Tooling industry's Steven Bales, 53
HARLINGEN, TEXAS Steven J. Bales, president of Bales Mold Service Inc. in Downers Grove, Ill., died Nov. 18 of a suspected heart attack in Harlingen. He was 53.
Steve and his brother, Mike, founded Bales Mold Service in 1978, initially providing diamond polishing and hard chrome plating for injection molds. The company is widely known for its engineered coatings and finishes as well as other products and services.
Steve was an innovator, and was always looking for new ways to advance mold coating technology, said Harry Raimondi, who worked with Steve during his 13 years as sales and technical services manager at Bales. While the majority of our business is in the plastics industry, Steve also made sure our company was diversified in terms of markets served, focusing on stainless-steel passivation for aerospace and leveraging our expertise in coatings to many other industries.
He was a leader, and an employer and friend who was loved and respected by his employees, Raimondi said.
Steve was a tireless developer of new technologies for coatings for plastic tooling, said friend and colleague Glenn Starkey, president of Progressive Components. He would continuously write technical articles, not only for surface treatments, but also passing along his knowledge of mold polishing and welding. He truly was an expert and he genuinely wanted to share his experience with others.
In 2001 we had a [Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.] trade mission to the maquiladora region, and Steve worked the phones and twisted arms to get our group into the best companies possible. Not everyone wants a tour through their company, but Steve successfully worked on his customers both large and small. Everyone who knew Steve knows that once he was signed up for a cause look out.
In 2001, Bales opened a second facility in Harlingen, serving customers in the southern U.S. and the maquiladora region.
Steve leaves behind two daughters, Stacey Bales and Sara Mortensen; two granddaughters; his mother, Joan; his brother, Mike, and two sisters, Judy and Patti. His nephew, John Bailey, is plant manager at Bales Mold, which remains a family-owned company.
Plastics veteran Sam Rutland, 84
CHARLOTTE, N.C.— Sam Rutland, founder of vinyl plastisol maker Rutland Plastics Inc. in Pineyville, N.C., died Nov. 17 in Charlotte. He was 84.
Rutland grew up in Mitchell, Ala., and served in the U.S. Navy as a carrier pilot during World War II and the Korean War. He received a chemical engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1951.
He worked as plant manager for Flexible Products Inc. and later for Kayser-Roth Corp., in Marietta, Ga., before founding Rutland Plastics in 1963. He was the company president for 25 years.
Rutland was active in the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., the Plastics Pioneers Association and the Society of Plastics Engineers. He was awarded the SPE President's Cup.
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