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Unity-based Quality Mould a state loan program success story

| Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, 7:12 p.m.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
D.J. Danko (left), president of Quality Mould Inc. in Unity, talks to Secretary Dennis Davin of the Department of Community and Economic Development while giving a tour of the factory on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Brian Gray of Latrobe runs five machining stations at once during the second shift at Quality Mould.

“I am the second shift,” said Gray, one of 26 employees at the Unity company that has expanded its facility and its workforce with the help of a low-interest loan approved through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.

Gray switched to the day shift Friday as Dennis Davin, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, visited the 33,000-square-foot plant during a Jobs that Pay tour.

President D.J. Danko of Ligonier said the $190,000 loan was a key part of a $1.6 million financing package that allowed Quality Mould to purchase and renovate the vacant plant on Arnold Palmer Drive and move from the cramped 12,000 square feet it had occupied at the Latrobe Industrial Park. The loan, made to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Corp. on behalf of the firm, carries a term of 15 years and an interest rate of 3.75 percent.

There was a growing demand for Quality Mould's products, including 12-foot aluminum rods that are used in large electrical breakers. But, at the previous site, Danko said, “My customers didn't think I had the capacity to take on more orders.”

Danko explained the move to a larger space has allowed him to streamline a number of the company's procedures. He now employs a separate staff to preprogram automated stations in the machining department so that machine operators can seamlessly oversee several tasks.

The move also allowed the company to add three employees to its staff, and Danko said plans are to hire more as Quality Mould looks to increase its business by producing plastic trays hospitals and pharmaceutical companies use for organizing pills.

The company has increased its annual business to $4 million and could double that number through the pharmaceutical-related product line, Danko said. The jobs the company has preserved or added through the expansion come with pay at the high end of the industry range, beginning at $14 per hour.

The state loan program is meant to support growth of just such skilled, good-paying jobs, Devin said.

“We're trying to promote companies that are doing things for their employees,” he said, noting that Quality Mould has instituted a four-day, 10-hour work week and the new plant “provides a better environment for their employees.”

Devin said the company is “growing, but they're doing it in the right way. They're diversifying what they can do. This shows how we're going to bring jobs back to Pennsylvania.”

The company produces moulds that its customers use to create a variety of items, including glass foot baths and bathroom sinks. Danko said it also is testing a glass bottle mold for an iced coffee using stronger metal alloys that should give the mold a much longer life in the production process.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622 or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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