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UGN names new chief operating officer

UGN named a new chief executive officer.

Tinley Park-based auto parts supplier UGN, which has a plant in Valparaiso, named Donald Nelson its new chief operating officer.

He's a manufacturing veteran who has worked in senior positions in both the automotive and aerospace sectors, including as head of global operations for a $200 million publicly traded company.

“Donald Nelson is a proven lean manufacturing leader who has a history of instituting game-changing sales and operations processes,” UGN President and CEO Peter Anthony said.

Nelson has experience implementing lean transformation and change management principles.

“The lean manufacturing methodology is a best practice in automotive manufacturing circles,” Anthony said. “It’s always been crucial to our success at UGN, and Donald’s expertise and dedication to lean tactics is just one of the many reasons we’re happy to have him aboard.”

UGN, a 32-year-old automotive supplier with operations across the United States and Mexico, brings in $415 million in revenue. Since 1997, it's made carpet systems, dash insulators, die-cut insulators, engine side parts, resinated line production, seat belt protectors, truck systems, wheelhouse liners and other products in Valparaiso.

The company employs around 330 workers in Valparaiso, and moved its research and development facility there in 2016.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.