Thursday, March 9, 2017

What’s Happening At the “New” Excel - An Interview with Andrew Strocko

We’ve all been waiting to hear some news about what is really going on at the former IBS owned Excel Homes factory in Liverpool, PA since it was acquired by Champion Homes, one of the largest manufactured and modular home companies in the US.
The wait is over. In one of the first interviews given by Champion concerning the Excel factory, I had an opportunity to talk with Andrew Strocko, Director of Sales for the new Champion Excel plant.
Excel's Bainbridge (1).jpg
Being a former employee of both Champion and Excel, I was anxious to hear what Andrew had to say about what is happening to the newest member of the Champion family.
Andrew, thank you for taking time to talk with me about the ‘new’ Excel. Let’s jump right in.
Since Excel was sold to Champion Homes after the IBS bankruptcy a lot of people have been waiting to see just how Champion will build modular homes for the East Coast market. Are you up to the challenge?
Andrew Strocko:
Champion leadership has instructed our team to build the business on the foundation of Excel Home’s product quality standard and sales support process.
Champion has formed a new division specializing in custom modular construction called Champion Modular Inc. The first Brand to market is Excel. We can assure you that our team is up to the challenge and committed to building on the rich tradition of the Excel brand.
Having worked for both “Excels”, what do you see Champion bringing to the table?
Stability is the key factor Champion brings to the table. The stability begins with strong leadership, ethical operating principles, and a wealth of support that allows us to focus on the customer experience.
Is it true that a lot of the talented people that worked for Excel prior to Champion have returned?
It is true. The team we assembled are over 95% former Excel employees across all departments. The tradition of quality begins with this core nucleus of talented modular home craftsman that have enjoyed decades of experience at this facility.
I talked to a builder in New England that received one of the first homes produced by Champion in the former Excel Liverpool plant and he told me it was darn near perfect. That’s high praise. Are you surprised to hear that?
I am very pleased to hear this report but not surprised with the results. Each employee at Liverpool is focused on providing our customers with the very best buying experience in our industry. The support we get from senior leadership has personally inspired our team to raise the bar of excellence in every phase of the process.
Champion is a very successful company. Are they investing a lot of capital into the Liverpool plant?
Yes. Champion is the first in a long list of owners that invested a large amount of capital up front in order to improve safety, make working conditions more desirable, and update many of the fixtures and tools used by the employees. 
Our first 8 production floors were a brand new office building to house our engineering, order processing, sales, and financial staff.  
Also, training is a key initiative at all Champion locations, so a tremendous investment has been directed toward education and continuous improvement for our team.
The former Excel was known for building just about anything a builder’s customer could dream up. Is the new Excel following in their footsteps?
Champion Modular is being built from the cornerstone of all the greatness that was Excel Homes.  
After building our office building we launched into producing homes for our core single family customers. Among these first homes was an 8 box custom ranch with vaulted ceilings and all the design characteristics Excel has been known for all through the years. We followed that up with a 3 story home coastal home that included hip roofs, splay ceilings and steel flitch plate span beams. 
It is easy to say that from a custom design perspective, we picked up right were we left off. A good cross section of custom modular products produced this year confirms our commitments to provide a quality solution for all customer’s dream homes.

Champion took its time reopening the Liverpool factory. They also acquired All American, Keiser and Mod-U-Kraf. Is Champion working to reopen some of them?
Our plan is to reopen the plants as market conditions allow. We are not under pressure from ownership to open the plants but rather to build a long lasting company utilizing good solid operating principles.
I want to say "Welcome Back" to everyone at Champion Excel. Are your former builders welcoming the 'new' Excel as well?
Thank you Gary! We are glad to have this opportunity to restart a company that has had such a long history in this industry. Our builders have been very supportive and are welcoming us back as well. We are very fortunate to be associated with our industries best builder talent. I can speak for all of the employees at Liverpool when I say Thank You to all of our builders!

Contact Andrew Strocko to learn more about becoming an Excel builder.


Builder Bob said...

Nice to hear that Excel is finally back in good hands. Very nice article.

William aka "Little Bill" said...

Good interview Coach. I am excited to here the old "Excel" is up and running and producing a good product once again. Good luck to everyone at Champion/Excel!!!

Phil Hickman said...

Great interview. The employees and staff that have been with Excel are a class act, dedicated and take particular pride in everything they do.
Capitalized properly the Liverpool facility can and will be the standard by which other modular companies are measured.