Wages, benefits bolstered at Chilton’s AFR
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
American Finishing Resources employees James Franzen (left) and Glenn Mueller review some production data at the company’s Chilton facility.

Like many manufacturers in northeast Wisconsin, business is good at American Finishing Resources in Chilton.

And like many other businesses, AFR is in need of good, new employees to continue to fuel the growth of recent years and that which is projected in the future.

Giving American Finishing Resources an edge over others, however, is the fact that its acquisition last year by another company has significantly improved wages and benefits, including health insurance, a generous 401(k) match, and one of the best vacation packages in the region, for both existing and future employees.

It was announced on Nov. 7 that American Finishing Resources—which also has facilities in Eldridge, Iowa and Shelbyville, Ind.—was acquired by Du-Bois Chemicals of Sharonville, Ohio.

Unlike some business acquisitions which work to the detriment of the company being acquired, this transaction has meant nothing but positives for American Finishing Resources and its employees, according to AFR President Matt Kirchner.

Strength in numbers

AFR had employed about 85 people between its three facilities, including about 50 in Chilton alone. DuBois Chemicals, meanwhile, now has about 800 employees. As a larger company, it has been able to negotiate lower health insurance premiums but improved coverage for all its employees. AFR employees also have seen their 401K benefits increase, and the average employee saw an increase of five paid days off per year.

Roxanne Swanson, who works in Human Resources at American Finishing Resources, also said the starting wage is more attractive than ever as is the shift premium for second-shift workers.

“We were looking for the right partner in the business,” Kirchner said, adding that they found it in DuBois. The acquisition combines DuBois paint pretreatment expertise with AFR’s coating line fixtures, material handling and coating removal solutions to reduce total cost and provide quality improvements for customers. The AFR acquisition expanded the service, chemical solutions and lean manufacturing capabilities that DuBois and AFR currently provide to customers.

Jeff Welsh, CEO of DuBois Chemicals, said, “AFR services premier U. S. manufacturers in the transportation, agricultural, consumer products, appliance, telecommunications, lawn and garden and surface finishing industries. With the talents, products and services of

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