Engineer made most of opportunities in U.S.
When he immigrated from Chios, Greece, to pursue an education, John Mandalakas appreciated the meritocracy he found in the United States.
“There was a fairness — that if you worked hard and did the right thing, you would be successful,” said his son, Nicholas Mandalakas of Lancaster.
John N. Mandalakas of North Huntingdon died on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in UPMC Presbyterian of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 78.
Mr. Mandalakas made his way to the United States in 1956 with help from family members who had immigrated. He studied electrical engineering at Ohio University. Upon graduating in 1961, he moved to Greensburg with his wife, Kay Mandalakas, to work in Westinghouse Semiconductor Division in Youngwood.
“He always had this interest in technology and electricity,” his son said. “He was very much an engineer.”
Mr. Mandalakas earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie-Mellon University. He later worked in Westinghouse's Nuclear Division and Transportation Division, where he helped develop “people movers,” the horizontal escalators used in airports, his son said.
Wanting to develop his ideas, Mr. Mandalakas founded Mesta Electronics in North Huntingdon in 1977. Named for a village in Chios, the company designs and manufactures high-tech power supply equipment. His daughter, Debbie Leventopoulos and her husband, Peter, work for the company.
“My father liked as big of a challenge as you could put in front of him,” his daughter said, adding that he “never really retired.”
Before the company started building its designs in 1986, Mr. Mandalakas was adamant about manufacturing in Western Pennsylvania. As a businessman, his practices were “black and white,” and he never compromised, his son-in-law said.
“I never heard him say anything was too challenging,” Peter Leventopoulos said.
Mr. Mandalakas is survived by his wife, Kay Mandalakas; son Nicholas Mandalakas of Lancaster; daughters Debbie Leventopoulos and husband, Peter, of North Huntingdon, Anna Caldwell and husband, Edwin, of Houston, Texas, and Elaine Demos and husband, Andrew, of Wading River, N.Y.; and eight grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday in Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home, 700 Linden at Cable avenues, East Pittsburgh. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Presentation of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, following an additional half-hour viewing. Burial will follow in Grandview Cemetery, North Versailles.
Memorial donations may be made to the International Orthodox Christian Charities, 110 West Road, Suite 360, Baltimore, MD 21204.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Locke’s difficulties continue thanks to old friends
- Police: Body found beneath Tarentum Bridge is jumper
- City of Asylum app shines light on North Side
- MLB notebook: New Cardinals starters added to active roster
- West Mifflin Legion team exits state tournament
- NFL notebook: Goodell defends Rice’s 2-game suspension
- 3rd-party hopefuls abandon bids for Pennsylvania governor
- 2 cars strike horse near Fayette fair
- Americans in N. Korea beg U.S. for help as trials on vague charges draw near
- ‘Tuesdays’ promises uplifting look at life in shadow of death
- Investigators collect remains, evidence from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 crash site in Ukraine