Barry Potter, who was a top sales executive at Nypro Inc. and then launched the U.S. arm of Swiss injection press maker Netstal-Maschinen AG, died Sept. 25 after a battle with cancer.
Potter, 67, died at his home in Chamberlain, Maine.
Colleagues said Potter was an enthusiastic leader with good people skills, an avid skier and a devoted family man.
Potter started Netstal-Machinery Inc. in Fitchburg, Mass., with just a handful of people in 1982.
Dan Morris, who was director of sales and market development, said Potter ``made work fun.'' He described Netstal in those days as ``exciting, entrepreneurial and a very positive environment.''
Potter was born in Chester, Vt., in 1938 and grew up on a farm in Bolton, where his family moved in 1944. He raised and sold dairy calves to pay for his first year of expenses at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Potter ran track and field and played football for the Colby Mules. While in college, he also met his wife of 43 years, Bonnie Brown Potter.
Throughout his life, Barry Potter remained active in Colby alumni events.
After graduating, he served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves. He started a manufacturers' representative firm for plastics companies, Potter Associates.
Potter joined Nypro, a custom injection molder in Clinton, Mass., in 1968 and became vice president of sales and marketing. He worked at Nypro until 1982 - and returned for several years after he retired from his stint running Netstal.
Potter was Nypro's first sales manager, according to Gordon Lankton, Nypro's former longtime president and current chairman of the board. During that time, Nypro was making the transition into a global molder and contract manufacturer.
``Barry was a fantastic guy. He helped us become international,'' Lankton said. ``He knew how to get good customers and keep them happy. He was just an all-around superb guy and friend.''
After working at Nypro, Potter made a brief foray into the ski business before returning to plastics to start Netstal-Machinery. He served as Netstal president from 1982-96.
Potter built up the Swiss company's U.S. business. Under Potter's leadership, Netstal started two other companies - Optima Precision Inc., which molded CD jewel boxes, and First Light Technology Inc., a pioneering maker of in-line manufacturing systems for CDs. Netstal later sold both firms.
Nypro is a major Netstal customer. After he left Netstal, Potter returned to Nypro as corporate director of strategic marketing. He focused on the European market, with responsibility for operations in Europe. He directed Nypro's acquisition of a plant in France and the construction of plants in Moscow and Hungary.
Friends say Potter could relate to people from all backgrounds. He frequently invited everyone from top executives to technicians to his home.
In addition to skiing, he loved to play tennis, travel and work outside on his tractor.
In addition to his wife, Potter is survived by two sons. The family asks that donations be made to the Melanoma Research Foundation in Princeton, N.J.