Expecting increases in capital spending, Minneapolis-based Despatch Industries has developed plans to take advantage of market shifts. The century-old thermal-equipment maker with more than $30 million in annual sales says it has identified the following trends:

  • Requirements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will push pharmaceutical, medical-device and biotechnology firms to upgrade their processes by purchasing new high-tech equipment or update existing equipment.

  • Increases in wireless imaging with cell-phone cameras will change how the phones are both manufactured and tested.

  • Requirements for smarter car tires will demand new equipment. By 2006, all cars in the U.S. must come equipped with a tire-sensor monitor to alert the driver to a significantly deflated tire.

  • More dollars are being invested in upgrades to auto manufacturers' testing facilities.

To match these trends, Despatch has made four appointments to its management team:

  • Brian Bunkenburg, custom product manager, will handle the overall strategy, marketing and profitability of Despatch's custom products business portfolio. Formerly a systems engineer with Motorola, he also will be accountable for customer satisfaction areas such as on-time delivery and product quality.

  • Sanja Wallace, standard product manager, will be responsible for the performance of Despatch's standard products business portfolio, overseeing product definition and development efforts. She previously was a product manager at Datacard Corp.

  • Vince Herda, engineering manager, will oversee all engineering operations and projects. He most recently had the same role at Deltak, a manufacturer of steam generators.

  • Marnie Vasquez, strategic marketing manager, came from Martin/Williams, a branding and marketing agency. She will lead efforts to grow Despatch's visibility and awareness for its brands and products. Vasquez also will manage day-to-day marketing and communications.

“The addition of these bright, passionate people to the Despatch team is a direct response to the market momentum the company has enjoyed in the past 12 months,” said Patrick Peyton, Despatch's chairman and CEO. “With capital spending on the rise, especially in key segments like semiconductor, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing, Despatch is well positioned.”