CINCINNATI, OH—September 17, 2007—The Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE)--Thermoforming Division today honored Jack Pregont, 78, founder and Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Prent Corporation, with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his more than 40 years of thermoforming leadership. The announcement was made during evening ceremonies at the organization’s 17th Annual Convention in Cincinnati.
Prent Corporation is the largest maker of thermoform packaging for the medical industry and a leading thermoformer of retail and industrial packaging for the electronics industry. The company, employing 1,000, is headquartered in Janesville, WI, with satellite facilities in Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and Arizona.
“I’m humbled to receive this honor, especially from an organization that contributes so much to furthering excellence within the thermoforming industry,” said Pregont, who retired in 1985, turning the corporation’s leadership over to his son Joe Pregont.
Jack Pregont is SPE’s 1989 recipient of the “Thermoformer of the Year” Award. Additionally, in 1981, he helped found and was first chairman of the Thermoforming Institute of the Society of Plastic Industry (SPI), an organization of thermoforming company owners and CEOs.
Over the years Pregont pioneered many new thermoforming techniques. Under his leadership and direction, Prent:
• Received several patents including one for the 3-panel fold-up (Rack' n Stand) –which became an industry standard
• Thermoformed and was the first to RF-weld rigid PVC packaging
• Invented the “fade away” hinge and the “dove tailed” hinge.
Driven by the pursuit of total quality and a desire to control his processes, Jack also:
• Formed GOEX Corp. in 1983 to extrude PVC plastic
• Designed and manufactured custom, matched thermoformers
• Pioneered the “mini-shift,” a part-time manufacturing labor concept featured in the media and still in use today.
The son of a retail baker in Janesville, WI, Jack Pregont points to 1948 as the year his interest in plastics first began. A neighbor gave the teenage boy a stack of old Popular Mechanics. One magazine article in particular caught his attention: it was about how celluloid ping-pong balls were made.
“As far back as I can remember,” he says, “I was scrounging around for pieces of plastic to mold. My mother’s kitchen oven was my heat source and she complained about that for the rest of her life!” Most of his early projects were bakery related, which evolved into a line of mail order cake decorating novelties.
Later, when he was developing a formed plastic merry-go-round to market to the bakery industry, the new owners of the Janesville Paper Box Company suggested he develop plastic packaging for them on a commission basis. In return he would be allowed to use their forming equipment to produce his merry-go-round. Within three years, the plastics department exceeded the box business.
Frustrated, however, by the lack of time to thermoform his project, Jack left the company. Just as he was ready to strike out on his own, the Janesville-based Parker Pen Company asked Jack to join its executive training program.
He did, and has never regretted the decision. “During my seven years with Parker, I gained invaluable experience traveling and doing everything from sales promotion to working with Parker’s automation subsidiary.”
Meanwhile, Jack moonlighted in the bakery basement selling plans for a simple thermoforming machine—through ads in Popular Mechanics—and thermoforming current fads for birthday cake decorations.
By 1966, the profits he earned selling batman molds allowed Jack to buy an old 10,000 sq. ft. silo factory. He acquired two beat up forming machines from a Rubber Maid Company junk pile, updated them to a competitive level and cleaned up the building. Finally in November 1967 Prent Corporation was open for business with 15 employees.
Success came quickly to Jack. After three years, Prent’s employment doubled and Jack was able to establish model and tool departments.
After four years in business, Jack received his first packaging award from the Paperboard Packaging Council. This began a continuing series of major packaging industry awards and citations including eight prestigious World Stars.
After just six years in business, with sales doubling every year and employment reaching 100, Jack was running out of room in his silo factory. By 1974, he had constructed and moved into a new state-of-the-art thermoforming facility.
In 1985, after nearly 20 years in business, Jack turned over the day-to-day reins of the company to his son Joe Pregont—himself the 2001 SPE “Thermoformer of the Year”.
Today Jack Pregont is Prent Corporation’s Chairman Emeritus. The legacy he started in 1967 lives on. In the years since his retirement, Joe Pregont has taken the company well beyond the next level, where it is recognized today as one of the world’s leading custom thermoformers with global operations.
Jack Pregont lives in Florida with his wife Carol.
ABOUT PRENT CORPORATION: Prent is the world’s leading designer and producer of thermoform packages for the medical industry. Headquartered in Janesville, WI, it has over 1,000 employees worldwide at its operations in Wisconsin, Arizona, Singapore, Malaysia, Shanghai and Puerto Rico. Prent is ISO 9001:2000 certified, manufactures in Class 100,000 production and secondary clean room environments, and utilizes Six Sigma lean initiatives, process excellence and continuous process improvement.
For more information visit www.prent.com or contact Vicki Damron, Prent Marketing, at 608-758-1150 or firstname.lastname@example.org