Sodexo Roth Is a Perfect Fit For ‘Voltage Valley’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Business is growing at a healthy clip for a company established here nearly a century ago, due in part to increased demand for its facility maintenance services for some prominent industrial clients.

Among these clients is Ultium Cells, LLC, a partnership between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, says Rick Sheppard, vice president of Sodexo Roth. 

“We look to be a great partner with them,” Sheppard says.  “We’ve added some construction there with HVAC systems and now looking at processing lines.”

Ultium is building a $2.3 billion battery-cell manufacturing plant in Lordstown that will serve GM’s next generation of electric vehicles.  The plant is expected to begin production sometime in August and employ more than 1,100 when it reaches capacity.

“It’s been a bright spot for our community,” John Schuler, Sodexo Roth senior director of marketing and communications, says of the Ultium project. 

Sodexo Roth was founded in 1923 as Roth Bros. a roofing company that has evolved into a sophisticated tech-oriented company that today provides smart building automation, HVAC and facility management, manufacturing and its traditional roofing services.  

The Youngstown operation employs about 350, including field technicians.

Sodexo, a multinational food service and facilities management corporation based near Paris, purchased the company in 2011.

“Sodexo is a global company with 420,000 employees,” Sheppard says. “Especially in North America, we have key clients and that’s where we’re trying to expand.”

Business has increased by between as much as 10% over the last three years, Sheppard says. 

Sodexo Roth has seen business increase in its facilities maintenance and HVAC divisions, driven by the need for clients to install more sophisticated air filtration systems during the pandemic.

Kevin Callahan, vice president of facilities maintenance HVAC at Sodexo Roth talks with Shop Foreman Rob Bodnar and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

“Our services have helped those organizations,” he said, such as the installation of ultraviolet technology to remove airborne contaminants in schools and industry.  “We want to make sure they have a safe work environment.  That’s really helped us really grow our business over the past two years.”

Sodexo Roth has clients all over North America, Sheppard says.  Moreover, the company is able to remotely monitor client facility’s operations – electrical usage, natural gas, and temperature, as an example – from a control room in the Youngstown office.

The vast majority of operational issues – about 70% – are resolved remotely from the systems room instead of dispatching a field technician.

Sodexo Roth’s manufacturing operations include 60 members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 33.  These workers fabricate products such as metal ductwork used in complex industrial HVAC systems.  

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, paid a visit to the company Monday to speak with executives, workers and take a short tour of the metal fabricating plant.  The congressman said that Sodexo Roth’s investment in new technologies makes it a competitive force in the Mahoning Valley and the rest of the country.

“This is a company that has a vision for the future when you look at the cutting-edge stuff that is happening,” he says. “They’re in the heart of Voltage Valley – they’re in the heart of the new economy that’s coming.”

Pictured at top: Ken Wilcox, sheet metal worker at Sodexo Roth.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.