Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southeastern Sold for $35 Million

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southeastern Sold for $35 Million

Article excerpt

Southeastern Metals Manufacturing Co., a low-profile

Jacksonville-based firm with 500 employees and multi-state

operations, has been sold in a deal worth $35 million.

The sale adds a chapter and a lot of money to the story of its

chief executive officer, Nadine Gramling, who was hired as a

17-year-old secretary four months after Southeastern started in

1963.

Over the next 20 years, she worked her way up and in 1984 she

signed papers making her personally responsible for a $2.5

million bank loan so she and her coworkers could buy out the

boss, who wanted to retire.

Since then, Gramling and the employees have increased sales

from $25 million to $90 million last year. Along the way,

Southeastern managed to break out beyond the Jacksonville market

and compete successfully from Tennessee to Texas.

Along the way, she also married a fellow employee, Donnie

Gramling, a 20-year veteran of Southeastern who today is chairman

of the company.

The new owner is Gibraltar Steel Corp. of Buffalo, N.Y., which

said late Friday it had paid $25 million in cash for

employee-owned Southeastern and had also assumed $15 million of

its debt.

Gibraltar said it would retain Southeastern's management, and

plans to expand its operations.

"It's a good marriage for us," said Nadine Gramling. "It will

open up a lot of doors for us."

She said the company had grown to the point where it had to

decide whether to sell stock to the public in order to grow

further, or to sell out to another company, which is what it

ended up doing.

Some 300 past and present employees will share in the sale, but

Gramling is not saying how much the checks will be for.

Employees have asked her not to talk about how much they will

get from the sale, Gramling said.

The last time the company got its name in the paper as an

employee-owned company, workers were bombarded by people trying

to sell them things, she said. …

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