SDMyers in Tallmadge to expand transformer services nationally, names new president

Jim Mackinnon
Akron Beacon Journal
David Hughes, a senior field service technician for SDMyers, is shown Thursday inside a transformer rig that is being prepped to travel from Tallmadge to a new "center of excellence" that the company is opening in West Sacramento, California.

SDMyers in Tallmadge, which services pricey industrial electrical transformers to extend their lives and make them more reliable, is undergoing a type of transformation itself.

The privately held company, which dates back more than 55 years and is run under Christian principles, is expanding into California. Soon it will begin renovating and modernizing its local corporate headquarters. And it just named a new president.

Jon Bucciarelli was promoted to president of SDMyers in Tallmadge.

Northeast Ohio native Jon Bucciarelli, 49, who joined SDMyers in 2018, was just promoted to president of the 200-employee company. He previously was vice president of operations there. He has a background in engineering, including chief engineer at bioplastics startup Algix, engineering and management positions for General Motors at Lordstown and Parma, and teaching at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in Cuyahoga Falls. 

He succeeds Dale Bissonnette, who leads Good Place Holdings, the not-for-profit holding company of SDMyers. Bissonnette will be chief executive officer, while spending most of his attention on Good Place Holdings.

"Our culture and business formula are key ingredients for our future success, which is built on our principles that have stood the test of time," Bissonette said in a news release.

SDMyers in Tallmadge plans to send this transformer rig Friday to its new "center of excellence" in West Sacramento, California.

The opening of the new California Center of Excellence is a significant step for SDMyers, Bucciarelli said.

"SDMyers is a national company," he said.

But having a physical presence in the West Coast, in this case West Sacramento,  is a bit part of the company's long-term growth plans, he said. The center will be for customers ranging as far south as San Diego to as far north as Seattle, he said.

"We have a lot of customers out there we do testing for, testing and diagnostics," Bucciarelli said.

SDMyers customers are in numerous industries, including manufacturing, paper, and refining, he said. The companies they work with typically have one to 15 transformers on site, with prices that can go into the millions of dollars.

When transformers fail, that can cost a company huge amounts of money in lost production time until either repairs or replacements are made, Bucciarelli said. SDMyers tests and diagnoses transformers and replace fluids and other parts before anything fails, he said.

The California center initially will have about eight employees plus technicians, he said. "And then we look to grow from there," he said.

Christian Hanz, a utility millwright at SDMyers, works on he transformer rig Thursday in Tallmadge. The rig will ship out Friday to West Sacramento, California.

Friday morning, a transformer test and diagnostics rig the size of a semi-trailer will begin the long drive to its new home in California, Bucciarelli said. The rig, retrofitted to be compliant with California law, will be used to test and treat industrial transformers on the West Coast, he said. SDMyers has similar rigs for its customers in the eastern half of the United States.

"We're getting ready to launch the rig," Bucciarelli said.

Besides Bucciarelli's promotion, SDMyers also announced other staff changes, with Jason Dennison becoming director of diagnostic and analytical services; Jon Karas to lab manager; and Brittany Ruehs to diagnostics manager.

Upcoming changes to the headquarters are aimed at helping attract and retain staff. Engineering work is nearing completion on a renovation of SDMyers headquarters at 180 South Ave., Bucciarelli said. About 140 to 150 of the company's 200 employees work there.

A vacuum pump inside the transformer rig that is being prepped to travel to California to a new "center of excellence" that SDMyers is opening in West Sacramento, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 in Tallmadge, Ohio.

Work is expected to begin in March and be completed no later than the end of September. The work will take place using the existing footprint, not an expansion, Bucciarelli said. The new design will include space that the community can use, he said.

"We want a place that attracts top talent," Bucciarelli said. That means having a design and workplace that lives up to their biblical values and being good community stewards, he said. 

"We want to stay at the forefront of being a market leader," Bucciarelli said.

Jim Mackinnon covers business. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.