There’s a sibling bond at the helm of Click Bond, the rivet-less fastening systems business in Carson City.
Karl Hutter and his sister, Kate Hutter Mason, have taken executive leadership and operations of the company founded by their parents, Charlie and Collie Hutter, nearly 30 years ago.
Karl, who previously served five years as vice president of sales and chief operating officer, is the company’s new president, treasurer and CEO. Kate has been named corporate secretary and will continue in her role as director of corporate communications.
“It’s an incredible honor and an incredible responsibility,” said Karl of the changing of the guard. “They have created a tremendous foundation and our legacy is to keep the bar high,” he said of his mom and dad during a phone interview from Fort Worth, Texas, prior to meeting with Lockheed representatives regarding the F-35 aircraft fighter program.
The company, one of Carson City’s largest private employers, serves the aerospace and transportation industries. Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed and Northrop Grumman have been Click Bond customers.
Karl, who moved to Carson City when he was three years old, has been part of the operation for years.
“It’s been a very easy transition, especially since Kate and I grew up in the business,” said Karl, who holds degrees in systems engineering as well as applied science and operations management.
Charlie and Collie aren’t entirely leaving the enterprise. They will continue with Click Bond has inventor and chairman of the board, respectively.
Karl said it’s a shared responsibility to run the corporation, which employs about 325 people in Carson City.
“We honor the work our parents did to establish the company and will endeavor to be wise custodians of the company’s legacy while sustaining a vision for the future,” Karl said.
Before taking on a greater role with Click Bond, Kate worked for years as a dancer and choreographer, serving as the artistic director of the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company.
Click Bond, which also has offices in Watertown, Connecticut and Saltney, Wales, offers a range of fastening systems for airplanes, other transport vehicles or surfaces requiring mechanical/adhesive bonding.
Very few products today are made without adhesives, said Karl. They’ve supplanted or complement rivets in the construction of airplanes and automobiles and fostered the growth of consumer and factory electronics by holding chips and other components in place.
“We are displacing old ways of doing things,” he said of the product line. Bonding with adhesives is the new welding, he added.
Click Bond, he said, has a great outlook in the markets and industries it serves. With an aging commercial aircraft fleet due for replacement, the company is looking to capitalize on this fact by supplying product to aerospace customers.
Karl has helped the company establish an Asia Pacific presence, growing business in China and Japan. “Around 25 percent of our sales (now) are international,” he said.
Closer to home, Tesla is a customer of Click Bond and Karl is looking at supplying product and services once the business builds its battery factory in northern Nevada, which should add to Click Bond’s regional workforce.
More growth is on the horizon, Karl added, pointing to the opportunities for the company in the potentially lucrative unmanned aerial vehicles arena, also known as drones. “That is one industry we certainly have customers in and we hope to do more in time,” he noted.
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