Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 37

Lionel LLC
South

www.lionel.com / HQ: Concord, N.C. / Howard Hitchcock, president: "When I look at products, I
am really very interested in how they are made and what the process is. That is my passion."

lionel launched a bluetooth
app - lionchief - allowing model
train enthusiasts to control
their trains via an ios device.

Right On Track

lionel rolls into the future with modern
features on its classic models. by chris kelsch
When Lionel LLC President Howard Hitchcock hopped aboard the
company in 2010, he already knew
something about the responsibility
that comes with working for beloved
brands. He began his career with Lenox China and then moved into the
world of collectibles with Waterford
Crystal and the Hamilton Collection,
known for its figurines.
Hitchcock was even part of the
Waterford team that was tasked with
creating the Waterford Crystal New
Year's Eve Ball, which was dropped in
Times Square in 2000 to ring in the
new millennium.
"When I look at products, I am really very interested in how they are

made and what the process is," Hitchcock says. "That is my passion."
He discovered his passion while
interning with Johnson & Johnson in
the 1990s. He was working in the consumer products development labs,
and on the Reach toothbrush, in particular. "There was a restaging of the
brand," Hitchcock recalls. "We were
experimenting with different molds
and colors, but the manufacturing aspect was super interesting to me."
As he got deeper into the product,
he discovered his passion. "The process was so interesting to me," he recalls. "I was really fascinated with the
manufacturing aspect and learning
how to bring a product to life."

117 Years Young
Since becoming president of Lionel
in 2014, Hitchcock has used many of
the tools he picked up throughout his
career. One of the most important of
those is learning to understand consumer behavior. "That has really been
some of my best training," Hitchcock
says. "And how important and nuanced it can be."
When he joined the company in
2010 he was working on the NASCAR
die cast collectibles division, known
as Lionel Racing. Eventually, he was
appointed to oversee both the train
and NASCAR sides, and he became
president in 2014.
As president, Hitchcock found himself in a unique spot. The company
was 114 years old and truly loved by
model train enthusiasts everywhere.
Yet, if it was going to thrive and have
a successful future, modernizing adjustments had to be made.
"In many ways, a lot has changed
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 manufacturing-today.com

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 3
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Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover3
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