Plastek Nominates Founder for Plastics Hall of Fame 2021

The Plastek Group Nominates Founder For Plastics Hall of Fame 2021

1. – Industry Influencer : First-Generation hands-on Apprentice & Innovator
2. – Successful Entrepreneur & Business Developer
3. – Receiver of Honorable Mentions : Industry Awards and Accolades
4. – Active Community Enthusiast : Philanthropist, Supporter & Partner for Education & Charity


Joe Prischak’s Background and Story: 
Joseph J. Prischak is the founder of The Plastek Group, a global injection molder with operations in the US, the UK, Brazil, and Mexico that today employs more than 2,500 people.  The Plastek Group specializes in Industrial Design, Mold Design and Tool Build, Molding, Assembly, Decorating, and much more.

  • Joe grew up on a farm in northwestern Pennsylvania and attended Conneaut Valley High School.
  • At an early age he knew he wanted something different.
  • 1949 at the age of 18 he came to Erie, Pa and began working various jobs including bussing tables at a local restaurant, putting up roofs on houses in the area and finally at a company called Erie Resistor where he ground scrap runners in their plastic molding division.
  • Erie Resistor was a pioneer in electrical resistors and then plastic injection molding. In fact, local lore says the 2nd injection molding machine in the US came to Erie Resistor in the fall of 1935
  • Served in the US Army 1951-1953 in aircraft maintenance then returned to Erie and Erie Resistor as well as having a 2nd job at Penn Erie Tool Shop (later to be acquired by Plastek)
  • Started Triangle Tool in 1956

Serving as the CEO from 1956 to 2002 and currently as Chairman of the Board, Prischak has stewarded the growth and development of The Plastek Group. From the early start of Joe’s career, he recognized the potential of the tool making field and founded Triangle Tool Company in 1956. After many years of hard work and earning a reputation as an expert in the tool making industry, Joe looked to put those tools to work with a natural progression into injection molding. In 1971 Prischak set the molds and started up the presses, and over the years perfected the plastics manufacturing craft to solidify his place in all aspects of the plastics industry.

  • Started Plastek in 1971
  • Started Plastek UK in 1999 as 1st international plant with subsequent companies in Brazil (2000), and Mexico 2015)
  • Subsequent international facilities in Brazil (2000), and Mexico (2015)
  • Investment in IRG (2020) to begin another chapter for Erie in the plastics industry.

Superior practices and embracing a mission which only continued to grow from the tool builder, the molder, a 3rd generation family business, to serving the end user, Prischak has secured many patents and has received numerous accolades and awards including being named the winner of the “Master Entrepreneur of the Year” Award which is sponsored by Inc. Magazine, Merril Lynch Financial Services, and Ernst and Young.  


The Plastek Group Today:


  • Mold Making Divisions
    • Triangle Tool Division
    • Penn Erie Division
    • Brazil Tooling Division


  • Pioneer Automation Division
  • Presque Isle Trucking Division


  • Molding Divisions:
    • Engineered Plastics Division
    • Consumer Products Division
    • Spectrum Molding Division
    • Plastek Brazil
    • Plastek Mexico 

 Prischak’s career footprints have contributed to Plastek’s substantial influence and global presence as well as to the booming growth of the plastics industry as a whole. Furthermore, for example, announcing in 2020, the investment in International Recycling Group (IRG), an Erie, Pa based startup company dedicated to becoming the first Super Plastics Recycling Factory. (SuperPRF) will be a secondary sorting facility for valuable plastics used for Post-Consumer Resin, with the remaining plastic scrap being sold to US Steel, Arcelor Mittal, and others for use in their blast furnaces, replacing metallurgical coal or natural gas that is currently being used, thus lowering the steel companies carbon footprint and completely avoiding sending it to landfills. Prischak’s passion for the plastics industry will continue to flourish well into the future through his philanthropy work in establishing programs dedicated to plastics via Penn State Behrend’s Plastics Engineering Technology Program, Richmond Community College’s Joseph Prischak Center for Engineering Technology, and many other charitable efforts.    

Testimonials in Support of Joe’s Nomination:

Ralph M. Ford, Ph.D., Chancellor, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
“Joe Prischak is a pioneer and visionary of the plastics industry and his legacy will last for generations to come.  Joe is the father of the internationally recognized Plastics Engineering Technology program at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. This program would not have been created if Joe had not had the foresight and generosity to help Penn State Behrend create this program.  Since the early 1990’s this program has produced over 1000 graduates who are advancing the plastics industry and it has grown to the largest undergraduate plastics program in the country.”

John Beaumont, CEO/CTO Beaumont | AIM Institute
“I would like to offer my endorsement of Joseph Prischak to be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame.  Joe has had a significant influence on the plastics industry over the past 60 years since he founded Triangle Tool in Erie PA, back in 1956. Joe was first introduced to plastics when he worked at Erie Resistor which had purchased possibly the first true injection molding machine from a German machine builder back in 1935. His Triangle Tool was the first precision mold builder in the Erie region, which was at its infancy of becoming one of the country’s major centers for injection molding and mold building. Joe later founded Plastek in 1971, which today is one of the largest molders in the country having multiple locations in the U.S., United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico. Though Mr. Prischak was certainly a pioneer in the plastics industry. I feel possibly his biggest impact on the plastics industry has been in his initiatives to help others through his educational initiatives. Joe has been involved with the start-up of two plastic degree programs in the U.S., one in Czechoslovakia and founded Mold Making Technology Magazine. Joe was one of the industry leaders in Erie that pursued Penn State University to start up a Bachelor of Science Degree program at Penn State Erie in the mid 1980’s. He was a leader in this initiative, providing both guidance and financial assistance. Joe not only helped define what the program was to be, but he provided a significant portion of the initial funding required to launch the program. Since its first graduating class of four in 1989, the program has now graduated over 1,000 students who have moved on to provide their own contributions to the plastics industry. Since the programs beginnings, Joseph has contributed an additional $500,000 towards classroom and lab facilities as well as providing over $2M in academic scholarships. I’d like to note that his philanthropy in support of education extends to support humanitarian initiatives such as Africa 6000 which he founded in 2006. This initiative has been reported to have saved over 750,000 lives. We should be very proud to have someone like Joseph Prischak as a member and representative of the Plastics Hall of Fame.”

— William D. McInnis, Ed.D  President, Richmond Community College   
“Since 2010, Joe Prischak has had a transformative impact on Richmond County and the surrounding areas of North Carolina. He revitalized the plastics industry in our state when he brought Plastek to Hamlet, exceeding all expectations for job growth and production. His personal investments in our community are felt every day by the engineering and trades students learning new careers in the Joseph J. Prischak Engineering Technology Center at Richmond Community College. His vision and energy inspire every person he meets, because Joe Prischak treats his employees like his family, and he treats our community like his own.”

Christina Fuges Editorial Director, MoldMaking Technology and Technical Director, Amerimold Tech Talk Program “Back in the 1950s, mold making was very different from what it is today. According to Joe, one of the biggest differences was the secretive nature of the early mold making industry. Joe saw the need for information-sharing within the critical mold making community, which became his inspiration for a trade publication dedicated exclusively to mold making. Joe assembled a team to join his crusade and launched MoldMaking Technology (MMT) magazine in 1998. For seven more years, Joe invested in MMT, and also helped to launch a trade show and conference—MoldMaking Expo (now Amerimold). The magazine continued exposing a lot of the technologies, processes and strategies that were used in mold manufacturing.  Joe believed the articles highlighted real-life things that were happening in the industry. Now everything was not a secret. As the magazine continued to grow, Joe was on the lookout to pass the publication on to a company that could take it to the next level. In 2004, he sold the magazine to Gardner Business Media (GBM), a family-owned publishing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

— Troy Nix, Executive Director Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors
“Joseph J. Prischak has made major contributions to shape the direction and future of the plastics industry. Today, the company he has built touches the lives of literally millions of people across the globe. Joe’s all-around contributions to the business, technology, innovation and education of plastics truly sets the standards for all of us in this great industry.”

— Pete Fedorko, Founder of Parm Tool & Die

“ Working next to Joe at Triangle Tool showed me the hardwork and dedication of this man. When I left Triangle
Tool to start Parm Tool & Die, Joe showed his true friendship by sending us work over the years. I still call him a
good friend today!“

— Bob Strickley Sr., Vice President  Sales  Milacron (retired)

“I recall Joe Prischak as one true “American” in the plastics industry who had a positive entrepreneurial spirit, his can do attitude was contagious, exciting. While we did not know it then ,these days were indeed the good old days when everything in plastics was exploding with growth opportunities.  Only the brave business person could rise to the occasion and create a growing company that came to employ many people.  The element of “risk” was huge, it took skill to master the demands of the ever growing changes. Joe Prischak is a leader in the plastics industry, and a pioneer that is driven by advanced technology. As a supplier to the Plastek Group Joe was always professional, courteous, honest, fair, and on a constant quest for advanced technology. His leadership enabled  a culture that reflected his positive core values. I recall the “risk” and “challenge of rapid growth ” which occurred in the 1989-1990 time frame when Plastek placed an order for 100 Vista toggle injection molding machines from Cincinnati Milacron. With this order alone it helped Vista toggle machine become the most successful machine line in the industry and that was 100% Made in the USA.  The impact was huge not only for Cincinnati Milacron and its employees in Batavia, Ohio and Mt. Orab, Ohio but for the Erie, Pa. area as well. The Plastek Group always has enabled a dedication to customers that every employee practiced each and every day.  This culture was created, natured and advanced by Joe. In summary, Joseph J. Prischak has since 1956 been  positively impactful for the Plastics Industry and through his humility has shown dedication to the cause of improving the human condition.”

 — Mac Jones, President, Milacron  and 

Andy Stirn, VP of Sales, North America Injection Equipment & Aftermarket  

“Milacron is honored to carry on our longstanding relationship, now spanning over 4 decades, with The Plastek Group and the Prischak family due to Joe Prischak. Joe has dedicated his life to the development and advancement of the plastics industry before it even existed in the US. Coming from a farming family, he started one of the first tooling companies for high-precision injection molds in 1956 which is still flourishing today, followed by the global injection molding business, Plastek Group and Triangle Tool Company. In 1989 Prischak placed Milacron’s first recorded order of over 100 machines. Joe has pushed the industry forward by creating MoldMaking Technology Magazine and assisting in birth of the Plastics Training/Engineering programs at Richmond Community College and Penn State Behrend. The demand for his work speaks for itself as molders and tool makers across various markets attribute their successes to his vision and endless endeavors to promote our industry. Joe Prischak is one of the leading pioneer’s for modern plastics and we cannot think of a better candidate for such a distinct honor.”

— Matt Jeglinski, President / Owner, Moon Tool & Die Co.
“Joe Prischak was instrumental in my personal development in acquiring Moon Tool & Die Co. in Meadville PA.  While working with Joe and the Prischak family, the Plastek Groups business model illustrated that there were opportunities in the market place for entrepreneurship.  Joe’s entrepreneurial spirit is a driver of inspiration in our industry.  His methodology of training and one-on-one interaction with customers and employees helped develop my confidence in business and allowed me to take the leap.”


Award Recipient:

Bob and Betty Merwin Outstanding Citizen Award

Ageless Remarkable Erieite Honorees

Erie Businessman, Philanthropist Joseph Prischak Named Honorary Alumnus

Plastics News : U.S. Processor of The Year Finalist 2018 & 2019
And Europe POY Winner 2013 & 2017

Affiliated Businesses & Philanthropy:

Mold Making Technology

HaVACo Technologies

Africa 6000 International

Penn State Behrend Scholarships
Richmond Community College Expansion/Prischak Center

International Recycling Group (IRG)

Hamot Corporation Board
Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows
Echocath, Inc Board Member
Director at IPEC Holdings Inc.

Plastics News Articles Customer Focus Pays Off for Plastek Industries

Training and Education Is Major Focus with the Tooling Divisions of The Plastek Group

Open for Business : Eight innovative companies influencing our region

Plastek honored for public service for school, water projects                  
Plastek Grows Into A Regional Powerhouse



The Plastek Group Nominates Founder For Plastics Hall of Fame 2021

The Plastek Group- Nichole Freeman- 9-30-2020


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