CHARLOTTE — Daryl Adams hesitated slightly when introducing himself on Monday afternoon.
It was one of the first times formally introducing himself as the Chief Executive Officer of The Shyft Group Inc., the newly-announced name for what was once Spartan Motors Inc.
The new name was accompanied by new branding and a corporate website as Adams and his team turned the page on 45 years of history as Spartan Motors.
The name change comes after the specialty vehicle maker divested its emergency response vehicles division to Milwaukee-based REV Group Inc. back in February 2020 in a $55 million cash deal.
The REV Group also purchased the rights to the “Spartan” name and logo, prompting the name change for the company.
Another big change that came into focus in the announcement on Monday is that The Shyft Group was also shifting its headquarters from Charlotte to Novi, now located at 41280 Bridge St.
“As the growth happens, sometimes you need different talent and different roles in a company,” Adams said. “It’s a small office; and we have hired some people from southeast Michigan.”
Working with a third party real estate broker, Adams said that Shyft was looking for space that had signage visible from the highway and that featured both office and showroom space.
Adams estimated that the new corporate headquarters features 10,000 square feet of office space and 7,000 square feet of showroom.
“We need quite a bit of space,” he said. “These are large vehicles that we make — motorhome chassis, delivery vehicles. It’s not like you can pull out a briefcase and pull out some sunglasses or pens.”
He said that the office can facilitate 25 to 40 employees, but currently is home to only about a dozen.
Adams expects Shyft will incrementally add new employees as the business grows.
Accessibility to airports was another big item on Shyft’s wish list as the company now operates facilities in nine states and two countries. The new location also makes for easier recruiting.
“Some of the people we’re hiring, these were open positions we already had,” Adams said. “It was tough recruiting in the Mid-Michigan and Charlotte area.”
Despite the headquarters move, the Shyft Group will continue to have a presence in Charlotte.
Its Charlotte operations will be under the guidance of Steve Guillaume, president of Shyft Specialty Vehicles. The company also has reinvested in those operations with upgrades to a new motorhome chassis plant. As well, Charlotte continues to house Shyft’s legal, accounting and financial functions.
The REV Group acquired four buildings along with the deal for the emergency response division, which led to Shyft employees moving to different buildings.
Adams said that no employment was lost in the region through the transition.
Shyft continues to operate the Utilimaster, Royal Truck Body, Strobes-R-Us, Spartan RV Chassis and Builtmore Contract Manufacturing brands.
Despite the new name and new headquarters, Adams said the company’s corporate culture remains unchanged.
“Culture is the same — it’s basic blocking and tackling,” he said. “I try to make business very simple. It shouldn’t be complicated.”