Manitowoc = 100 Years of Distinction

The Manitowoc Company first established itself in 1902 as a shipbuilding organization, has guided itself through the past 100 years as one of the most formidable companies within the U.S. The Manitowoc, Wis.-based company has forged an enviable track record, not only based on the results of its marine group, but also from its two other primary business areas, cranes and foodservice.

This track record was proven with the recent release of the company's 2Q 2002 results. Overall, Manitowoc has performed quite well financially - posting an enviable net sales increase of 23 percent during the first six months of 2002.

With a cumulative net sales of approximately $346 million for the quarter, the marine segment, with net sales of $52.1 million, represents a relatively small (15%) portion of the whole, versus the contributions from the crane group ($160.1 million/46%) and the foodservice group ($134.1 million/39%). However, net sales in the marine segment did increase seven percent, while operating earnings increased two percent: impressive results when it is considered many colleagues are in the red. And as is the case with most any company with a maritime element, this segment provides some of the most interesting history.

For example, Marinette Marine holds the distinction as the only inland shipyard to have ever constructed submarines for military service, and the company recently delivered the 9,280- hp Ocean Reliance, featured on this month's cover and on page 36.

Consisting of Bay Shipbuilding Co.; Cleveland Shiprepair Co.; Marinette Marine (acquired by Manitowoc in 2000), and Toledo Shiprepair Co, the company's shipbuilding division reported cumulative net sales of $181.7 million in 2001 - a jump of more than $100 million from the division's previous net of $71.9 million in 2000. And it looks as though, in addition to its 100th anniversary, Manitowoc Company will have reason to celebrate even further, since its shipbuilding division has a bright future ahead.

"As recently announced, the U.S.

Coast Guard did not award its Deepwater project to our consortium," said Terry D. Growcock, president and CEO, in the release of the company's recent financial results. "However, the Coast Guard remains one of our best customers, and we are actively pursuing a host of shipbuilding opportunities that include homeland defense and security initiatives, the shipping industry's compliance with OPA '90 legislation, and an active dredging market." In August Manitowoc's Marinette Marine subsidiary launched its latest in a long series of USCG cutters. Known as FIR, the 225-ft. Coast Guard Cutter is the 13th member of a 16-ship series of seagoing buoy tenders, which were awarded to Marinette in 1993 and 1998.

In fact, Marinette reports a backlog of new ship construction projects through 2005 - consisting of double hull tank barges, a Great Lakes icebreaker, two additional USCG buoy tenders and three Staten Island ferries.

While Manitowoc marine segment as a whole has endured continuous weakness in its ship repair business, the company can fall back on its claim as the largest ship repair organization on the Great Lakes. In fact, Manitowoc operates more than 60 percent of the U.S.

Great Lakes' dry dock footage - including two of the three largest graving docks.

A Century of Success Manitowoc's 100-year-old roots as a marine company — as the Manitowoc Dry Dock Co. — virtually ensure its commitment to keep its shipbuilding division on top. On June 27, 1902, this company was established by Elias Gunnell, Charles West and Lynford Geer.

Just three years later, the company delivered its first steel-hulled vessel, the passenger steamer Maywood, which was delivered to Escanaba & Gladstone Transportation Co.

Following the delivery of passenger cargo steamship Alabama in 1910 - the company changed its name from Manitowoc Dry Dock Co. to Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. The name change reflected what would occur at the corn- pany for the next several years, for it came to be known as the premier builder of oceangoing freighters during WWI.

With approximately 2,500 workers pumping out 33 of these vessels from 1916-1919, the 3,500-ton ships (the maximum that could move through the St. Lawrence Seaway locks) were used to replace ships sunk in the Atlantic by German U-boats.

The end of the war effectively halted shipbuilding for the next several years.

To alleviate a drastic cut in its workforce, Charles West sought out new business endeavors, eventually building (with Lynford Geer), a cement plant in Wisconsin called Portland Cement Co.

West also invested up $410,000 of his own money to buy the yard from stockholders in 1920, when it was put up for auction. While Geer and West went on to develop ways to expand Manitowoc's abilities, Elias Gunnell was adamant about selling the yard. Among a majority of stockholders who felt this way, he decided not to follow his co-founders with their purchase, deciding that after 40 years in the shipbuilding business, he had other outlet to pursue. Even so, Gunnell did remain active in the marine business until his passing in 1926.

Among the other "outlets" that Manitowoc delved into was the speedcrane business. The company began in 1925, building Moore Speedcranes for Roy and Charles Moore. Eventually establishing themselves as Manitowoc Speedcrane, the company's Model 1500 speedcranes were responsible for constructing government office buildings in Washington, D.C. The 1930's also revived shipbuilding for Manitowoc - the company constructed a trio of patrol ships for the U.S. Coast Guard - one of which earned the designation as President Franklin Roosevelt's yacht, Potomac. The news of a Second World War also added to the company's shipbuilding binge. In 1940, Manitowoc signed a contract with the U.S. Navy to construct 10 submarines - most significantly the USS Peto. Launched in 1942, this vessel was known as the first U.S. Navy submarine to be constructed on the Great Lakes, and the first to be side-launched. By the time the war ended in 1945, the yard would construct 18 additional submarines, as well as a variety of other military vessels.

Also, In 1945, Manitowoc began manufacturing domestic freezers and other commercial refrigeration equipment, signaling the beginning of what would become a profitable entity for the company years later when its foodservices division was established.

Halfway There Upon reaching the half-century mark in 1952, Manitowoc reorganized its efforts, changing its name from Manitowoc Shipbuilding to Manitowoc Company. While the company's shipbuilding division was still pulling in business (it had just launched John G Munson, the largest self-unloading vessel on the Great Lakes one year earlier), the company wanted its name to reflect its changing image. Management also changed, when in 1957, upon the death of Charles West, one of the company's original founders, a new company president was elected - John D. West, who none other than the son of one of Manitowoc's founding fathers.

In 1961, Manitowoc built its last large vessel, the 730-ft.

Edward L. Ryerson at its Manitowoc, Wis. location. While there was a growing need for larger, higher capacity vessels, the Great Lakes shipbuilder saw, because of rising labor and material costs, owners were beginning to divert to Canadian and European yards, who could offer more competitive prices.

With virtually no vessels at the yard since the Ryerson, Manitowoc began to seek a new location that would enable it to maintain its role as a premier Great Lakes shipbuilder. Therefore from 1968-1970, the company purchased real estate and fixed assets of Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding and Dry Dock, as well as the real estate of Christy Corp., thus forming Bay Shipbuilding Corp. in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. This proved to be a step in the right direction, as the company not only revitalized Great Lakes shipbuilding with the construction of self-unloading freighter Charles E. Wilson, but also stock listed on the NASDAQ that year, trading publicly for the first time.

The 1980's and Beyond With the election of President Ronald Reagan, the 1980's not only brought about economic change, they also brought about big business for shipbuilding. In fact, Manitowoc's then president and CEO, Ralph Helm was honored by Reagan in 1983 at a Commerce Department event honoring U.S. companies for their efforts expanding trade overseas.

Already listed on the NASDAQ, Manitowoc Company enhanced its image with a stock listing on the esteemed New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1993. Three years later, in 1996, Bay Shipbuilding continued to thrive with the completion of Integrity - a 460-ft. integrated tug/barge - the first new vessel to built for dedicated service in more than 10 years.

Manitowoc Marine continued to look for additional opportunities, and in November 2000, purchased Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis. in order to expand its construction work for military and research customers. Utilizing its already established shipyards (Bay Shipbuilding, Toledo Shiprepair and Clevelend Shiprepair), for repair, maintenance and construction of commercial vessels), Manitowoc brought Marinette into the mix to rise up as the largest and all-encompassing American shipbuilding and ship repair group in the Great Lakes.

Other stories from November 2002 issue

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