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Alran electric motor repair business acquired by HECO

Jul 19, 2023

Kayleigh Van Wyk is a reporter covering manufacturing, technology and the business of law across West Michigan for Crain’s Grand Rapids Business.

A Kalamazoo-based motor repair and equipment management company is expanding to the east side of the state with the acquisition of a metro Detroit service center.

HECO Inc. executives this week announced the acquisition of Alran LLC, an electric motor repair company in Redford Township.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Established in 1959 as Hatfield Electric Co., HECO is a third-generation family business that helps industrial facilities adopt more dependable motors and equipment. The company is based in Kalamazoo and has various service area hubs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Alran was founded by Allen and Randy Altman in 2005 with a similar focus on electric motor repair and rewinding services for industrial clients.

HECO President Justin Hatfield said the company has been on the hunt for additional acquisitions, but was actually approached by Randy Altman, who was considering retirement.

"They were looking for a partner to come in and (we) figured that we didn't have a shop on that side of the state and that maybe we would be a good fit for them," Hatfield said. "Everything worked out."

Going forward, Alran will operate as HECO's metro Detroit service center. Hatfield said HECO already has a variety of accounts in the area, so the new presence in metro Detroit — combined with Alran's expertise — will be beneficial.

"We could only serve those accounts from Kalamazoo, so we couldn't respond the way local providers could, and now we have that ability," Hatfield said. "It's just a good mix of the local presence and Alran being very good at what they have done over the years and mixing it in with what we have."

Hatfield also said Randy Altman will stay on for a few years as operations manager at the new service center before retiring.

In a statement on the deal, Altman said HECO was an ideal choice for Alran's transition because of the two companies' shared focus and work with industrial electric motors.

"They are motor people and that was an important factor for us," Altman said. "Also, being part of a larger company will allow us to focus on what we do well and have a deep bench of motor and equipment knowledge and experience that we can draw from. Our customers will be excited to see all the additional services, offerings, and increased capabilities that we can now bring to them as part of HECO."

According to HECO officials, all five current employees at Alran will retain their positions through the acquisition.

In 2020, Alran was approved for a $68,790 federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to data from the Small Business Administration. The company reported six job positions at the time, with the majority of the loan going toward payroll.

For HECO, which employs about 100 people, the Alran deal marks the sixth acquisition in 10 years as the company continues a growth strategy within the Midwest.

The new metro Detroit service center will be the third in HECO's portfolio, which includes service centers in Kalamazoo and Lexington, Ky., as well as an operating presence in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Kayleigh Van Wyk is a reporter covering manufacturing, technology and the business of law across West Michigan for Crain’s Grand Rapids Business.