Noel is a leader in manufacturing with extensive factory startup and operating experience, as well as service as a military officer. With 25-years running manufacturing facilities for industrial companies, Vela is Noel’s sixth plant startup, fifth machining company, and fourth gear-making business. Noel served as the Director of Operations at Northstar Aerospace’s Chicago facility (www.nsaero.com), a Wynnchurch Capital portfolio company, from 2014-2015, manufacturing high quality gears and transmissions for Boeing’s military aircraft programs. Noel was instrumental increasing shipments 21% in 2014 from $84 to $107 million in revenue by improving operations in less than one year.
In 2007, Noel was Chief Operating Officer and one of four shareholders of Brad Foote Gear Works (http://www.bwen.com/BradFoote_8679.aspx), a hundred-year-old gear manufacturing company, where he added a new facility doubling sales within one year to $90 million making large gear products for Oil & Gas and Wind Energy, with customers such as SPM Weir Oil & Gas, and GE Wind, enabling company’s sale to a Hedge Fund for $165 million. His team took the company public as Broadwind Energy (NASDAQ: BWEN) in early-2008. Prior to that in 2005, Noel was Vice President of Operations and one of three management stakeholders of Fairfield Manufacturing (http://www.oerlikon.com/fairfield/en/home/) another hundred-year-old gear company, where he improved company’s performance and sales to customers like General Electric (locomotives) and Joy Global (mining) enabling sale of company to Oerlikon AG for $265 million.
A 1982 graduate of U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, earning B.S. in Systems Engineering, Noel served six years active duty as a weapon officer aboard nuclear-powered submarines, then a project manager for Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington DC. In 1990 Noel earned an MBA from to University in Arlington VA. He continued his service in the reserves another eighteen years, in parallel to his career in the private sector running manufacturing companies. In 2003, he was recalled to active duty with rank of Commander, and deployed to Middle East as an Intelligence officer for the Invasion of Iraq. Commander Davis was awarded the Defense Service Commendation Medal for service in with the 9th Expeditionary Air Force in the Middle East, and retired in 2006. During Noel’s private sector career, he earned Lean Manufacturing certifications, including Six Sigma from the University of Tennessee.