Multiple Personalities with One Thing in Common: Integrity
It takes myriad types of characters, if you will, to keep a company balanced, forward-thinking and motivated. Magnus leaders are some of the most respected and accomplished performers in the industry. But that’s not all it takes to create a positive environment of innovation, loyalty and prosperity.
Whether it’s the long-term partnerships we’ve formed within the Magnus companies or the close affiliations we’ve developed in the field, we’re family business-minded when it comes to culture and big-business visionaries when it comes to creating natural, renewable products that we make in the USA. Above all, we’re all driven by integrity. That’s a Magnus expectation, not exception. We’re not afraid to have fun and a sense of humor either. All in all, these principles help us do good for people and the planet.
Eric Lofquist, Co-owner, President & CEO
For three decades, Eric has been an accomplished entrepreneur with significant experience in natural products manufacturing, renewable energies and traditional fuels.
He co-founded Magnus International Group in 2007 with Scott Forster, an award-winning developer and manufacturer of one-of-a-kind products ranging from natural animal feed ingredients, and natural industrial and consumer waxes for a variety of applications to customized fatty acids, biodiesel fuel feedstocks and other specialty chemicals.
Prior to Magnus, Eric held various leadership and consulting roles in strategic planning, business development, product development and marketing for businesses including the Phillips Services Corporation, Ashland Chemical, Ensco, American NuKem and REI. He also owned Industrial By-Products Trading, a firm that made and blended high-carbon products for industrial purposes.
Magnus has received nearly 20 major honors for innovation and growth, including Eric’s 2012 win of Ernst & Young’s National and Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Of The Year™ awards for distribution and manufacturing. He was a judge for the 2013 Northeast Ohio EOY competition and a judge for national EOY events from 2014 through 2016. In 2015, Eric chaired the national Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel for the distribution and manufacturing category.
He is a guest columnist for Smart Business magazine, a national chain of journals for C-level executives. Eric was also acting president of the Maingate Business Development Corporation in Cleveland and a member of the Cuyahoga County Blue Ribbon Taskforce. He graduated from Clarion State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in business.
Scott Forster, Co-owner, Vice President & COO
An entrepreneur since his early 30s, Scott started in 1993 as a lab chemist for Northeast Chemical. He held a variety of positions at NEC, including logistics, processing and outside sales. Scott led the company’s drive for record revenue, profitability and customer retention, and at his peak, was directly responsible for more than 75 percent of total sales.
In 1997, he took a leadership role at Chemtron Corporation, where he managed the broker business and customer service group. He led the company to its first million-dollar month and expanded their capabilities to better serve a growing customer base. Following Chemtron, Scott co-owned an environmental services business for six years, then launched Magnus with Eric Lofquist in 2007.
The company creates proprietary, U.S.-made natural products by uniquely recovering and refining domestic and tropical vegetable oils, cooking greases, animal fats and other co-products. Magnus partners with such noteworthy firms as Cargill, Land O’Lakes, Purina and Duraflame.
Throughout his career, Scott has excelled at operations, client, product and staff development, and P&L management. He is also highly experienced with process flow, plant and product quality and safety, and regulatory compliance.
At Magnus, Scott focuses on operations, new business ventures, marketing, human resources and finances. The company’s revenue growth and accomplishments in sustainable global products development have resulted in numerous awards, including a No. 1 position on the Weatherhead 100 list of Northeast Ohio’s fastest growing organizations.
Scott received both his business degree and MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College.
Sharon Stefan, Corporate Controller
Sharon is an accounting professional whose career has spanned both public accounting and closely held companies. She has significant experience in GAAP, corporate taxes, management reporting and financial statements. Sharon brings to Magnus her exceptional analytical skills, attention to detail and in-depth knowledge of numbers.
She manages the company’s financial system and helped to create standard accounting procedures for Magnus and its production companies. Sharon oversees our staffing accounting, HR, client support and logistics functions, and works with our leadership team on top-level cost analysis. She also coordinates all work with Magnus’ outside accounting firm.
Sharon prepares monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements and analyses, manages cash flow, handles financial forecasting and budgeting, and takes on other accounting and tax functions for our fast-track enterprise.
David Weiss, Vice President of Commercial Development
There is great synergy between Magnus’ expertise in naturally derived co-product utilization and David’s unique focus on oleochemical, vegetable oil refining and animal fat-rendering co-product applications for the industrial and animal nutrition markets.
Together, Magnus and David have built a platform unlike any other business with similar capabilities. This has propelled the company to a highly regarded, financially strong position among its suppliers and customers, and within the global fats and oils market.
Gregg Rechner, Vice President of Technical Affairs
At Magnus, Gregg is responsible for meeting customer specifications, maintaining compliance standards and ensuring product quality.
He conducts research for new product development and oversees the day-to-day production schedule.
Gregg also provides support for plant upgrade designs and new plant process designs.
Jon Green, Production Manager
Jon has spent eight years of his manufacturing career at our Hardy Road production facility in Ohio, the first three of which he worked for Twin Rivers Technologies. Magnus bought the 25-acre Painesville Township plant from Twin Rivers in 2007.
When the company formed Hardy Industrial Technologies and Hardy Animal Nutrition on that site, Jon gained five years of notable experience in high-temperature and flow-capacity distillation, high-pressure, flow-capacity reactor towers and hydrogenation reactors. He also has extensive knowledge of high-temperature, bulk liquid handling and shipping.
Today, Jon oversees our entire manufacturing operation, including product volume and quality, equipment and process maintenance, employee hiring, training and communication, and health and safety compliance.
Before Magnus, Jon was a foreman at a dry powder chemical plant (a division of Bayer) for four years, where he managed the top-producing crew and only team with no recordable safety incidents during his tenure. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military police officer and was deployed to Iraq for a year.
Mubetcel Moorefield, Lab Manager
For more than 20 years, Mubetcel has worked as a chemist and lab manager for noteworthy manufacturers such as STERIS Corporation. In these key product development roles, she gained significant scientific experience in the healthcare, rubber, plastics and asphalt industries.
Mubetcel’s areas of strength include product research, raw materials testing, experimentation and formulation, quality control, regulatory compliance, chemical hygiene and lab safety. She also has a strong background in customer support and marketing strategy.
For Magnus’ Hardy brands, Mubetcel manages the lab’s staff and employs instrumental analysis and wet chemical laboratory techniques to rigorously test inbound raw materials from the food industry. Co-products such as fats, oils and greases are refined and converted into natural liquid and solid animal feed ingredients, natural industrial and consumer waxes, and alternative fuels.
Tom Szucs, Plant Engineer
Tom has held key chemical engineering positions at Hardy Animal Nutrition since 2009. Before joining the company full time as product specialist, Tom interned for HAN for three consecutive summers while pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University in Ohio.
He was instrumental in the design and implementation of the company’s original prill tower, which in 2010 made Hardy the first full-service U.S. manufacturer, packager and distributor of natural animal feed ingredients for the cattle, poultry and swine industries.
Tom was also integral in the research, development and construction management phases of HAN’s new, $20-million-dollar prill facility, which is our largest and most significant undertaking to date. There are only two similar operations nationwide, neither of which features all of HAN’s capabilities in natural products formulation.
Tom employs cost savings analysis, system optimization, project management and R&D skills to help advance HAN’s leadership role as producer of natural animal nutrition for some of the world’s largest food companies.
Brett Ayers, Product Manager
Brett began with Hardy Industrial Technologies in utility operations in August 2013, shortly after earning a 4.0 GPA and master’s of international affairs from Texas A&M University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University, where he graduated magna cum laude. In addition, Brett is a National Merit® scholar who has received a host of impressive academic awards and scholarships, including membership in the exclusive Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
Quickly becoming proficient in Hardy’s production of innovative oleochemicals from food industry co-products, Brett was promoted to shift supervisor in March 2014. He advanced to Magnus’ product manager, a corporate office position in Chagrin Falls, in November 2014.
In this role, he will apply his plant experience and exceptional problem-solving ability, communication skills and service attitude to source and procure raw materials such as vegetable oils and cooking greases used in our award-winning natural products manufacturing.
Chris Knight, Shift Supervisor
Chris began his career with Hardy Industrial Technologies in March 2014 as a utility technician. He was promoted to shift supervisor in September of the same year, after quickly demonstrating a firm grasp on our one-of-a-kind natural products processing and manufacturing facility.
Chris came to Hardy with extensive leadership, training and security experience gained from his five-year enlistment with the U.S. Marine Corps’ fleet anti-terrorism security team. Achieving corporal rank, Chris was a squad leader with a reputation for meeting the most challenging operational goals. He was also in charge of more than $6M in equipment and weapons. One of his three deployments was to Guantanamo Bay, where he served as sergeant of the guard.
As shift supervisor for HIT, Chris brings his notable accomplishments in staff management and training, strategic planning, policy implementation, and inventory and budget control to our groundbreaking development of natural products from renewable raw materials. He is also on track to receive his Bachelor of Science degree in business finance in 2016.
Nick Pudder, Shift Supervisor
Nick launched his career at Magnus’ Hardy Industrial Technologies in the summer of 2014 as a utility floater, primarily for our hydrogenation system. Gaining diverse experience plant-wide, he quickly established himself as a leader and critical thinker with complex problem-solving ability and great communication skills. Three months later, Nick was promoted to shift supervisor.
In his current role, he helps oversee total plant operations and is responsible for production, employee training and development, quality control, safety and compliance. Nick is enthusiastic about the record-setting pounds of material that Hardy is producing and about fine-tuning our processes to maximize the capabilities of our facility.
Outside his full-time position at the plant, he is a paid volunteer EMT-firefighter for the Northwest Ambulance District. Nick also worked in the ER at TriPoint Medical Center in Concord Township and as an EMT-firefighter for the City of Geneva, Ohio. Before these positions, he was a professional plumber in Virginia.
Nick holds an OSHA Safety Training certification. In addition to his Firefighter-EMS certification, he completed his National Incident Management System (NIMS) training through FEMA. Nick’s had nuclear radiation training, too, and is certified in CPR and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS).
Ken Wheeler, Shift Supervisor
Ken came to Hardy Industrial Technologies with a decade of supervisory experience, the last five years of which were at Buckeye Aluminum Foundry in PA. There he was responsible for the production, work quality and safety of as many as 30 employees. Known for being motivated, adaptable, quick to learn and a great communicator, Ken has risen to management roles throughout his career at an impressive pace.
As a tool and die maker who also has extensive experience loading and unloading semi-trucks with a forklift, he is a supervisor who has always learned by doing. Additionally, Ken was in the U.S. Navy as an aircraft director in the hanger bay and on the flight deck of the USS Roosevelt.
At HIT, he employs his leadership expertise and troubleshooting capabilities to inspire his team to reach their daily manufacturing, product quality, training and safety goals. Bringing a strong sense of order and standardization to his work, Ken continues to be an instrumental part of our drive for award-winning innovations in natural products refining and production.
Ray Richards, Shift Supervisor
Ray came to Magnus in January 2015 with more than 20 years of notable experience as a production supervisor, and machine and setup operator. He gained these successes during a two-decade career at Swagelok, a $1.8B global developer and provider of reliable, high-quality fluid system solutions. Ray also worked in operations in the distribution center at Lincoln Electric, a worldwide leader in welding products.
Ray’s management areas of expertise include staff supervision and scheduling, employee training and development, production performance, quality control, safety, compliance and delivery logistics. He is also very proficient in scrap reduction, process improvements, manufacturing efficiencies and equipment reliability.
Ray’s technical specialties include Lean manufacturing strategies and Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II). He is well versed in the setup, operation, troubleshooting and maintenance of conventional machines, and the operation of lift trucks and towmotors. Ray is trained in hazard waste and fire safety, and is also a first aid responder with CPR and bloodborne pathogens certifications.
At Hardy Industrial Technologies, Ray leads our night shift’s significant contributions to record-breaking volumes of raw materials refining, and exclusive natural products development and manufacturing.
Randy Lewis, Training & Safety Coordinator
Since Randy began his career with the Magnus companies in 2008, he has accelerated through various plant utility and operations positions, ultimately leading to his current management role in training and safety. The depth of his experience with Hardy Industrial Technologies’ proprietary distillation and hydrogenation systems primes him for creating critical staff development processes and tools.
Highly skilled as a troubleshooter, problem-solver and critical-thinker, Randy is participating in the Wells Fargo online safety training and recordkeeping program. He onboards new utility employees in our fast-growth business and orients them to their positions and to the inner-workings of our state-of-the-art production facility. His day typically begins with a safety debriefing with our production staff, and every week he trains the team on a new safety topic.
Randy is also responsible for creating and maintaining employee and contractor safety manuals, and for preparing our operation for safety audits. The plant has had no recordable safety incidents since late 2012. This is an impressive accomplishment for the manufacturing industry.
Prior to Magnus, Randy rebuilt screw machines for Screw Machine Services for clients including Autocam. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years as a military police officer. Randy was deployed to Iraq for a year, where he trained staff and conducted joint combat operations with the Iraqi police. Additionally, he was a certified combat lifesaver and team leader.
Dave Wolf, Plant Shipping & Receiving Coordinator
Dave has been an influential leader of our plant’s chemical lab team since 2011. He joined Hardy Industrial Technologies as a technician responsible for sampling inbound raw materials, testing mid-process products and quality checking finished natural goods such as industrial and consumer waxes, and liquid animal feed ingredients.
Dave quickly advanced to senior lab technician in 2012, taking on the additional roles of training and delivery logistics for the plant’s refining of co-products such as vegetable oils, cooking greases and animal fats into renewable materials. He was also charged with testing our wastewater effluents for EPA compliance.
In his current post, Dave provides oversight and direction to the lab in concert with coordinating all product transportation details for tank trucks and railcars. Using our proprietary software, he manages load data to ensure the operational efficiency of incoming and outbound products.
Prior to Hardy, Dave gained significant experience at companies including The Lubrizol Corporation in staff management, business development, testing and quality control, training, Lean manufacturing, R&D and marketing. He holds an Associate of Science degree in chemistry and is certified by the DOT in hazardous materials management and hazmat training. Dave is also a member of the Sandler Sales Institute President’s Club. Outside of work, he enjoys skiing in New York and four-wheeling in West Virginia.
Tom Burlinksi, Purchasing Manager
Tom comes to Magnus with more than 25 years of notable experience in purchasing, quality assurance, customer service, safety, transportation and production management for Northeast Ohio manufacturers, including Anchor Manufacturing Group and Slabe Machine.
He is highly proficient in materials procurement and delivery logistics, and has saved his employers hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchasing, shipping and labor costs by utilizing cycle counting, vendor auditing, workflow streamlining and other efficiency techniques.
Tom has an extensive background in continuous improvement and quality control, and has developed and implemented quality procedures and programs. He has also trained many quality and inventory employees during his career.
Shelli Riley, Client Support & Logistics Manager
Shelli came to Magnus with a decade of experience in purchasing, inventory and quality control, supplier relationship management, and financial analysis and reporting. We benefit greatly from her background with chemical, plastics and metals companies, at which she was recognized as a consistent top-performer.
Here, Shelli purchases raw materials, manages vendor orders, schedules transporter loads and negotiates freight rates. She also provides sales and customer service support, as well internal and client reporting.
Shelli is a key part of our corporate office team that manages the financial interrelationship between Magnus companies that produce sustainable global products such as natural animal feed ingredients, and natural industrial and consumer waxes.
She was a business administration major at Franklin University in Columbus and Hudson Valley Community College in New York.
Tiffany Fibich, Staff Accountant & HR Manager
Tiffany brings to her corporate position at Magnus more than 10 years of experience in accounts receivable and payable, payroll management, benefits administration, client service, and staff scheduling and supervision. Before joining our leadership team in September 2013, she was billing coordinator at The B’laster Corporation in Valley View, Ohio.
Highly proficient in accounting and business software, Tiffany provides critical administrative support to our corporate controller, and vice president and chief operating officer. She manages payroll and works directly with our plant employees on new-hire orientation, policy communication and benefits.
Tiffany’s technical savvy and experience in finance and HR management are key to helping Magnus keep pace with its high sales and employment growth, and award-winning innovations in natural products development.
She holds an Associate Degree in general studies from Franklin Pierce University in Manchester, NH, and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.