Superwinch History

The founder of Superwinch, Frank Tolsdorf, was destined to build something great.  In a constant pursuit of excellence, his credentials include a Bachelor’s degree from Yale University, graduating cum laude in 1958, and also graduation from the Owners and Presidents Management course at Harvard Business School. 

In the 1960s, Mr. Tolsdorf was the Marketing Director for Indian Head Corporation of Detroit, where his responsibilities included new product development.  In 1970, two engineers from Ford came to him with an offer to sell patents and manufacturing rights of an electric winch. After analyzing the market, Mr. Tolsdorf realized the vast potential in this field. It was upon his recommendation that Indian Head purchased the design, and Superwinch was born.

Detroit Gasket, the product development division of Indian Head, redesigned the winch and it was introduced to the public.  Mr. Tolsdorf was not completely satisfied with the final product, and just as he pinpointed the necessary corrections, Indian Head decided to sell the product line.  He realized that if he owned the company, he would be able make it right, so together with the cable supplier for Superwinch, they purchased the company.  Originally, Superwinch offered a complete line of winches for the recreational boating market.  With advancing technologies, a great many things changed over the years. Knowing the potential for further growth and innovation, Mr. Tolsdorf invited Ian Dodds, and aerospace engineer, to join him in the evolution of Superwinch.  Mr. Dodds purchased 50% of the interest in the company in 1985, and was the head of the internal functions such as engineering and manufacturing.  Together, they would revolutionize the winch industry.

Later, Superwinch purchased the New England based company, Mercury Electric Winch, and FW Winches Limited, located in the UK.  This acquisition provided additional manufacturing capabilities, including a wide range of winch designs and markets.  The company then became known as Superwinch  Ltd.

Mrs. Tolsdorf stayed with the company until a few years before his death in 2003.  Mr. Dodds retired in 2009.  Today, the global Superwinch team is led by President & CEO Ned Cunningham.  He is as dedicated as the original company founder to building on the philosophy of excellence.

Superwinch recently introduced the “Get Serious” campaign, meaning that they are serious about continuous improvements, innovative design and timely market response.  Superwinch is determined to stay in the lead, maintaining the tradition of innovation, function, quality, price and service.