BY KATIE MATTESON
When Tom Marini took the reins of the family business in 2003, he built upon the foundation established by his grandfather and father to grow Marini Manufacturing, Inc. into a leading provider of precision CNC machined parts and assemblies to the agricultural, construction, forestry and energy markets.
He also credits his talented and dedicated employees for the company’s expansion from four to 30 employees and from a 3,000 square foot tool and die shop behind his grandparents’ home to a 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility at 5100 21st St.
After graduating from St. Catherine’s High School in 1989, Marini started working alongside his grandfather and father to learn the trade, went to Gateway Technical College to become a journeyman toolmaker and gradually assumed more responsibility in the family business.
His grandfather, Albert Marini, Sr. founded Marini Tool and Die on July 1, 1952 and made a name for himself by patenting a change tool adapter in 1962 and a collet release system in 1967. His previous employer, Gorton Machine, needed such products and under a licensing agreement began purchasing them for use on its various milling machines. This provided steady and reliable work for the company.
Around this time, Tom Marini’s father, Albert T. Marini, Jr., joined the company. Together with a few dedicated employees, the father and son continued the tool work and product line for many years. In addition, they began to do limited parts manufacturing on manual mills, lathes and grinders for customers such as Twin Disc, Inc., InSinkerator, Snap-on Tools, Jacobsen Manufacturing, Inc., Modine Manufacturing Company and Giddings & Lewis Machine Tool Co.
In 1992, the company purchased its first CNC machining center and by 1998 the company had numerous CNC machines and began to hire additional employees.
The move to 21st Street came in 2000, when 27-year-old Tom Marini purchased the Scan-O-Matic company and building. In 2010, Marini added 10,000 square feet of warehouse space to the 20,000 square foot building.
Albert Marini Sr. officially retired in 1982, but still made regular visits to the company well into his 80s. His son retired in 1998.
“I was so fortunate to have the chance to work with both my father and grandfather.” Tom Marini said. “That’s the part I really miss.”
Another important step in the company’s evolution was when Marini connected with a key customer that solidified the transformation of the company from a tool and die shop to a production machining company. This 20-year subcontracting relationship keeps regular work coming into the plant to complement the flow of jobs that Marini secures directly.
Through the years, Marini has learned a lot about the processes involved in growing and maintaining a successful machining operation and has developed a company called Machinist Maker, Inc. to share his knowledge with others.
Its website, machinistmaker.com, provides information for CNC machinists about essential skills (soft skills, hard skills and work ethic) and resources for parents, educators and businesses. Visitors can also sign up for the newsletter called “Smooth Operator,” which covers topics such as “Overtime Explained,” “Three Components to Running Parts” and “Attendance and Reliability.”
Marini is also a regular contributor to Modern Machine Shop magazine. His recent articles were entitled, “Are You Irreplaceable?” and “Good Leaders Have the Difficult Conversations.”
He also participates locally in the CEO Roundtable organized by the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC), as well as the Ascension All Saints Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Foundation and the Finance Committee of Siena Catholic Schools of Racine.
Marini and his wife, Nicki, have three children, ages 11, 9 and 8, who attend St. Lucy Catholic School.
And while there’s no longer a need for shop aprons and hand-drawn plans, Marini still derives much inspiration from the foundation of the family business that his grandfather started 67 years ago and the prospect of what’s to come.