For Rocheleau Tool & Die Co. Inc., family has played a big part in their growth and success, and it is a big reason why it continues to showcase itself at Plastimagen.
“My grandfather started the company in 1938 and we are the third generation of our family that runs it — that is an aspect that carries well in Mexico and Latin America. A lot of them are family-run and I think appreciate other family-run companies,” said Steven Rocheleau, president of Rocheleau Tool & Die of Fitchburg, Mass., in a phone interview.
He said that the Massachusetts-based company has been selling in Mexico since the 1970s. It started attending Plastimagen in the 1990s. The Mexican market accounts for about 20 percent of its business. Rocheleau has sales representation in Guadalajara and Monterrey.
Plastimagen also allows it to meet with Latin American customers that attend the show. Rocheleau said that besides the actual exhibiting, it also gives them a chance to renew old acquaintances.
The company supplies custom blow molding systems including reciprocating screw and continuous extrusion, as well as automation equipment. It also provides service and maintenance for the products.
The blow molding equipment is used by many different industries, but Rocheleau said dairy and personal care packaging have been two of the strongest markets. It is also used for manufacturing other things like plumbing fixtures and industrial products.
Rocheleau was founded in 1938 by Leopold Rocheleau, who sold a patented line of cutter grinder fixtures and sliding swivel indicator bases.
Rocheleau said family is an important message that drives the company. Fourteen years ago, seven members of the third generation got together to purchase the company from his father.
He said that they've all worked together since then, and that is advantage. Chances are when a customer calls, they are speaking directly with one of the owners. Rocheleau has 65 employees and 12 of them are either third or fourth generation members of the Rocheleau family.
Besides Steven, other owners include Jeff Rocheleau, the vice president of engineering: Lisa Rocheleau, the CFO: Cathy Rocheleau, sales administrator; Dan Rocheleau, plant manager; Kevin Hastings, electrical engineer; and Rob Hastings, parts and service manager.
Rocheleau said that sales have more than tripled since the buyout, and he credited the boost to a focus on larger equipment and the broadening of its market base.
“The seven of us have been involved with the company a long time — there was probably a 30-year average of experience. Everybody knew what to expect when we put the deal together because we had worked together a long time and we had confidence that it would work,” he said.
Now, they are laying the groundwork for the next generation, as members of the fourth generation are working in jobs to learn the business from the ground up.