company, Pullmaster Winch Corporation, a leading manufacturer of planetary hydraulic winches. This complimentary add-on brings leadership in several market niches not served by TWI—e.g., commercial fishing, logging and marine dredging. Without going into all the details, the business was privately owned and the "courting process" took place over several years.
  Today, TWI is in a market leadership position in the North American special winch market and is poised for international expansion. According to Steve Oden, TWI’s President, "Dover has brought the right blend of encouragement and resources to allow TWI to grow beyond its abilities as a privately held company. Our operating culture and spirit of ownership has remained intact with Dover’s decentralized management style."