WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL – MacNeill Engineering Worldwide has come a long way since Harris MacNeill’s father and grandfather started the company in their basement 85 years ago in the middle of the Great Depression. The athletic and industrial footwear traction technology manufacturer got its big break in the golf business, and today operates around the world. The Marlborough company, branded as CHAMP, recently made headlines as the cleat supplier for 85 percent of soccer competitors and for athletes in other sports at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
MacNeill, now president and CEO of the company, spoke about the company’s extensive presence abroad, long-term plans and partnerships with colleges and universities that ensure a steady stream of talent.
What does your company make?
MacNeill Engineering Worldwide is the world’s foremost and largest designer and manufacturer of innovative traction technology for athletic and industrial footwear. CHAMP is our brand, and in addition we also private label for many of the most recognized sports brands in the world.
Which markets do you serve?
We serve the footwear industry by designing, developing and manufacturing traction solutions for many of the major brands in both the sporting goods and industrial footwear markets — for example — fishing boot spikes, ice safety and logging spikes. In addition to creating spikes for the dominant global brands in football, soccer, golf, baseball, cricket and rugby, we also offer a complete CHAMP line of golf spikes, tees, grips and accessories, which are distributed worldwide and preferred by many PGA Tour professionals.
What are your long-term plans?
Our long-term plans are to continue to grow both our golf and non-golf businesses through innovative engineering. The major footwear brands recognize us as innovative solutionists, and we look forward to continuing to grow those relationships as footwear becomes more and more technical and our expertise is called on to help take footwear traction to the next level. With our line of golf products, we are connected globally and monitor trends and needs in the marketplace, which helps us to develop new game-improving products for amateurs and professionals alike.
How do you ensure quality?
We ensure quality through a number of well-defined technical processes and procedures that are executed on a daily basis by members of our staff all over the globe. Our quality assurance programs are geared toward continuous improvements and include quality audits and product validation that is done on a daily basis in our own labs at the factory level to ensure that we are constantly and consistently delivering products that meet the high standards our customers expect from CHAMP.
What are your international operations like?
It is important to us, and our customers, that a trusted member of the CHAMP/MacNeill Engineering team can be present for development meetings, prototyping or if a problem arises in the middle of a production run for any one of our customers regardless of size. In order to provide this level of service, we realized that we needed to establish a global network. We are headquartered in Marlborough with locations in England, Japan, Hong Kong and China. We have an extensive presence in the Asia markets because we work so closely with the major footwear brands and their factories.
How do you recruit new employees?
We are constantly looking for new talent to add value to our global team. We have a global presence which helps make identifying top talent in a region pretty easy for us. We also have relationships with several universities to have co-ops and interns work with us. Those programs have proven to be good recruiting tools for us as the students get to develop their technical skills, and we get to work with them for several months and teach them all about what it is we do at CHAMP.
This interview originally appeared here.