Longtime employee Debra Lee is now the CEO for Tool Gauge & Machine Works Inc. and Plastic Molded Products Inc. as the companies ramp up with a plan for new machinery and a new building.
The companies have been owned by the Lackermayer family for 50 years. Lisa Lackermayer is stepping down as CEO, but will continue as chairwoman of the board of directors. Her sons Kirk and Mark have left the company to pursue other opportunities, but continue to be board members.
The Tacoma, Wash., company was started in 1966 by George Lackermayer, who died in 2012.
Lee said that she was excited with the challenge of her new role and sees a great future for the companies.
“The company is growing — we've actually grown by $4 million in each division in the last three years,” she said.
Plastic Molded Products is upgrading its injection molding machines, replacing 10 of its 15 with all-electric Sumitomo machines next month. They include machines ranging in tonnage from 150 to 350.
Tool Gauge & Machine Works has added $4 million in capital equipment over the last two years. It includes the company's first five-axis Mori Seiki router.
She said that the two companies work well together — one does the machining and also supplies tooling for the injection molder. It is a Tier 1 supplier to Boeing and has earned supplier awards six years in a row for its on-time and quality performance.
The companies occupy a 65,000-square-foot, two-building complex and are planning a 22,000-square-foot expansion. They have a combined 127 employees.
Lee brings a lot of experience to the CEO role. She started her career working at an injection molder.
“I started on the shop floor and then did a whole gamut of jobs,” she said. “My first company was an injection molder. Most people change jobs in their 16 years, but I changed jobs in the same company, so I never found it to be boring.”
Lee later switched to metal manufacturing as a project manager with Tool Gauge and worked her way to operations manager. She has now spent 15 years with the Tacoma companies, moving up to chief operating officer and now, CEO.
Lisa Lackermayer sent a letter to stakeholders Sept. 28 to announce the change and said that Lee “expressed her desire to continue the fifty-year tradition of the Lackermayer family's commitment to quality products and customer service.”