M&G DuraVent announces John Jacklich’s retirement

Vacaville, Calif. – John Jacklich will be retiring from M&G DuraVent. He has been with the company for 56 years in many respected positions, including president.

M&G DuraVent has deep appreciation of John’s efforts and achievements. He and his contributions will be missed.

John Jacklich's history with DuraVent

In 1956, the Peerless Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer of wall furnaces, unit heaters and room heaters, entered the venting business. The company hired Alex Boutacoff, an engineer from General Electric, to be the new general manager. As a result, the DuraVent Corporation, a subsidiary of Peerless Manufacturing, was founded in a garage in Redwood City, California.

In 1957, Peerless Manufacturing moved into a small manufacturing facility, consisting of two surplus steel buildings located in Redwood City. A few weeks later the first DuraVent gas vent pipe, in round sizes of 3” through 12,” started to come off the production line. Factory representatives and manufacturer agents who sold this line also sold the Peerless line of gas heaters. This was DuraVent’s introduction into the marketplace.

Jacklich joined DuraVent for his first job in R&D and developed the chimney line. In 1958, DuraVent expanded the product lines, adding 14” through 30” round commercial vent products, introduced 4” and 5” oval gas vent, and developed a triple-wall, factory built chimney product line for oil fired boilers, furnaces, metal rain gutters and down spouts.

In 1962, Jacklich became a salesman for DuraVent’s northwest territory. DuraVent expanded its sales to all 50 states and added freestanding and zero clearance fireplaces. During this era the Peerless Manufacturing Company and DuraVent were separated and DuraVent became a subsidiary of the Dover Corporation.

By 1966, Boutacoff had become the president of DuraVent. With the desire to no longer be a subsidiary of another company, he and the employees of DuraVent purchased the company in April 1966. From 1962 to 1967, Jacklich moved to sales in Washington, Kentucky, New Jersey and then back to California.

After returning to California, Jacklich and partners left DuraVent in 1968 and formed Royal MFG. Then, in 1969 George Bissell merged Royal into DuraVent. At that time Jacklich become president of DuraVent. Between 1966 and 1972 DuraVent became deeply involved in developing its new product line, modular housing. This concept appeared to have great potential to meet the need for low-income housing, but unfortunately it turned into a heavy financial drain on the company and was eventually sold at a considerable loss.

During the 1970s, DuraVent focused its efforts in the wood burning industry. Several new product lines were developed including single-wall (Black Pipe), and double wall (DVL), as well as the first metal relining system for masonry chimneys (Renew-a-Flue). When the energy crisis hit in the late 70’s and wood stoves became popular, DuraVent enjoyed a tremendous growth in sales and opened another factory location in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Unfortunately, the wood stove fad ended with the energy crisis, leaving DuraVent with bulging inventories of raw materials and finished goods, several warehouses and declining sales. In November 1981 DuraVent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At this time George Bissell left DuraVent.

In April 1982, Jacklich contacted Simpson Manufacturing Company who purchased DuraVent out of bankruptcy, and began an intensive and complete rebuilding program to turn the company around and back into an industry leader.

In 1984 the old Redwood City facility was moved into a modern newly constructed plant Vacaville, California. Key management positions in sales and marketing, finance, and plant management were filled with professionals as the transformation of DuraVent was underway, and John Jacklich took over R&D. Manual systems in finance and customer service were soon computerized and a new CAD system came online in R&D. Production lines were automated, and new tooling and machinery was brought online to improve quality and dependability.

Between 1985 and 1990, Jacklich completed the upgrade and redesign to achieve the leadership position in the industry. New product lines were introduced with patented features that captured the attention of the industry. Lines included DuraPlus chimney, DuraLiner for relining masonry chimneys, Pellet vent for the new Pellet stoves, and DuraConnect for quick installation for venting gas appliance.

In 1993 DuraVent introduced Direct Vent for the gas stove/fireplace market at a time when there was little or no competition; a position the company works to maintain. Through OEM relationships with certain stove manufacturers and through its gas vent distribution network, Direct Vent has skyrocketed to the #2 product line for DuraVent. It has also been one of the most challenging due to the increased need for the new items, as gas stoves and fireplaces gradually take the market share from the wood burning industry.

The last few years Jacklich has worked on the new products, and helped to redesign old ones. He’s has had a successful life at DuraVent and extends many thanks to the people he has worked with. He is now relaxing and enjoying his well-deserved retirement.

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