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Emerald EMS CEO Interview with CEO Hartmut Liebel

Headquartered in Salem, NH, Emerald EMS is an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider specializing in high-mix, assembly, engineering, design, prototyping, testing, and lifecycle support services for high-reliability original equipment manufacturers across a range of end markets. The company services customers in the semiconductor equipment, industrial controls, utility infrastructure, renewable energy, aerospace, defense, and life science industries out of seven facilities across the United States and one in China. We recently spoke with CEO Hartmut Liebel to find out more about the company from its beginnings and to see where the company will go in the future.

Hartmut, for readers who may be unfamiliar with Emerald EMS, can you please tell them a little about what the company does?

Yes, certainly. We are electronics manufacturing specialists in high-mix assemblies for high-reliability and mission-critical products in high-tech industries. Emerald has eight facilities with seven domestic sites, including dedicated NPI locations with an offshore footprint in China.

We provide custom solutions for even the most challenging projects by leveraging our global footprint, technology-extensive capabilities, and people-centric approach.

How long have you been with the company? What is your background?

I’ve been in the industry for 20+ years. I initially joined Emerald as a Board Member and served in this position for about two years. Last year, in 2022, I was appointed as CEO. Since then, working closely with the quality-focused and people-centric team that forms Emerald has been an absolute pleasure.

We understand Emerald EMS was founded with the merge of DataEd and Bestronics in 2019? Then at the end of 2020, Saline Lectronics and Veris joined the company’s umbrella?

Yes, that is correct. It has been incredible being able to merge so much talent.

Do each of the four companies bring a different specialty to the company? How does this set your services apart from competition?

Our sites are complementary of each other – each having broad capabilities, collectively providing a comprehensive solution for our customers. The diverse expertise allows us to evaluate every facet of even the most complex assemblies.

A significant differentiator, internally and from our competition, is in our NPI capabilities, which are explicitly structured for quick-turn and prototype assemblies. Other benefits of our locations being complimentary are scalability and the reassured security of business continuity.

However, we are most proud of our customer service and being a people-centric company. We have developed high intimacy and trust with each of our customers. Despite our growing geographical footprint, we maintain strong local relationships with our customers and provide quick solutions by decentralizing decision-making to the site level. That is what truly sets us apart from the competition.

Do you anticipate adding additional companies to the fold? If so, will they be companies located outside the United States to continue expanding your global reputation?

Yes, to both. We are always looking for opportunities that will allow us to better serve our customers. One example is offering more solutions outside the US, particularly in Mexico and Southeast Asia.

In particular, family-run businesses and closely held private firms find our entrepreneurial company very attractive. It is important to find the right fit. Emerald came together so well because of each entity’s similar values and customer-centric mindset.

Speaking of mergers and acquisitions, we read that Emerald EMS was acquired by Crestview Partners in 2022. What benefit does that bring to Emerald EMS? To its customers?

That is correct. The acquisition by Crestview Partners has provided us with stronger financial backing to continue to invest in the capabilities and technology to help our customers succeed.

Emerald EMS also has a reputation for valuing its people, performance, and technology. How does this focus help the company be successfuland provide the strongest solutions possible?

A company is only as strong as its people. Therefore, we strive to empower every employee by providing them the opportunities to grow and showing them how their work contributes to the greater picture.

Continuous improvement is key, so we are consistently optimizing our processes to ensure the highest quality level. We also evaluate technologies that allow us to reduce lead times and touchpoints—translating to faster deliveries and eliminating variations.

Is there anything else the industry should know about Emerald EMS?

We covered most of it. The key takeaway is our customer focus. We value our long-standing relationships with our partners and will continue to make decisions to improve our technical capabilities with our customers’ goals and success in mind.