Johnson Controls Inc. Prepares for Market Shift

February 9, 2009
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Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) is aligning its organization to focus on offering the full range of building efficiency capabilities to its customers. With that, Allen Martin, Tom Huntington, and Rod Rushing are assuming new roles within Johnson Controls. Martin is VP, GM North America Systems, Middle East and Latin America. Rushing will be the vice president and general manager of Unitary Products. Huntington has been named to a newly created role as vice president distribution sales, North America.

Martin will now take on a more expanded role with responsibilities for sales, marketing, operations, and manufacturing for all commercial and residential systems and equipment in North America.

As the new vice president and general manager of Unitary Products, Rushing will be responsible for execution of the Unitary Products strategic plan and business growth initiatives. This responsibility will include the sales and marketing, product marketing, engineering, and the manufacturing plants in Norman, Okla., and Wichita, Kan.

A significant focus will be placed on growing the business through the expansion of existing distributor sales and the attraction of new distributors, as well as, the growth of the company-owned branches. Rushing has been with Johnson Controls for 18 years and has held numerous engineering, sales, and general management roles. Most recently, he was vice president and general manager Systems, West Region.

Huntington will focus on expanding Johnson Controls’ independent sales channels and distributor relationships across all lines of business. He will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to attract and recruit new distributors, as well as new channels to market.

Additionally, he will focus on growing the business with targeted national accounts to ensure the full line of products and services are offered to customers to maximize and best leverage the full capabilities of the Building Efficiency business, which includes the Unitary Products, Equipment, Controls, Security, Service, Global Workplace Solutions, Energy Management, and Sustainability offerings.

Huntington will directly manage a sales team in this effort. In other cases, his team will support the existing account managers within the business to expand the offerings currently being delivered. Huntington has been with the company for 16 years, including several key positions and most recently served as vice president and general manager of Unitary Products since 2001.

In interviews with The NEWS, each talked about changes in the marketplace and goals for the future of the company.

Tom Huntington

NEWS: How does JCI compete in today’s world?

Huntington: When we look at the global marketplace, we strategize about what is the best business model not just in North America, but globally. We are constantly searching for ways to extract subtle advantages in one market that may help us in another. The JCI model in North America has been very successful. We will be announcing in mid-2009 more information about whole-house innovations. What we will be doing now is more comprehensive with the inclusion of the complete array of JCI products.

NEWS: How will you work with existing distributors?

Huntington: I will be working very closely with Rod Rushing and his group of unitary distributors as well as the existing independent controls distributors. Altogether, we have well over 300 distributors, representing the umbrella of JCI products.

NEWS: What makes the JCI/York combination offering appealing for a distributor?

Huntington: The key benefits we offer potential new distributors include not only the wide breadth of equipment lines from 1.5 tons all the way through commercial, but the bundling opportunities for controls and security systems.

NEWS: What is your economic outlook?

Huntington: Though we don’t think the market will be robust in the first two quarters, we would expect to gain SOM in virtually all categories. We do expect some growth coming back to the economy around the third quarter of 2009.

Rod Rushing

NEWS: Why did the personnel changes come about at this time?

Rushing: It is a natural progression at JCI to have the opportunity to expand and explore. For me personally, it was the right thing at the right time.

NEWS: How will 2009 look in your rearview mirror?

Rushing: We will have continually evolved the quality of the brands. This year, I want to see us looking at cost leadership across all the businesses.

NEWS: How will your past experience at JCI help at Unitary Products?

Rushing: I started in a JCI field branch in systems and service, and performed engineering design and application for the company. Since then, a variety of management roles has challenged me to expand profits. The three of us have worked well together in the recent past; I feel very good about the team we have in place.

NEWS: Any changes to the current branding strategy?

Rushing: I really don’t foresee any changes. I think the stability we already have has performed very well for the company. I’m very excited about the challenges since the acquisition of York by JCI. If you look at what JCI has done from the building controls standpoint and what York has done from the equipment side, this is a perfect marriage.

NEWS: What do you expect for the near future?

Rushing: The new political administration has a tremendous emphasis on energy. This is a great time for us to move the entire business forward. I look forward to Unitary Products being the bridge between JCI and the consumer movement.

Allen Martin

NEWS: Why the recent personnel shuffle?

Martin: We think it is a great opportunity to further invest in the business. Tom Huntington has such a strong relationship in the industry; we thought that if we could put him in a position to work more closely with our distributors, it would be a very good investment of our resources. Our goal is to find how we can bring the best offering of services, market-by-market. We see these moves as an investment in a sector that can most help our business.

NEWS: How will the various divisions work together?

Martin: Unitary Products has unique channels that demand unique products and programs. While the Unitary Products side of our business will leverage the purchasing power and manufacturing expertise of Johnson Controls, marketing, product management, and engineering will continue to be managed within the Unitary Products business.

NEWS: How is JCI going to play the green movement?

Martin: We are going to have all our sales reps LEED accredited in early 2009. We will be positioned to work with the engineering community and provide a much broader resource for facility design. The federal sector is very promising. We believe we are well positioned to help the new administration jump-start the economy with products such as our new 33-inch high-efficiency furnace and many other new products. In addition, our performance contracting section can work with owners who are interested in making environmentally sound buying decisions.

NEWS: What are your three-year goals?

Martin: We will be well-positioned with our independent distribution channels to take advantage of the economy when it does turn around. We have to make sure we have the green products for the complex market. We have been growing business on projects above $750,000 and look forward to strong participation in this market segment. When I look at the smaller jobs (below $750,000), these have been the first thing owners are cutting. We want to enhance our efforts to recapture this segment.

Publication date: 02/09/2009

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