P.T. International


Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, P.T. International Corporation (PTI) is a leading supplier of mechanical power transmission products and motion-control components across North America.


PTI was cofounded by Tom Haffner in 1994. Originally from the Midwest, Haffner had spent his early business career working for a multinational power transmission manufacturer as an engineer, ultimately moving into strategy and business development.

The company had achieved exceptional success by 2012 and the cofounders began to discuss their next phase of ownership. “My partner was ready to retire and I was not,” Haffner said. “We had a tight, trim, and extremely profitable business and hand-picking the right buyer was important to me.”

“Tonka Bay came across as genuine, and they seemed to want to partner with the owners and learn our business and industry before anything else,” Haffner continued. “Our shared Midwestern roots also built trust. You could just tell they wanted us to feel comfortable and go at our own pace. We knew we had found the right partner.”

“Tonka Bay seemed to want to partner with the owners and learn our business and industry before anything else.”
Tom Haffner, PTI CEO


Combining Haffner’s strategic and business development background with Tonka Bay’s prior industrial distribution and bearings experience, the team developed a clear vision for making an already thriving business even bigger and better. The vision included a roadmap for Haffner to transition from day-to-day leadership to serving as a board member, mentor for successors, and resource for questions from employees and customers.

“During our strategic conversations, Tonka Bay mentioned the possibility of bringing in an outside contact with operational experience in our industry as a resource,” Haffner said. “It turned out that this operating partner offered beneficial guidance throughout the process, and he even sat on our board.”


The five-year PTI partnership with Tonka Bay resulted in several significant accomplishments. The team completed the largest product launch in company history, which diversified end markets and increased the addressable market. They finalized a strategic add-on acquisition that increased the PTI product offering, end markets, and geographical reach.

In terms of leadership, the management team saw the addition of a new CEO to succeed Haffner, along with a new VP of Sales and VP of Engineering. Three outside directors were also identified and recruited to serve on the board, each of whom brought decades of power transmission experience to help execute an organic growth strategy.

During Tonka Bay’s ownership, PTI doubled its employee base and grew revenue and EBITDA more than 2.5 times the overall market.

“Tonka Bay has worked with numerous founders, and they knew how to navigate growing a business while investing in people and managing someone like me who wants to pull back,” Haffner said.

Today, Haffner often serves as an operating partner to other active Tonka Bay partnerships. “For a person in my former situation, having access to someone who went to the mountain with Tonka Bay and is still involved with them is a huge credibility builder.”

Partnership results:

2x increase in employee base
2.5x greater revenue and EBITDA growth vs. overall market