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NEW CONCORD The Fabri-Form Co. swung wide its doors to the public Wednesday in an open-house celebration as three milestones in the company history converge this month.
John W. Knight IV assumed the helm of the family business 30 years ago and yesterday he turned the day-to-day steering of the company over to Robert Zachrich.
Knight will remain chief executive officer and chairman of Fabri-Forms board of directors. However, he has passed the baton of the company president to Zachrich.
I like to say that were turning the page for the company, Knight said.
And what a storied novel it has been. In just three days on Oct. 9 the company will mark its 68th year in business (the third company milestone of this month).
Actually, Knights father may have started the business as early as the winter prior to October 1943. Initially, the business was a bootstrap operation that began in the basement of the familys Byesville home.
But it was on Oct. 9 that the first record of an employee emerges and so that has become the companys official birthday.
From the beginning, Fabri-Form was a scrappy enterprise, full of a spirit of innovation and marked by resourcefulness and dedicated employees many of whom spent their entire careers with the company.
Those qualities have persisted to this day in good times and bad, Knight said.
As technology has evolved and products have emerged and died, the company has had to reinvent itself many times over.
Its been through a lot, but its a resilient company, Knight said.
As he passes the baton of president to Zachrich, Knight remained confident that the company will continue to prosper.
Rob is a guy of great character, Knight said. He shares our ethics and our professionalism.
Character is important to Knight and all of the Fabri-Form family.
We have always made decisions using our moral compass, he said. Rob shares that.
There wont be any transition in terms of thought process because we think the same. So, its going to be an easy transition.
Zachrich brings a record of accomplishment and business experience to the presidents office, Knight said.
He was trained at General Electric and was actually trained by Jack Welchs people, Knight said. He was a captain in the Marine Corps and has great leadership skills.
Zachrich bring to the table skills and talents that Knight believes will serve the company well.
The CEO continues to be excited about the companys future.
We have younger people today, talented people, he said. Theyre bringing fresh ideas and new thought processes with them and were running with that.
Were poised for very strong growth in the future as a result - not only because of Rob, but because of the people he has put under him.
Zachrich was especially bullish about the companys prospects.
Since the end of 2009, weve added 44 jobs, said Zachrich, who was promoted to the company presidency from his previous position as vice president of sales and marketing.
I believe 2012 and 2013 are going to be really good years for us, he said. The markets we are in are really strong.
Fabri-Forms core market comprises the automotive and reusable packaging fields.
The company will continue to be an exemplar of innovation and a leader in the thermoforming industry, he said. It will not grow complacent. Complacency is dangerous for business.
And being complacent is boring, Zachrich added. Were going to have a lot of fun trying new things and working hard at it. Not all of them will work out, but some of them will.
Zachrich sees manufacturing as the backbone of our country and our economy.
This is where people are employed, he said. This is where the economy is driven and where communities stay vibrant.
Switching from large, lumbering investor-owned companies to a smaller more entrepreneurial company has proven to be invigorating for Zachrich.
This is the first private company that I have been a part of and its a lot more fun. Its the American dream.