Layoffs Confirmed, Strategic Plans to Be Unveiled at Ebonite

by Bob Johnson 0

There have been layoffs this week at Ebonite International, the Hopkinsville, Ky.-based manufacturer of bowling balls and other bowling equipment.

Through postings on their Facebook pages, Bowlers Journal has confirmed the layoffs of ball designer Ron Hickland and Group Marketing Director-Communications Bugsy Kelly. Multiple sources also say that Group Marketing Director Ed Gallagher was included in the layoffs.

“I am grateful to have been able to realize my dream as a bowling ball designer with Ebonite International, designing for Ebonite, Track, Hammer and Columbia 300,” Hickland posted on Thursday. “[I’m] thankful for the relationships I have built from May 21, 2001, through today. Now it's time to start the next chapter of my life.”

Kelly posted a much longer message, but also expressed gratitude for the close to five years he spent with the company.

“I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given over the years, but now it’s time to figure out something new for me,” he posted. “Bowling has been so incredible to me and I’m so incredibly grateful for everything this sport has provided me with. I have never made a dollar any other way than through bowling and I’ve never made a dollar throwing a ball. I’ve literally lived my dream and I’ve had a blast doing it… everything I have is from this sport and I’m indebted to it.”

Ebonite International Chief Executive Officer Randy Schickert told Bowlers Journal, “We’re going to take a week or two, and then we’ll have announcements about a number of promotions and other strategic plans.”

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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