By John Brown
The NFATCA Welcomes LWRCI & Heckler & Koch USA to the NFATCA Board of Directors
Many of you have heard me discuss the issue of adding board members of such stature and importance to our industry that we are better able to increase the strength of our voice and the depth of our experience in dealing with industry issues across the spectrum of firearms regulatory affairs. That issue is rapidly becoming a reality with the invitation and acceptance of two major firearms manufacturers. In this issue we will welcome the addition of Darren Mellors, Executive Vice President of LWRCI in Cambridge, Maryland and also welcome Wayne Weber, President of Heckler & Koch, USA in Ashburn, Virginia. Both gentlemen joined the board in the summer of this year and are a welcome addition to the depth of our organization. Presently, the NFATCA is also working to welcome other major industry representatives to our board, once again to kick the organization up a notch in contributing to the level of experience that we bring to the industry and to beef up the level of work that we continue to take on with government regulatory organizations within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Having representatives from such large manufacturers will serve to strengthen our position of negotiation on all fronts.
It is appropriate to share the background and experience of our newest NFATCA Board Members:
Mr. Darren Mellors LWRCI
Mr. Mellors graduated from the Canadian Forces School of Electrical Mechanical Engineering in 1991 (Weapons – Land). Previous to that he was an Infantry SAW gunner in a Mechanized Infantry Unit in the Canadian Armed Forces. After five years in the Canadian Forces, Mr. Mellors attended College at Ontario University (Durham College) graduating with President’s and College Honors, with a Health Sciences degree. He moved to San Antonio, Texas and after many years working in level 1 and 2 Emergency/Trauma centers, he managed a Level 2 Trauma/Emergency Department at a large San Antonio Health System Hospital.
Concurrently, Mr. Mellors started Grenadier Precision Ltd. Co. along with Jesse Gomez. Grenadier Precision, Ltd. Co. was a small business that designed and manufactured small arms and accessories for small arms that solved issues with conventional weapons and greatly added capability and reliability to the individual weapons employed by the Warfighter. The demands of this business required he commit to it full time to pursue company growth. After a short time, LWRC, Inc. in Springfield, Virginia, acquired Grenadier Precision (early 2006) and Mr. Mellors took on the position as VP of Business Development at LWRC.
In 2008, Mr. Richard Bernstein, who was the founder and owner of K&L Microwave, Lorch Microwave, BAI Aerosystems, Salisbury Pewter, and Machining Technologies purchased the assets of LWRC, Inc. With the acquisition of assets, LWRC, Inc. was closed and a new company formed in Cambridge, Maryland called LWRC International, LLC. Mr. Mellors was charged with setting up LWRC International in a vacant facility that formerly housed Black and Decker’s plastic injection molding operations. He started by hiring a staff of local employees and began to build the infrastructure of what is now LWRC International. He wrote the original policies and procedures and the company was certified and registered ISO 9001 and AS 9100 by Lloyd’s Registrars.
In the first 12 months of operations, LWRCI brought $20 million dollars in revenue. Profits were put back into the company organically growing his sales departments, building regulatory compliance programs, and personally pursing government and international sales opportunities. He accomplished this with an annual marketing budget of only $120,000 and a sparse operating budget. Due to the budgetary restraints, Mr. Mellors not only had to plan and supervise operations, but was also required to do much of the work and employee training himself. The following two years yielded similar revenue numbers to the first two years.
By LWRCI’s fourth year in business, Mr. Mellors and his team had increased the sales backlog to $140 million dollars. He personally supervised and serviced 29 Government contracts. Projected revenue for 2012 is $60 million dollars. He was directly engaged in the capture, negotiation, and signed the contract awarding a $109 million dollars for supply of small arms, accessories, services and support equipment to the Government of Saudi Arabia. Other international contracts include orders in Taiwan, the Czech Republic, the U.A.E., and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Mr. Mellors spent over 90 days out of the country in the pursuit and servicing of these international contracts. Concurrently, Mr. Mellors developed a Government and International Sales team, a Law Enforcement Sales Team, and a Commercial Sales team and increased the distribution networks for all of these market segments.
Mr. Wayne Weber Heckler & Koch USA
The history and prominence of Heckler and Koch is likely no hidden achievement to the majority of the NFA community. Wayne Weber has been an integral part of HK’s success in the United States and his enthusiasm is hard to miss. A twenty-five year veteran of the firearms industry, Wayne joined HK as a government sales rep in 1993 and has since worked his way up through various sales positions, handling significant federal/military programs, ultimately being appointed President in 2008. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of the U.S. business, which is based in Ashburn, Virginia with facilities in Columbus, Georgia and Newington, New Hampshire.
Prior to joining HK, Wayne spent seven years in the U.S. Air Force as a Combat Arms Specialist, conducting training on the complete spectrum of firearms ranging from the 9mm pistol to the belt-fed 40mm Grenade Machine Gun. In his spare time, he was very involved in competitive shooting and worked as a rangemaster for one of the largest indoor shooting ranges on the west coast.
In addition to Mr. Mellors and Mr. Weber joining the new board, we will announce new additions in the coming months. The existing board will continue to drive NFATCA policy and provide guidance to the new board members in working issues critical to success in the industry working with our regulatory agencies.
I will continue to serve as the NFATCA President and existing board members will work with me diligently to provide direction on all issues. Current plans are to have Wayne and Darren both make public appearances and take a more active role in all of the regulatory issues.
Please join me in welcoming both Mr. Mellors and Mr. Weber as the newest members of the NFATCA Board of Directors. There are some exciting times coming for us in 2013 and 2014 and the new board will be at the forefront of our movements. Please visit us at our web site for daily updates and changes as we move forward. www.nfatca.org.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V18N1 (February 2014)|