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Rochester Top 100: Company finds success in diversification

Rochester Business Journal
July 22, 2016

The Pontarelli brother and sisters team at PKG Equipment Inc. has owned and operated the Chili-based company since their father, Sam Pontarelli, retired in 1995.

Stephen Pontarelli is president and CEO, Carla Pontarelli is chief operating officer and Maria Pontarelli is chief financial officer.

Three other siblings in the family chose interests other than the family business, which was founded in 1969.

The company specializes in the design, manufacture and installation of wet and dry industrial process equipment, such as process tanks, ventilation and metal finishing systems, at its 50,000-square-foot facility on Paul Road.

Its customers are manufacturers and tiered suppliers of a wide array of products such as appliances, aircraft components and pharmaceuticals.

Much of the company growth over the past three years is credited to the diversification of its customer base and the expansion of its product line.

“We’re making a push into the glass and metal industry—primary metals such as stainless steel or aluminum,” Stephen Pontarelli said.

A deeper focus on the Midwest also has helped the company gain market share, in part because PKG has picked up where competitors have fallen off, he said.

“Some competitors in that area are no longer around,” Pontarelli said.

Other opportunities he sees as the company looks forward include the expansion of government contracts. That is true especially with the military, where there is a great demand for the equipment PKG manufactures.

“We manufacture chemical-processing equipment for companies that manufacture vehicles, aircrafts, weapons and components for military equipment.”

A project that the Pontarelli team is proudest of was completed in Romania for a manufacturer of aerospace products.

“The project included a process line for anodizing various aircraft parts and included a dye penetrant line for inspecting parts,” Pontarelli said.

The project was completed last year, but PKG is building additional equipment for them.

“This equipment is for another type of anodizing that will help them meet the specifications of Boeing,” he said.

Overseas work has grown significantly for PKG over the past three years, and Pontarelli estimates some 50 percent of the company’s jobs are international, with contracts in Australia, Japan, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands.

“Our guys have passports and are used to the travel,” Pontarelli said. “Some of these factories are not in the most glamorous places, though.”

Recruiting a skilled workforce is one of the challenges the company faces.

“We work with Alfred State College and the welding group at BOCES to try to stay connected to instructors,” Pontarelli said. It’s a good way to locate qualified workers.

Employment has been steady with PKG’s current total of 36 full-time workers. The company employed a staff of 37 in 2013, 40 in 2014 and 35 in 2015.

Building relationships has been central to the company’s success.

“They’ve done real well for us,” said longtime customer Glenn Wyland, wire mill superintendent at Wirerope Works Inc., based in Williamsport, Pa.

The company produces wire for elevator rope, bridge suspension, roof supports, the marine sector and the mining industry.

PKG Equipment has completed several $500,000 projects for Wirerope throughout their 12-year relationship, Wyland said. The most recent work included a custom-built cooling tower.

“Everything they’ve done has helped improve our business,” Wyland said. “We can’t process our wire if we don’t have these tanks in line. They’re crucial to running our business.”

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2016 Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 3. For more information, go to

PKG Equipment Inc.
Manufacturer of custom fabricated, corrosive resistant process equipment
Year Founded: 1969
Top executive: Stephen Pontarelli, CEO
Current employment: 36
2015 ranking: 14
Headquarters: Chili

7/22/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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