John Demakis Sr. was named mold repair person of the year even though he hasn't physically repaired a mold in years. His accomplishments involve building an entire business around the concept of mold repair and finishing to further the industry as a whole, according to nominator Tony Demakis, his son.
For more than 42 years, Demakis has been both a rock and catalyst for most of what happens at Alliance Specialties and Laser Sales, which he started with his friend, Vince Sabella.
The friends started Sabella Polishing in a garage then moved it to a small building and then expanded into a larger facility. They continued to add people and grow the business, making impacts along the way, Tony Demakis said.
"In 1981, they decided that that they could do and be more, so they partnered with Margo Garcia and purchased and established Duro-Chrome. Continuing to be visionaries and pushing to be better, in 1990 they moved operations to the current facility in Wauconda, Ill., and soon after split companies and Alliance Specialties was born," Tony Demakis said.
When a young mold maker named Doug Niggemann was hired, he and John Demakis pioneered laser welding for mold repair and became the first company in the country to offer the solution, according to the nomination letter.
"John also recognized the need in the industry for a company focused strictly on maintenance and repair, a company with no interest in building molds, but instead putting an emphasis on servicing mold makers in the best ways possible," Tony Demakis said.
The next service offered was hot runner maintenance and repair, including a fluidized sandbath oven.
All along, John Demakis built strong relationships with employees.
"I can tell you that the relationships that he has formed over 40 years of business are significant to his life," Tony Demakis said. "He is a godfather to employees' children, as kids we spent countless Christmases and vacations with people at work. I have never met anyone who doesn't have a story or a way that John has impacted their life."
Tony Demakis said his father is a man of integrity with a passion for the industry.
"I can tell you that his tenacity is off the charts. He fights for what he believes and will not stop till it is accomplished," Tony Demakis added. "His will is infectious and his tenacity is inspiring. Tenacity is how he has been able to turn a two-man polishing shop into a 50-plus person hub for all things plastic injection mold repair and finishing."
That hub offers polishing, laser welding, laser engraving, mold repair and hot runner repair and maintenance.
While John Demakis isn't hands-on when it comes to those services, his son said he deserved consideration for the new SPE award and to receive it.
"Like I said, John has not physically cranked handles, or welded, or polished, or changed heaters, or any of the other tasks that go into this category. Instead he built a business where all the work could be done under one roof," Tony Demakis said. "So, when you look for an inaugural nominee for mold repair professional of the year, and you look at all the reasons listed above, to me it doesn't get better than John Demakis."