Erdman Automation Corp. has a new owner. President Morgan Donohue now owns and leads the Princeton, Minnesota-based equipment and machinery supplier.

Donohue acquired the business from Rodney Erdman, who founded the company 30 years ago. Donohue has worked alongside Erdman for more than 25 years. Officials say he has been pivotal to the company’s success, holding numerous machine patents.

According to Donohue, the move was in motion for some time.

“Rodney originally talked about me buying the business as far back as 15 years ago,” he says. “We laid the basic outline around a decade ago. For the last 10 years, we’ve been slowly working our way toward it. I purchased a minority share in the company around three years ago. We then signed the papers on December 7 to be effective January 1.”

The original Erdman Automation Corp. team at former owner Rodney Erdman’s retirement celebration. Pictured are: Larry Berning, new owner Morgan Donohue, Rodney Erdman, Erin Erdman and Dale Hatch.

Donohue says that with more than two decades of experience at Erdman, he is well-positioned to lead the company. He explains that his relationships with customers and ability to see the long-term picture will help mitigate any bumps in the road due to short-term challenges.

“There’s more responsibility, sure,” he says. “But I’ve had a lot of responsibility in the corporation for the last 10 years. Day-to-day, it’s not a lot different. I feel a greater responsibility to the employees, suppliers and customers.”

Now that he holds the reins, Donohue says he is slowly shaping the vision for the company. He explains that he is in the middle of piecing together a five-year plan with thoughts of where he wants the company to be in 10 years.

That vision includes tapping into “correlated” markets to expand Erdman’s product offerings. Donohue says the company has had success in the past, branching off into different sectors.

“What that means is that we started with clamps, then moved into insulating glass and then a bit of commercial assembly and glazing,” he says. “Screens then came along. We pride ourselves on our product offerings. Anything we have done is not to offer just one product in different market segments, but to offer multiple products for different production levels.”

To achieve an increased level of throughput, Erdman will have to expand. It expanded operations in 2023 with a new 50,000-square-foot facility that added more production capabilities and automated equipment. Donohue says that by the end of 2024, the company should have a roadmap for the future. This includes more space and capabilities.

“Rodney has laid a terrific foundation for our success,” says Donohue. “It is an awesome responsibility to take what he has built and continue it. I will do everything in my power to be a good steward of the company so I can pass it on to the next generation as healthy as he has passed it to me. The team, culture and structure he has built is so good, honestly, I just need to ensure we stay on the same path.”

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