WATERTOWN — Saying goodbye to his coworkers at New York Air Brake was bittersweet for outgoing President Michael J. Hawthorne.
“The people in that room and the communication and dedication they feel, that’s why we worked so well,” Mr. Hawthorne said. “It’s hard to leave that group.”
The company held a series of meetings with employees this week in which Mr. Hawthorne informed them he accepted a new position as president and CEO of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Elyria, Ohio. Manufacturing giant Knorr-Bremese Group, Munich, Germany, owns both Bendix and New York Air Brake.
Mr. Hawthorne said he was equally excited to begin leading Bendix, which manufactures brake systems for commercial vehicles, starting July 6.
While he enjoyed his 23-year-tenure with New York Air Brake, including the six years he served as president, he said he was eager to take on the new challenge of managing a company that is almost five times the size of the Watertown manufacturer of railcar brakes.
“I think, to me, it was time to try to find something new and different to try,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have this opportunity with (Knorr-Bremese).”
New York Air Brake will welcome a new president on July 6.
The company hired Ulisses Camilo, the former managing director for the rail and transit sector of Atkins NA, a SNC-Lavalin company, who brings 34 years of engineering and rail marketplace experience.
“I have high confidence he’ll be successful,” Mr. Hawthorne said. “He’s got the right skills, the right attitude, the right personality.”
Mr. Hawthorne said he will continue to serve as chairman of New York Air Brake’s board of directors for at least another three years.
“We have to make sure New York Air Brake remains strong,” he said.