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Duo selected for annual entrepreneurial honor

Rochester Business Journal
February 28, 2014

Michael Nuccitelli and Ronald Ricotta say their success is due in part to keeping their emotions out of the boardroom.

“When something comes up, there’s no sense of blame,” Nuccitelli said. “We just put our heads together and solve problems.”

The approach works for the pair, co-owners of Century Mold Inc. and Parlec Inc. The businesses combined employ nearly 1,000 people—including roughly 300 in the Rochester area—and have annual sales of more than $165 million.

Nuccitelli and Ricotta, business partners since 1992, are to receive the 2014 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award. The award is presented annually by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business and is named after an entrepreneur, attorney and co-founder of Harris Corp.’s RF Communications division.

Vanden Brul, who died in 2003, created the award in 1984 to recognize an individual who successfully develops a business that improves the Rochester economy or whose innovative management skills have changed the course of an existing business.

This year’s award luncheon is planned for April 22 at Oak Hill Country Club.

Robert Morgan of Morgan Management LLC received the award last year. Past recipients include the late Ernest Del Monte Sr., Arunas Chesonis, Mary Catherine Van Bortel, James Hammer and Richard Kaplan.

Nuccitelli and Ricotta said this week that the recognition is gratifying and humbling, especially given Vanden Brul’s history and those of the past recipients.

“It’s nice to be honored as partners,” Ricotta said.

While they are in regular, if not daily, contact, the two have different roles within their businesses.

Ricotta serves as president and CEO of Century Mold in Ogden, while Nuccitelli is president and CEO of Perinton-based Parlec.

Both leaders say they have complementary skills: Nuccitelli has the engineering background and Ricotta is the numbers guy.

They met 34 years ago when Nuccitelli was a high school senior and Ricotta was just out of college, working for an accounting firm that did business with Nuccitelli’s family business, Nationwide Precision Products Corp. Ricotta later joined Nationwide Precision, where Nuccitelli was at the helm.

Nationwide Precision was later sold. In 1992, Ricotta and Nuccitelli acquired Parlec. In 2002, they purchased Century Mold.

Nuccitelli spoke about his partnership with Ricotta in a 2005 interview with the Rochester Business Journal.

“I think we do the basics better than anyone,” Nuccitelli said then. “We don’t get too fancy, we understand manufacturing and we just do it better than anyone else.”

Century Mold is primarily an automotive manufacturer with its parts used on 80 percent of the vehicles produced in North America. Those parts include HVAC components, fans, radiators, engine components and wiring channels. Century Mold also makes energy meters, firearm parts and missile parts for the defense industry.

The company employs some 800 workers at six locations, including Rochester and others in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Mexico. The business logs sales of $140 million.

Parlec manufactures proprietary tool and tool-measuring products. Its 4,000 products are used in computerized manufacturing equipment that cuts metal. Products include boring tools, tool holders and presetters. The products are used in various industries, including aerospace.

Parlec has roughly 150 workers and sales of $27 million. In addition to its local site, the company has an operation in China.

This year, Century Mold will invest some $3 million in new equipment for its local plant. Ricotta estimates the firm will add up to 25 workers and increase annual sales by roughly $15 million. The goal for Century is to grow to a $200 million company in the next four to five years, he said.

As for Parlec, growth will come through the acceleration of new product development, continued growth in the U.S. market and further penetration of markets in China and Mexico, Nuccitelli said.

While each has a different focus, the two agree that their partnership continues to work.

“We are closer today than when we started,” Nuccitelli said. “He’s just like a brother.”

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

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