Brian Bechard, president and CEO of foaming technology firm Trexel Inc., died of a sudden heart attack on Aug. 6.
Bechard, 48, was competing in a rowing race on the Merrimack River when he had the heart attack, officials with Trexel in Wilmington, Mass., said in a news release.
"While taken too soon, [Bechard] was engaging his athletic passions and doing what he loved," they added. "His leadership, energy, and commitment to the company were extraordinary."
Bechard had served as Trexel's CEO since 2015. Officials said that through his leadership and vison, Trexel was able to advance its MuCell technology into new markets and applications.
When Bechard arrived at Trexel, the firm mainly supplied its technology to the automotive industry. Today, while continuing to serve the automotive industry, Trexel has products and customers in packaging, footwear, blow molding and electronics, as well as initiatives in the EV market, officials said.
Trexel employees described Bechard as open, fair, supportive and a respected role model. "He was a man of integrity and strength, always having a positive, but straightforward outlook," officials said. "These attributes served him and Trexel well as he deepened and expanded our relationships with our key partners globally."
Prior to joining Trexel, Bechard ran businesses in Europe and North America for Synventive, managed an injection molding and extrusion plant for Avery Dennison and served as a combat engineering officer in the U.S. Army. Bechard was a graduate of West Point and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bechard is survived by his wife, Patty, and their two sons Nathan and Evan. Officials said that as Trexel undertakes its search for a CEO, Chairman David Bernstein will serve as interim CEO. The firm's day-to-day management will be handled by vice presidents Levi Kishbaugh and Petr Janik.
Trexel has led the development of MuCell microcellular foaming injection molding technology and has pioneered many plastic processing solutions. The technology provides design flexibility and cost savings by allowing plastic part design with material wall thickness optimized for functionality instead of for the injection molding process.