Hughes acquired by Blackthorne partners

Hughes Company, a Columbus, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of stainless steel food-processing equipment, has been acquired for an undisclosed price by Blackthorne Partners based in Brookfield.

Ross Lund, previously general manager at Trostel in Lake Geneva, was also part of the acquisition team and has become the president and CEO of the company. The acquirers have ‘aggressive growth goals’ for Hughes and plan to hire additional employees as those plans unfold, Lund said. “The story here is top-line growth. Hughes has great products, and it’s been around for 50 years. We just need more people to know about it”, said John Syburg, Blackthorne’s founder and president.

Hughes, founded in 1961, sells machinery that is used for processing and preparation of vegetables, pasta, rice, fruit and root crops. The company has customers around the world, with recent orders from Cambodia, Israel and Ukraine, Lund said. Lund said his goal is to bring new technologies and ways to go to market to the company’s offerings, which range from corn huskers and cob saws to peelers, scrubbers, blanchers and snippers.

Blackthorne and Lund bought the company from Hughes President Jeff Powell, who bought Hughes in 2008. Powell retains an interest in the company and will continue as a consultant.

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