Austin, TX – American Innovations (AI) announced today that Ed Kruft will become its next Chief Executive Officer, replacing Rich Smalling who is retiring after leading AI since 1994. Mr. Smalling will retain a seat on the Board of Directors and will continue to work for AI through 2019 as he transitions his responsibilities to Mr. Kruft.
Mr. Kruft started at AI in February 2010 as the Vice-President of Sales & Marketing. Prior to joining AI, Ed spent 15 years at National Instruments in a variety of roles with a focus in Sales, Marketing and Product Management. He also held leadership positions at Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments. Mr. Kruft earned his degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and his MBA from The University of Tulsa. He has led the Technology Division of AI since 2013 with P&L responsibility for 2/3 of AI’s business. Under his leadership, the Technology Division has grown by 40%. He and Mr. Smalling have been orchestrating the transition for the past year.
“Ed’s experience in combining hardware and software solutions has been instrumental in growing AI. He understands what it takes to deliver reliable solutions to our clients,” said Mr. Smalling. “I’m confident he will continue to build on the strong and positive culture we have created at AI. Ed has a history of proven success and he has shown a genuine commitment to all the stakeholders of our business. I couldn’t be more excited about Ed taking over as CEO and about the future of AI under his leadership.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead American Innovations,” said Kruft, “I want to thank Rich for his leadership and tireless dedication to the company. For more than 30 years, our customers’ challenges have inspired innovation across our hardware, software and professional services solutions. I am incredibly excited to work in a new capacity with all the creative, dedicated individuals at American Innovations who are focused on fulfilling our mission to protect people and the environment.”
Said Richard Hojel, Partner at HM International, AI’s majority owner, “Ed has been a successful leader at AI and we have full confidence that he will continue to guide the growth of the organization and the evolution of its products and services. Ed and Rich have enjoyed a productive working relationship for almost 10 years, and they have orchestrated a wonderful leadership transition. We thank Rich for his 25 years of service, and we are excited for Ed to have this opportunity to grow.”
Mr. Smalling took over as President of AI after HMI acquired the business in 1994. During his tenure, Rich helped the team build AI into a leader in compliance technology and services for the oil and gas industry. He led the team through eight successful acquisitions in the last 16 years and the business grew at a greater than 10% per year over his tenure. He worked diligently with the team to create a unique culture, establishing the company’s values and purpose, and implementing a number of positive practices including open book finance and an innovative system for employee engagement and development.
Richard Hojel added, “Rich was instrumental in building AI into the leader in its market and creating shareholder value while always balancing our many stakeholders: colleagues, clients, suppliers, communities and shareholders. We are grateful for his service and his willingness to continue to be a part of the AI family. We wish him well as he pursues the next phase of his professional and personal journey.”
“It has been my honor to serve AI. I thank my colleagues for all they have done to help AI along the way. I thank the board for their trust and patience on our journey. As I move into this new chapter in my life, I am excited about the new opportunities ahead, both for myself and for all of AI.”
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