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HENSOLDT Welcomes LEONARDO as New Major Shareholder

Monday, April 26th, 2021

Taufkirchen, 24 April 2021 – LEONARDO S.p.A. announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement for 25.1 percent of the shares in HENSOLDT AG with HENSOLDT’s majority shareholder Square Lux Holding II S.à r.l., a portfolio company of investment funds advised by KKR. HENSOLDT thus will gain one additional major shareholder and future potential strategic partner. The sale is subject to usual regulatory closing conditions. Square Lux Holding II S.à r.l. will still hold around 18 percent of HENSOLDT after completion of the sale to LEONARDO S.p.A. and after completion of the sale to Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) which acts on behalf of the German Federal Government. Square Lux Holding II S.à r.l. had agreed to sell a stake of 25.1% to KfW in March 2021.

Thomas Müller, CEO of HENSOLDT, said: “We very much welcome LEONARDO’s investment in HENSOLDT. With this transaction, we will have a second long-term anchor shareholder in our company and a strong potential strategic partner with whom we are already successfully working together on a number of programs. As a leading provider of sensor solutions for defence and security applications it has always been our goal to play a decisive role in the consolidation of the European defence market. We see multiple opportunities of working together with LEONARDO to further support our successful strategy and to be able to strengthen HENSOLDT’s long-term growth.

As an independent, listed company, HENSOLDT has successfully expanded its leading market position in recent months. As an important technology partner and strategic supplier of key national technology, HENSOLDT plays a significant role in decisive areas of the German defence and security sector. The shareholder structure therefore safeguards both German security interests and the independence of the company.

Personnel Change on the Executive Board of Rheinmetall AG

Monday, April 26th, 2021

In light of the transformation resulting from the Group’s strategic reorientation, Jörg Grotendorst, until now Rheinmetall AG Executive Board member for Automotive, has asked the Supervisory Board to relieve him of his duties.

The structure of the Executive Board will be modified accordingly, enabling it to address forthcoming challenges during the course of Rheinmetall’s strategic reorientation. Following elimination of the Automotive holding and the resulting direct control of all Group divisions by the Executive Board, this body will now consist of three rather than four members: Armin Papperger, as Chairman of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall AG, as well as members Helmut P. Merch (Finance) and Peter Sebastian Krause (HR).

Citing the prime reason for his decision, Mr Grotendorst stated that due to the strategic reorientation, maintaining a division of responsibilities based on the old separation of the Group into Defence and Automotive entities no longer made sense, a view shared by the Supervisory Board and his fellow Executive Board members. It is felt that a leaner, more agile management structure is necessary in order to bind the two divisions that emerged from the former Automotive organization – Sensors and Actuators and Materials and Trade – more closely to the three former Defence divisions, particularly with regard to achieving the sought-after transfer of technology between all Group divisions.

Armin Papperger, the Chairman of the Executive Board, and his colleagues Helmut P. Merch and Peter Sebastian Krause, and Ulrich Grillo, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, thank Mr Grotendorst for his services, and wish him all the best on the road ahead.

From Wagon Peddler to International First Responder Distributor

Saturday, April 24th, 2021

The history of today’s largest First Responder Distributor, GALLS®, started as one immigrant’s dream of America.

The Peddler was for many rural Americans, the only way to shop.


Lexington, Ken. (April 2021) – GALLS® is today the largest leading distributor of law enforcement and 1st responder apparel, gear, and equipment with over 100 locations, 300,000 sq. ft. of distribution, and 1,500 employees. Although its origins were modest compared to the size and breadth of the organization today, the founding principle is as relevant now as it was when Phillip Gall took a wagon laden with household ware into the hills and hollers of Kentucky at the turn of the 19th century.

“Phillip Gall was the epitome of the American dream come true,” Mike Fadden, CEO of GALLS Inc. said. “As an immigrant in a new country, he found a unique niche to call his own, and through his steadfast pursuit of building long-lasting customer relationship, was able to turn a ware-laden wagon into a very successful Lexington, Kentucky-based family business.”

As an immigrant from Lithuania, Phillip Gall came to America with a dream of finding freedom and opportunity for his family. Settling in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife and son, Isaac, Phillip traveled the backroads of Lexington’s surrounding hills peddling household items such as cookware, sewing supplies, and tools. Phillip Gall visited his customers’ homes, tucked away in the woods, or standing alone surrounded by farmland, that every visit was special. He developed close relationships with his customers, seeming to know what they wanted and how to turn every exchange of their hard-earned money for goods into a special occasion. Phillip Gall brought his own customer service expertise to the Kentucky hills.

At the turn of the 19th century, Isaac, now a grown man, with his father, opened a second-hand store on Water Street in Lexington. Eventually, the second-hand store transitioned into a pawn shop, which eventually transitioned into a retail store including outdoor camping equipment, firearms, and police gear.

Phillip Galls’ store continued to meet the needs of their customers, whether it was moving the store to better locations or including products that their customers were seeking.

Sidney, Isaac’s son, grew up spending available time at Phillip Gall’s storefront helping out with everything and anything that was needed to service their growing customer base. It was a natural move for Sidney after he came home from serving in the war, to come into a partnership with his father, Isaac. During his tenure at Phillip Gall, the storefront moved from Water Street to West Main Street in 1972.

“During the third generation’s tenure of the Phillip Gall store, Sidney had developed both sides of the business, the outdoor and the law enforcement, as far as it could go within the confines of its location and their business model,” Fadden continued. “Times were changing and Sidney found within Alan Bloomfield, the potential to concentrate on one part of the business and relinquish the other part.”

In 1983, the Phillip Gall store sold off the police equipment and firearms part of the business to a young man who had also grown up in the storefront retail business in downtown Lexington. Alan Bloomfield’s parents owned a women’s department store and the retail business was in his blood. After the purchase, Phillip Gall was called Phillip Gall Outdoor & Ski and continued to serve outdoor enthusiasts. The police part of the business, now operated by Alan Bloomfield, was renamed Galls Inc. Alan Bloomfield hit the ground running, sending flyers to police departments offering specials on everything from guns to uniforms. During Bloomfield’s ownership, Galls Inc. became a national and international supply house for police, EMS, fire, and first responder equipment and the largest mail order and catalog house within that community. Within five years, the Galls Inc. Catalog won the National Catalog Association’s “Catalog of the Year.”

“Bloomfield was a legend in the catalog business. He took a relatively small mom-and-pop cop shop and turned it into one of the largest and most dynamic police and emergency equipment suppliers in the world. He was very much a visionary and saw outside the borders of Lexington and by building the Galls Catalog and mail-order business extended his product line offerings to law enforcement across the country,” Fadden remarked. “By 1995, Bloomfield had taken Galls Inc. from a 4-person, family-based company to a 250 employee-based distributor powerhouse. And he felt it was time for him to step aside.”

Aramark, a company founded in Philadelphia in 1936, provided uniform services, as well as food and facility service to clients in the healthcare, education, business, prisons, and leisure industries, purchased Galls Inc. in 1995 and quickly brought the catalog giant into the digital age. Within two years, Galls Inc. had inside and outside sales force to facilitate serving their growing law enforcement customer base. The new sales force was able to adapt to the current conditions and needs of the community. By 1999, Galls added a new sales partner with the launch of Galls.com allowing existing customers to interface with Galls and attracting new customers with their state-of-the-art website.

“Galls is changing rapidly during these years. The rapid growth included more service centers, more employees, and new technologies. At the same time Aramark purchased Galls, I came aboard Aramark,” Fadden said. “Little did I know at the time that my future at Aramark would put me in a leadership position at Galls. Meanwhile, my focus is primarily on the direct sale and rental uniform side of operations at Aramark. Those twenty-five years, in a variety of leadership positions, became critical stepping stones for my future position at Galls.”

CI Capital, a private North American investment group, purchased Galls Inc. in 2011 and began an accelerated program of growth and acquisitions including some of the top equipment and uniform vendors such as Quartermaster, Blumenthal Uniforms, Muscatello’s, Patriot Outfitters, and Red the Uniform Tailor, to name a few. As part of their aggressive growth platform, Galls continued to streamline processes within their company, and in 2011, eQuip, an online uniform and equipment procurement and management software platform, was launched.

“When a company is in serious acquisition mode and undergoing explosive growth, it is primarily focusing on building its infrastructure and streamlining processes such as accounting, distribution, sales, and marketing. It’s an inward-focused style of management, and although necessary for the company to grow, customers can start to feel as if they are no longer priority number one,” Fadden continued.”

In 2018 Galls, again changed hands when CI Capital Partners sold the company to Charlesbank Capital Partners based in Boston and New York. Within the next several years, Galls accumulated six more uniform and police equipment companies and a change of leadership when Mike Fadden became the new CEO of GALLS in June of 2020.

“Up until the past couple of years, Galls was still a traditional catalog-style company with a smaller B2B mindset in which either agencies came to us or our sales team drove sales to agencies,” Mike Fadden explained further. “Galls was this large company, now comprised of many smaller companies, across the country doing business their way. Unfortunately, in all of this massive growth, something very special was lost, something I think Phillip Gall would instantly recognize; the personal relationship with the customer was beginning to suffer.

As we enter this new decade, businesses are facing increased competition from outside and it is my imperative that we at Galls will always lead when it comes to outstanding customer service. That doesn’t just mean a pleasant voice on the other end of the telephone, but finding ways to provide efficient, cost-effective, and personalized service to our customer base. When I came aboard, Galls already had some of these service drivers in place such as eQuip, which allows our customers to manage their uniform and equipment purchases and uniform allotments. It gives them power and confidence over their budgets they never had when dealing with outside sales reps. What I found in my first 90-days were often small errors, whether a misshipment of product or delays and backorders due to the complicated order processing we had. It was literally dying from a thousand small cuts.

First things, first. We needed a central location to receive customer complaints, suggestions, or compliments and that box literally became my email address. We have been including a small card, a gesture, to our customers in every shipment, to let them know Galls IS listening and we want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about our company. Since this out-reach program began, we have accumulated enough data to understand where our strengths and weaknesses lay and to act on them.”

Fadden and his executive team drove significant changes to the company’s IT structure to allow greater transparency between departments, increase efficiency, and speed up the process from initial ordering to delivery, thus shortening the duration while eliminating waste and cost overruns. In February of 2021, “Chief to Chief,” an email newsletter for agencies’ executive management was created. The monthly newsletter features a video of Mike Fadden, CEO of Galls, talking directly to the email recipient and encouraging an open dialog between one Chief to another. Again, Mike’s email box has been inundated with praise, suggestions, and some complaints, but Mike and his team compile all results and present changes to the company that has, in a few short months, already benefited customers and Galls’ employees.

“I think Phillip Gall could walk into our headquarters and not only be amazed at what he started but be proud of what Galls’ is doing today, in respect to building the trust and loyalty between our company and our customers,” Mike Fadden concluded. “He never lost sight of the importance of excellent customer service and it helped him build his dream, the American dream. It is our responsibility to continue to build on that tradition because superior customer service is one thing that never goes out of style.”

SOFWERX – USSOCOM Virtual Innovation Foundry Event

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T), will host the Eighth Innovation Foundry (IF8) Event on 02-04 June 2021.

The objective is to bring together Special Operations Forces (SOF) representatives and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to assist USSOCOM in discerning future capability areas for technology exploration for SOF in the conduct of Next-Generation Effects and Precision Strike. 

IF8 will scope future technology-based capabilities looking forward 7-15 years, utilizing design thinking to solve mission scenarios in a 2030 great power competition.

S&T Futures and NGE Capability Focus Areas (CFAs) will investigate concepts for novel SOF-peculiar scalable kinetic and non-kinetic effects to achieve physical, virtual, and cognitive objectives across all domains in the Competition and Conflict spaces of the Force Development window. These concepts will include, but not be limited to, Directed Energy (DE), Cyber, Military Information Support Operation (MISO), Electronic Warfare (EW), attributable, non-attributable, temporary, permanent effects, and will be designed to solve mission scenarios in a 2030 great power competition. 

This event is restricted to U.S. Citizens Only.

To participate, submit NLT 05 May 11:59 PM ET. Visit events.sofwerx.org/IF8 for details.

FN Herstal Announces Upcoming Launch of Latest Innovative and Revolutionary Product Development

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

(McLean, VA – April 22, 2021) FN America, LLC is pleased to share an upcoming launch event hosted by parent company, FN Herstal, Belgium-based designer and manufacturer of small caliber weapons, associated weapon systems and ammunition, of an unprecedented shoulder-fired weapon.


Since its inception in 1889, FN has continuously brought innovative, small caliber-oriented solutions to Defense and Security professionals, with most of them becoming world references.


FN’s innovative spirit is just as true today as it ever was in the past. The Company has released earlier today a product teaser to preannounce an upcoming brand new, revolutionary shoulder-fired weapon. Discover it here.


FN Herstal invites all Defense and Security professionals to join its digital product launch event on May 6, 2021.

Don’t miss out! Sign up here.

Matt Ridenour Joins Ascendant As Partner – To Lead Mergers And Acquisitions Practice

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Ascendant Release

Whitefish, MT (April 21, 2021) Ascendant Advisory Group announced that Matt Ridenour, former Chairman and CEO of ZEV Technologies, is joining Ascendant as a Partner leading their mergers and acquisitions practice.

Dev Warren, CEO of Ascendant, commented “We are thrilled to have Matt join Ascendant.  Having built one of the best teams in the industry and leading the growth and development of ZEV, he is an industry icon.  Matt brings 25 years of experience in private equity, mergers and acquisitions, raising capital, and as a CEO of high growth companies.  With the current challenges and significant growth opportunities occurring in the industry, I can’t think of a more qualified advisor to help our clients find success and navigate the future”.

Ridenour commented, “I have worked with Ascendant several times over the past several years and have been impressed by their high integrity, their track record of success, and their focus on building long term relationships and success with their clients.   I am very excited to join the team and help great companies grow and prosper.”  

About Ridenour:   Previous to joining ZEV Technologies, Ridenour served as a principal in private equity and venture capital firms, and was as a consultant with Bain & Company’s Private Equity Advisory practice.  He holds MBA from Harvard Business School, with high honors, and a degree in economics from Dartmouth College.  

About Ascendant:   Ascendant Advisory Group works with Boards and CEOs to develop corporate strategy, to raise capital and on buy and sell side M&A.    Ascendant has been one of the leading M and A and consulting firm in the Firearms and Outdoor Industry for the past 7 years.  Having led some of the largest and most strategically significant transactions and growth initiatives, including Zev Technologies acquisition of Mega, KLV Capital’s acquisition of Christensen Arms, and High Speed Gear’s acquisition of Comp Tac.  


ZEV Technologies Announces Departure of Matt Ridenour as CEO and Appoints Mike Hefner to President; Ridenour Will Remain on ZEV Technologies Board of Directors

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Centralia, WA: ZEV Technologies today announced its Chief Executive Officer Matt Ridenour will be leaving the company to become a partner in the investment banking firm, Ascendant Advisory Group. He will maintain his seat on the Board of Directors and remain involved in advising the company. The Board has appointed Chief Operating Officer Mike Hefner to the role of President, where he will continue to lead the ZEV team and oversee operations while adding responsibility for ZEV’s strategy and direction. 

We are grateful for Matt’s leadership over the past six years and feel that he has put us on a strong path for continued future growth,” said Alec Wolf, ZEV’s founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Ridenour commented, “ZEV has put in place an amazing leadership team that is firing on all cylinders. The timing felt right for me to transition the daily leadership of the company. As a continuing shareholder of ZEV, I have great confidence in the team’s ability to continue ZEV’s trajectory.”  

We appreciate Matt’s leadership through this transition, and his ongoing guidance will be an asset to the Board of Directors. We have been very impressed with how effective Mike Hefner has been within the organization thus far and are confident in his abilities and excited to have him continue to drive the business forward,” said Board member Steve Reich.

Since joining ZEV in 2014, Hefner has been instrumental in all aspects of the business and spearheaded the integration of MEGA Arms and relocation of ZEV’s headquarters from Oxnard, CA, to Centralia, WA. Before ZEV, Hefner spent 24 years with the United States Army Special Operations Command, retiring as a Sergeant Major. Most of his career was as an Operator in a TIER 1 unit; his last five years of service were in weapons RDT&E and Acquisitions.  


High Speed Gear Adds AmChar as Newest Distributor

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

SWANSBORO, N.C. – April 20, 2021 – High Speed Gear® grew its distributor base even further by signing on one of the nation’s premier firearm wholesalers, the New York-based AmChar Wholesale Inc.

AmChar Wholesale Inc, a leading wholsale distributor, received its opening order of HSGI® gear April 9 and is ready to start supplying its dealers.

“The addition of AmChar to our network is key to servicing the law enforcement market in the fullest capacity,” said Allison Mitchum, HSGI director of sales and marketing. “Our products have become the gear of choice for law enforcement agencies all over the world, especially now as we prepare to launch the Comp-Tac® CT3™ Level III holster. So, our partnership with AmChar is the perfect alliance for our brand and for our customers. Furthermore, HSGI’s core values pair perfectly with AmChar’s mission.”

“We are proud to offer High Speed Gear to our customers,” said Tony DiChario, AmChar president and CEO. “This company is offering something new and different that we think fits the interests of our buyers.”

AmChar has been in the firearms business since 1980. During the last 40 years, it became one of the top distributors in the industry for law enforcement entities and independent dealers in the United States. AmChar is backed by industry professionals who have been in the firearms business for over a half century. AmChar Wholesale is one of the largest law enforcement distributors in the United States and the top Glock law enforcement distributor for the past several years. The company also operates a secondary warehouse and distribution center in McDonough, GA.

Among the popular products from High Speed Gear and Comp-Tac® now in stock and available from AmChar are the:

• ReFlex™ IFAK System
• Various Duty TACOs®
• Handcuff TACO®
• X2R® TACO®
• Various Polymer TACOs®
• Double Decker® TACO®
• Triple Pistol TACO®
• CT3™ Lvl III holster (coming soon)
• Kydex Tourniquet TACO®

Dealers can establish an account with AmChar Wholesale Inc. by calling 585-325-3951 x155. To place an order with AmChar, dealers can contact them at [email protected]

AmChar Wholesale Inc.
Mike Hutchings, national sales manager
585-328-3951 x155

High Speed Gear
Allison Mitchum, director of sales and marketing
[email protected]
910-325-1000 x1306