December 15, 2017 | last updated December 15, 2017 1:17 pm
Five We Watched in 2017

Loree's first year as Stanley CEO included big deals, focus on innovation

Photo | HBJ File
Photo | HBJ File
Stanley Black & Decker CEO Jim Loree expanded his company's footprint nationally and in Connecticut in 2017, including announcing plans to open a Hartford manufacturing center.

Here is a look back at the five business, nonprofit and higher education leaders we watched in 2017.

Jim Loree's first full year as president and CEO of New Britain-based Stanley Black & Decker Inc. in 2017 was eventful.

Just five days into the new year, Stanley announced an agreement to buy the well-known Craftsman tools brand from Sears Holdings Corp. for roughly $900 million.

Asked in late 2016 about reports Stanley was interested in Craftsman, Loree acknowledged Craftsman being a great American tool brand "and in some ways we'd love to have that brand as part of our portfolio, but there are challenges associated with it that may or may not be insurmountable."

They were apparently surmountable. On March 9, Stanley announced the deal had been completed and began making the tools available in stores beyond Sears.

Most recently, Stanley added its torque to downtown Hartford's efforts to revitalize the city center, announcing plans on Dec. 5 to open an advanced manufacturing center downtown in the second quarter of 2018.

The 23,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence at One Constitution Plaza will employ about 50 industry professionals. Stanley also will partner with a startup accelerator, Techstars, to launch the Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator.

The center and accelerator are designed to accelerate what Stanley calls its "global industry 4.0 smart factory" initiative. Industry 4.0 is the "fourth industrial revolution" — the automation of manufacturing that includes the internet of things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics and advanced materials, the company said.

Stanley's accelerator will initially feature 10 additive manufacturing startups.

The so-called "Manufactory 4.0" dovetails off Loree's comments last year that Stanley was focused on "becoming one of the world's great innovators" to fuel future growth.

Along similar lines, Stanley in July announced the opening of a new innovation center in Boston dedicated to advancing technological innovation in the company's Stanley Security business.

A key component of Stanley's innovation push was the fall hiring of Mark Maybury to the newly created position of chief technology officer, in part to guide technological opportunities.

In August, Stanley announced the grand opening of a state-of-the-art makerspace workshop in Towson, Md.

Other 2017 accomplishments included completing Stanley's $1.95 billion acquisition of the Newell Brands tools business, acquiring the Irwin and Lenox brands to extend Stanley's reach into the plumbing and electrical trades and adding complementary products to its hand tool and power tool accessories businesses.

In August, Stanley announced the grand opening of its Stanley Security North America headquarters in Fishers, Ind. The $16 million, 80,000-square-foot facility consolidated 350 Stanley Security employees from various Greater Indianapolis locations.

In October, Stanley announced it would open a new manufacturing facility in Mission, Texas, signing a lease on a roughly 300,000-square-foot facility that will make DeWalt power tool products starting in early 2018.

In February, Stanley said it completed the $725 million sale of the majority of its mechanical security businesses, allowing it to redeploy that capital in more robust growth opportunities.

Investors apparently like what they've seen: Stanley's stock in early December was trading almost $50 a share higher than a year ago.

Read all Five We Watched profiles.

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