Working at Inline Plastics Corp. isn't a brand-new experience for Alicia Orkisz. She remembers working at the Shelton, Conn., thermoformer when she was in high school.
“I worked there during the summers. Probably even before high school. My first job was putting samples together for customers, when I was a teenager,” Orkisz said.
Inline is a family business, founded by her grandfather, Rudolph, and his brother Gene in 1968. Her dad, Tom, took over in the late 1990s, becoming president and taking ownership of the firm.
“We talked about the business over the dinner table. A lot,” she joked. “I had a constant exposure to it. And we always had the best packaging for Thanksgiving leftovers, I will say that.”
Now Orkisz is back in the thermoforming business, but in a brand new role. The 30-year-old joined the company Aug. 6 as general counsel and director of corporate real estate.
Orkisz returned to Connecticut after spending five years in commercial real estate at Greysteel in Washington, D.C. Orkisz is also a lawyer, and in her new role she will manage all legal matters for the business, as well as analyze, plan and executeplans for the company's real estate.
Thanks to her family connection, Orkisz is already well-acquainted with Inline Plastics. She is proud that the company was one of the first thermoformers to use PET sheet and that it has a reputation for prototyping and design work. The company recently wrapped up a major renovation at its research and development facility in Milford, Conn., which employs 40 people.
“We're known as a leader in our space, in terms of material and tamper-evident technology,” she said. “R&D is something we invest in substantially as a company.”
While her career path wasn't typical, Orkisz said that was by design.
“I always knew I had the intention to come back. The timing was right. I got married last year,” she said. “My dad worked outside the company, too. It gives you a lot of credibility with your peers. It gave me a lot of outside skills.”
Being the third generation at the company is special to her.
“My dad has been the only family member here. He's really excited to have me here. I think I've gotten a lot of support from everyone at Inline,” she said.
“It is extremely rare for a 50-year-old company to stay both privately held and under the ownership and direction of one family,” Tom Orkisz said in a news release. “It is with great pride that our organization welcomes Alicia into the fold to continue the Orkisz legacy.”