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Chili firm PKG Equipment invests $1 million to grow

PKG Equipment Inc. is increasing its capabilities, physical size and workforce. The Chili firm has invested more than $1 million in more space and equipment to keep pace with growth.

It added roughly 15,000 square feet to its building on Paul Road to meet demand for custom metal and plastic fabrication of process tanks, industrial ventilation, metal finishing systems and waste treatment equipment. The facility now has 50,000 square feet.

“We have been very busy the past two to three years and had too many people doing too much work in limited space,” said Carla Pontarelli, chief operating officer.

The plastic fabricating department has moved into the new addition, which includes a high bay measuring 40 feet by 160 feet. Metal fabrication and electrical work has expanded into the space that was occupied by the plastic fabricating operation. Three cranes also were purchased.

There has been an increase in work on projects involving automated systems that use more in-house engineering and fabrication capacity, Pontarelli said.

She declined to disclose revenues but said sales have more than doubled since 2010.

Some projects are larger and more complex than they used to be, and the new space allows the company to operate more efficiently and take on larger projects, Pontarelli added.

Company leaders expect sales to increase about 25 percent this year.

PKG Equipment has some 40 workers, including three engineers hired in 2013, and its plans call for increasing the workforce by five people in 2014.

Pontarelli said increased capabilities, a more diversified customer base and the loss of competitors during a sluggish economy have helped the business grow.

The business serves customers across the United States but mainly on the East Coast. Goals this year include increasing overseas business—the company recently landed a deal with a U.S.-based company for a facility in Romania—as well as increasing business in the steel manufacturing market.

PKG Equipment is a second-generation, family-owned company. It is a manufacturer and service provider of equipment typically used in the finishing, chemical manufacturing, steel manufacturing and glass manufacturing industries.

Pontarelli runs the business with her brother, CEO Stephen Pontarelli, and sister, Maria Pontarelli, chief financial officer.

PKG Equipment was founded in 1969 by Sam Pontarelli, the current management team’s father, and two partners who sold their shares to him in the1970s. The business started with three employees in 2,300 square feet of space in East Rochester, fabricating metal tanks and racks for the plating industry.

During the 1970s, the company began fabricating plating equipment using thermoplastics, and it purchased European plastic welding and forming machines in the early 1980s. PKG Equipment began manufacturing turnkey plating systems and also became a distributor for related equipment.

It moved to its current facility in 1990. Five years later, the siblings bought the business.

Thomas Greenberg, president of Virginia-based Alliance Engraving LLC, has worked with the firm since 1975, and the companies have a great working relationship, he said.

Greenberg has worked with PKG Equipment management, its engineering team and field technicians on projects ranging from complex waste treatment systems to simpler pump and exhaust systems. PKG Equipment is also Alliance Engraving’s top supplier for hot oil systems it offers with its machinery.

“I have never been disappointed with their professionalism and quality of their work,” Greenberg said.

2/28/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected]

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