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Upchurch Scientific sold to Denver firm

"Upchurch Scientific, one of the largest private employers on Whidbey Island, was recently purchased by a Denver-based investment company for an undisclosed amount of cash.But the deal is not expected to have any immediate effect on either the day-to-day operation or the management of the Oak Harbor-company.In fact, Upchurch marketing director Mark Kincy said that as part of the deal the company's eight managers will also own a certain percentage of the company.There's no changes, Upchurch President Alan Schell said. We're just cruising along.Kincy said that KRG Capital Partners, a limited liability corporation, purchased the 100-employee company from founder Paul Upchurch purely as an investment. KRG's modus operandi is to invest in companies with a history of profitability and with strong growth prospects.Upchurch certainly fits the bill. Kincy said the company is currently in the midst of its strongest year ever, both in terms of customer growth and raw profit. But since Upchurch is a private company, Kincy said he cannot release budget numbers.Kincy said KRG is not the type of investment firm that tears companies apart, but is interested in keeping the managers happy and together. There are no plans to ever move Upchurch.While Upchurch Scientific is a well-known name in Oak Harbor, few people have a clear idea about what exactly goes on inside the company's campus of seven buildings off Goldie Road.Upchurch bills itself as the fittings experts. What the company makes, Kincy said, is basically really specialized plumbing for scientific equipment.The company manufacture tubes and valves and other fittings that attach to any number of devices, from machines in labs that identify viruses in human blood to equipment that can check the strength of pharmaceuticals as they are manufactured. The sizes and shapes of the small tubes and fittings have to be extremely precise and the materials they are made from have to be able to withstand, and not react with, any number of chemicals they might come in contact with. Kincy said Upchurch manufactures the products with expensive materials, like specialized plastics, stainless steel or titanium.The trend in the industry is to make everything smaller and smaller, he said, adding that Upchurch is the world-wide leader in manufacturing micro-fittings.While Upchurch sells products to equipment manufacturers, they also work directly with scientists to make the pieces they need. In fact, Kincy said Upchurch creates hundreds of new products a year.Paul Upchurch started the company in the California Bay area in 1975 and moved the company to its current site just outside of Oak Harbor a couple years later.--------------You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611. "

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