During the pomp and ceremony of the official Feb. 12 grand opening of its new plant, employee-owned Marland Mold Inc. surprised civic leaders by donating $12,500 to be used for businesses in its local community.
``It was certainly a surprise when I was handed the check,'' said Pittsfield, Mass., Mayor Gerald S. Doyle Jr. in a telephone interview, ``I've been around for 12 years and I've never seen anything like this happen.''
The surprise was sprung by Marland President Don E. Madison. He presented the mayor with a $10,000 check. It will be put in the city's business development account. He also gave $2,500 to the local Chamber of Commerce of the Berkshires.
According to Al Hogue, vice president of technical sales at Marland Mold, the return of the money to the city was symbolic. It was payback for help rendered when it was struggling to survive.
``We are hoping that they will be able to benefit another company,'' Hogue said.
In 1992 Tredegar Industries Inc. of Richmond, Va., wanted to close or sell the Pittsfield plant. The city came up with money to fund a feasibility study. The study led to an employee buyout, changing the direction of the company.
Marland Mold Inc., which manufactures high-cavitation injection molding tools for beverage, medical and personal-care-product packaging, has flourished.
Annual sales approached $11.5 million in 1998 and it is now located in a new $4.5 million, 62,000-square-foot home.
The mayor was caught off guard but noted that it was in character for the company. ``It's just another example of Marland's commitment to its owners and employees and to its community,'' he said.