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Changes made in top leadership of Rochester's Crenlo

John Lenga, who is also the company’s chief financial officer, stepped into the role of CEO of Rochester's Crenlo Engineered Cabs on Friday.

John Lenga, Crenlo CEO
John Lenga (Contributed)
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A Med City manufacturer has a new CEO, its second in 15 months.

John Lenga, who is also the company’s chief financial officer, stepped into the role of CEO of Rochester's Crenlo Engineered Cabs on Friday. He replaced Matthew Karmel , who was an operating partner at Greenwich, Conn.-based Atlas Holdings prior to joining Crenlo.

Both executives were hired in April 2020.

Crenlo, which employs almost 500 people, is in the process of closing one of three Rochester facilities. The company makes cabs for heavy equipment, as well as consoles to protect and store electronic equipment. The enclosures are made by a separate Emcor Enclosures brand.

California-based Angeles Equity Partners purchased Crenlo plus Emcor in November 2020.


Crenlo spokesman Trent Waterhouse described the CEO change as “a planned transition.”

“Mr. Karmel joined Crenlo just after the pandemic’s start in April 2020 with a mandate to navigate the unprecedented uncertainty of the COVID-19 market conditions based on his proven track record of leading industrial companies through challenging circumstances,” Waterhouse stated in response to questions about Karmel’s departure. “Through his efforts and initiatives over the past 15 months, Crenlo has emerged from the pandemic a much stronger business.”

Employees say that Karmel led a companywide meeting last week announcing positive action throughout Crenlo. He did not mention his departure during the meeting.

“I would like to wish Mr. Karmel well in his future endeavors. And I look forward to working with Mr. Lenga as we move forward to create a good work environment and a successful business long term," Troy Arnold, U.A.W. Local 2125 president and Crenlo machine operator, said in response to the change.

This is the latest action at the 70-year-old Rochester business.

Matthew Karmel, CEO of Rochester's Crenlo
Matthew Karmel, CEO of Rochester's Crenlo.

Crenlo sold its cab-making plant at 2501 Valleyhigh Drive NW for $21.5 million on June 29. As part of the deal, Crenlo agreed to lease it back for 200 months, or more than 16 years.


That’s the plant that Crenlo recently announced will expand a new paint line.

The City of Rochester, the State of Minnesota, Rochester Economic Development Inc. and Rochester Public Utilities put together a $1.25 million incentive package in April to convince Crenlo to remain in Rochester and retain at least 336 jobs for five years. The package includes a pair of forgivable loans — $300,000 from Rochester’s Economic Development Fund and $450,000 from the state's Minnesota Investment Fund.

That package was put together after Crenlo threatened to leave Rochester and told employees that there was an offer to buy Plant #2, the Valleyhigh facility.

Crenlo was founded in Rochester in 1951 by R.R. Cresswell, John Enblom and W.W. Lowther. The company's name is an amalgam of the first two letters of the last names of the three men who started it.

After decades of local ownership, it was sold to publicly owned Dover Diversified Inc. in 1999. In 2011, it was purchased by New York-based KPS Capital Partners. Angeles Equity purchased Crenlo from KPS.

Crenlo in Rochester.

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