Wilmar Appoints ESAB Executive as CEO

Ken Hartman previously held posts at Stanley Black & Decker, Thermo King and Snap-On Tools.

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SEATTLE and KENT, Wash. — Wilmar LLC and Rainier Partners announced the appointment of Ken Hartman as chief executive officer.

Wilmar is a leading supplier, distributor, and category manager of tools and equipment to the automotive aftermarket and other industries. The company partnered with Rainier Partners in late 2021.

With over two decades of leadership experience in the tool and equipment industry, Hartman brings an impressive track record of business expansion through the development and execution of innovative growth strategies. Prior to joining Wilmar, Hartman served as vice president & general manager of ESAB, a world leader in the production of welding and cutting equipment and consumables. Before ESAB, Hartman held the title of president of Mac Tools at Stanley Black & Decker, vice president of aftermarket at Thermo King, and key leadership positions at Chief Automotive Technologies and Snap-On Tools.

“I discovered a passion for the industry at an early age, which has driven me through my career and led me to Wilmar,” said Hartman. “The Cantalini family has created a world-class business with an incredible product line, deep customer relationships, and powerful opportunities for market and geographic expansion. Not only am I excited to work alongside the incredible team at Wilmar, but also to work with Rainier as our partner to execute on our growth strategy.”

Founded in 1971, Wilmar has become one of the leading distributors of tools in North America, backed by a reputation for quality tools, stellar service, and innovative packaging and product support. The Cantalini family will continue to be actively involved with operations and management.

“Ken is a proven leader in the tool and equipment space, and his transformational leadership experience will be instrumental in identifying key growth opportunities while maintaining the culture and customer focus that makes Wilmar special,” said Rainier’s director of portfolio operations Dave Shephard. “We are thrilled to welcome him aboard and continue to partner with Wilmar as we take exciting steps into the new year.”

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