Dave Berry, chairman of the Magni Group Inc., started a metal finishing company, Depor Industries, in Detroit in 1974. In the beginning, Depor had modest monthly sales, but a license agreement with Diamond Shamrock, an automotive chemical coating supplier, resulted in significant sales growth. Unfortunately, in 1978, Diamond Shamrock licensed another local metal finisher, cutting Depor’s business in half.
As a result, Dave decided to develop his own coatings and advised Diamond Shamrock. They laughed and said, “Dave, you got to do what you got to do.” Dave did exactly what he said, and now the Magni Group Inc. is Diamond Shamrock’s biggest competitor.
During the 1980s, The Magni Group grew along with the automotive industry by offering corrosion-resistant coatings that provide metal components with a longer service life and increased durability.
Now, in addition to its automotive customers, Magni serves the agricultural, construction, heavy truck, marine, military and off-highway markets worldwide with an excess of 100 different coating systems. The company’s engineered coatings are custom-designed to meet the performance criteria of customers’ fasteners, fuel and brake specifications and a range of other metal products by resisting the corrosive effects of heat, humidity, chemicals and bimetallic contact. Magni’s coatings also can improve surface characteristics such as lubricity, conductivity and color.
Magni’s Global Resources
In support of the company’s global customers and more than 100 applicators, Magni has 20 company-owned operations in North America, Japan, China, India, Europe and Brazil. To further support the Japanese and Indian markets, Magni will open new technology centers in both countries by 2012.
Moving from a humble beginning in Detroit to a global player occurred as a result of the vision of corporate management, the dedication of Magni researchers and the resourcefulness of the Magni sales force.
Working as a cross-function team structure gives Magni a tremendous advantage in developing and speeding products to market.
New Magni Coating Systems
The Magni Group’s relationship with its customer base is unique because Magni continually offers product improvements as industry regulations change. One of the significant areas for Magni coatings is the North American Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulation, which impacts all vehicles.
When cars need to achieve 20 to 40 miles per gallon, auto companies need lighter cars. Lighter cars require thinner gauge steel and thinner coatings. Magni produces coatings that are a few thousandths of an inch thick. The coatings not only offer less weight, but also improved corrosion resistance. Recent applications for these coating include vehicle engine cradles and chassis suspension control arms.
Another Magni program that is generating excitement is Magni’s recent development of a “one-coat” zinc-rich system.
This system meets all environmental regulations while offering superior corrosion protection in comparison to conventional electro-disposition zinc plating.
Since 1985, when the Magni Group had four companies, the business has rapidly expanded over the past quarter century with growth in six continents coupled with the recent incorporation of Magni India. Future expansion includes pursuing opportunities in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.
By combining new products with new markets, Dave Berry expects Magni’s steady growth rate to continue.
“We celebrated the production of our 10-millionth gallon with more than 400 global leaders and engineers at our Detroit facility, and that is great, but the pace is picking up,” he says. “We expect to start producing 1 million gallons each year very soon. I’m excited to see how far this company goes.”
10 Million Gallons Party
What started out as a simple party to commemorate The Magni Group’s 10-millionth gallon of coating product soon became a celebration of company pride and success for those in attendance. More than 400 guests from around the world gathered to commemorate this occasion. The event featured lavish food and even extravagant raffle prizes, but no one expected the many surprises.
The crowd clapped along with the Eastern Michigan University cheerleaders when the squad unexpectedly burst from Magni Industries’ doors with a surprise performance to Kool and the Gang’s song “Celebration.” Everyone, then, anxiously awaited the 10-millionth gallon of coating product coming off the on-site production line by counting down in true Times Square fashion. Confetti filled the tent, after everyone squeezed off shots from their six-round, celebratory popper pistols.
To put the icing on the cake, Detroit City Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins, Oakland County Deputy Executive Phil Bertolini and 13th District Michigan Congressman Hansen Clarke paid tribute with their special awards. Everyone also enjoyed a piece of the special four-tier, building-shaped cake.
Once the confetti settled, Magni Group’s President Tim Berry presented Dave Berry with a giant 3.5-foot-by-1-foot birthday card, signed by every employee from the 20 Magni facilities worldwide. Nearly 400 people signed the card that was printed with “Happy Birthday” in seven languages – English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Chinese. To round out the evening, Magni’s house band performed an outstanding one-hour set, live with guest appearances from fellow-Magni musicians. With all of the excitement, believe it or not, no one even noticed the rain.