It's a heckuva career change: Machinery veteran Harold Faig has moved from Milacron Inc. - where he took early retirement effective Sept. 30 - to become top executive at Tech Group Inc., an Arizona-based injection molder.
Tech Group announced Oct. 1 that the 55-year-old Faig is its new president and chief executive officer. Faig has been an adviser to Tech Group, serving on the privately held molder's board of directors since 1991.
Faig's long association with Tech Group ``gives him an insider's perspective,'' said Steve Uhlmann, founder and chairman of the Scottdale, Ariz.-based company.
``He knows our culture, our people, our mission and our markets,'' Uhlmann said in a news release. Uhlmann has been CEO.
Tech Group generated 2003 sales of $132 million from molding and assembly work in the medical, consumer products and electronics markets. The company, which calls itself a contract manufacturer, molds for big-name customers including Medtronic Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Baxter Healthcare Corp., IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
Tech was a winner of Plastics News' 2002 Processor of the Year Award.
In addition to four plants in Arizona and Michigan, Tech runs 12 plants in Puerto Rico, China, Singapore, the Philippines, Mexico and Ireland. The company employs about 2,000 and runs 325 injection molding machines around the world - including some Milacron presses.
Faig had spent his entire career in Cincinnati with Milacron. He was just 19 when he took a job there assembling metal-cutting machines. He went to college at night and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming president and chief operating officer, the No. 2 executive at the largest U.S.-owned plastics machinery maker.
In early August, Milacron announced that Faig was taking early retirement from Milacron, which like many other equipment firms is battling one of the worst bear markets in memory for U.S. plastics machines. Milacron decided not to replace Faig, as part of its cost-cutting moves. His duties are being spread among several executives.
Milacron officials and Faig both said he long wanted to retire at 55, when Milacron employees become eligible for early retirement. But his ``retirement'' did not last even one day.
Faig was not available for comment. But the Tech Group news release quoted him as being excited about the move: ``Tech Group is a leader in its markets and has a strong, experienced and committed management team in place.''
Uhlmann said he and fellow owner Hal Tashman will continue to be actively involved with Tech Group. ``We want to make sure the company continues to grow and stay strong,'' he said.
Tech Group has not had someone in the president's position for several years. In 1997, Uhlmann and Tashman - with input from the company's advisory board that included Faig - launched a long-term exit strategy to bulk up Tech quickly through acquisitions, then take the company public. Both men are in their late 50s, and neither has children involved in Tech Group.
They had put a new man, Charles Stroupe, in charge as president and CEO. Stroupe had a background in the medical industry. But after a few years, the owners changed course, after they became uncomfortable with the fast-acquisition strategy and growing debt.
In mid-2000, Tech announced that Uhlmann had returned to hands-on ownership.
Uhlmann said he is comfortable with Faig. ``His leadership style combined with his energy and passion will help Tech Group optimize its capabilities,'' he said.
Faig holds a master's degree in business administration in multinational business from Xavier University in Cincinnati. He has two undergraduate degrees: one in business and one in electrical engineering.