Investment firm acquires rubber parts maker


Tim Dickerson. Courtesy Tillerman & Co.

A local investment firm is keeping a maker of custom-molded rubber parts in the state via acquisition.

Tillerman & Co. in Grand Rapids, an investment and merchant banking services firm, said yesterday that it has acquired Jackson Flexible Products in Jackson, which serves multiple industries, including aviation and aerospace.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal

Jackson Flexible Products was acquired from its founder Ronald Jakubas, who launched the company in 1969 to supply a division of Eaton Corporation formerly known as Aeroquip Corporation.

Jakubas met with several strategic buyers that intended to consolidate the company into other locations, before deciding to sell to Tillerman & Co.

Tillerman & Co. has committed to maintaining Jackson Flexible Products’ operation in Jackson.

Remos Lenio, partner at Tillerman & Co., indicated there were three aspects about acquiring the company that were attractive: the company had products and a capability that lent itself well to long-term growth; there was a very capable leader with a strong background to assume the CEO role as the original owner retired; and it was an attractive price.

“We were able to purchase it without leveraging it through the rooftop and be able to provide good investment returns,” Lenio said.

Barnes & Thornburg provided legal counsel for the acquisition, while Comerica Bank offered financial assistance.


Timothy Dickerson, current general manager at Jackson Flexible, will serve as CEO, since Jakubas plans to retire.

Dickerson has nearly 15 years of technical sales experience, has served as vice chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Rubber Division and serves on the advisory board of Ferris State University’s Rubber Engineering Technology program.

Tillerman & Co. will have an oversight role with the Jackson-based manufacturer, but it will not be actively involved in daily operations long-term.

Growth plans

Philip Blanchard, partner at Tillerman & Co., said the firm is excited to work with Dickerson and the team at Jackson Flexible Products.

“We plan to invest in R&D, new equipment and marketing, so we can bring new opportunities for growth to our employees, customers, suppliers and the Jackson community,” Blanchard said.

Lenio added that focusing on growth and expansion plays right into Dickerson’s strength.

“We intend to build on that tradition by bringing Jackson Flexible’s expertise to new customers in the medical, oil and gas, rail, energy and other industries,” Lenio said.

Tillerman & Co.

Tillerman & Co. launched nearly five months ago and provides a number of services to middle-market companies and family owned business located in the Midwest: merger and acquisition advisory; capital sourcing; transaction communications; valuations; and merchant banking services, which entails “select acquisition transactions” valued between $3 million and $75 million for companies with “a strong local presence.”

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