Wiegel breaks barriers in metal stamping industry
Erica Wiegel of Elk Grove Village wanted to make a name for herself as one of the few women in the metal stamping industry.
So she worked side-by-side with her father, Martin Wiegel, and brothers, Aaron and Ryan, in their family business Wiegel Tool Works, a high-precision metal stamper and tool builder in Wood Dale.
But this year was different. She went on her own, bought another company in July, and now plans to grow it -- in the metal stamping industry.
"It was a big leap for me," Wiegel said. "I left the comfort of my third-generation family business where I was working side by side with my dad and brother my entire career. With any big change brings nerves."
Wiegel, 35, owns Roselle-based Aro Metal Stamping Inc., which has 28 workers who specialize in metal products for the aerospace, defense and automotive industries. She plans to re-brand the company in the "near future," and is focusing on knowing her current customers. She added that her family was happy she took such a leap.
"My plans are to double the company sales in three years or less," Wiegel said.
Wiegel was born and raised in River Grove. Her family then moved to Elk Grove Village when she was in the second grand. Her father and mother, Elza, continue to live in Elk Grove Village.
Watching her father over the years has helped her a lot, she said.
"Growing up I remember going to the shop with my dad on weekends and shadowing him," she said. "We would walk around in the shop and my dad would show me new projects they were working on. One project that I remembered was my dad working on golf ball molds and tennis rackets."
When she was 8, she would help her dad sort parts. One year, a bicycle company approved her dad because they needed help with their parts.
"My brother Aaron and I spent the summer stripping the chrome off the crank arm," she said about the job. "We had a lot of fun and started working very closely together at a young age."
Later, she earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Northern Illinois University. Then she and Aaron took over the Wiegel Tool Works in 2002. They eventually tripled their father's business, she said.
"I feel as if we achieved manufacturing excellence," she said. "Wiegel has all the latest technology, systems and a great time in place. There will always be room for continuous improvements but Wiegel is a premier house. With that being said, I felt as if my talents were being capped and I needed a new challenge."
So when Aro came up, she couldn't turn it down.
"It was the perfect fit for me," she said. "The size, staff, culture, products and the equipment were a perfect fit."
She doesn't take being a woman in a male-dominated industry for granted. She wants to continue to learn and grow with the business.
"I've learned that education is the key. Keep learning," she said." I would like to say that I am used to it. I attended Northern Illinois University where there were very few women in my class. My advice would be to be confident and to find a mentor to help you with your career."
Ready to franchise
Co-founders Scott Ward and Mark Zych said they're ready to expand their Tap House Grill via franchising. The gastropub with craft beers is launching a franchise program targeting the Midwest and aiming later to go nationwide. So far, the Tap House Grill, founded in 2006, has restaurants in St. Charles, Palatine, Oswego, Lemont, Des Plaines, Westmont and Plainfield. They already have agreements for franchises in Springfield and Plainfield. They're aiming for up to 10 franchise locations in the next year. They are also targeting Crystal Lake, Bloomington, Naperville, Schaumburg in Illinois; Kenosha, Madison, Menominee Falls, Brookfield, Glendale in Wisconsin; South Bend, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Indianapolis in Indiana; and Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Kalamazoo in Michigan.
Golden executives celebrate
Kroeschell Inc. President and CEO Edward Swietek and Vice President and Assistant Secretary Sidney Frisch along with Kroeschell Engineering Co. President Richard Pruchniak all mark 50 years at the Arlington Heights company. They celebrated at a gala at The Estate by Gene and Georgetti's in Rosemont. Kroeschell Engineering is a division of Arlington Heights-based Kroeschell Inc., which provides engineering and mechanical services to other companies.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Candace Parker, a Naperville native and former basketball star for Naperville Central High School, is now promoting hair care products called Mixed Chicks, a new line for people of all ethnicities. ... Paul McCool, CEO of Revere Electric Supply in Aurora, was among the honorees inducted last week into the Electric Association Hall of Fame. Others included Dan Fink of Juno Lighting Group in Des Plaines, Richard Jamerson of Jamerson & Bauwens Electrical Contractors in Northbrook and Stefan Lopata of Kelso-Burnett Co. in Rolling Meadows. The gala was held at the Carlisle Distinctive Banquets in Lombard.
Carl Segal, CEO of Roti Mediterranean Grill is opening his 22nd restaurant. The latest one will launch in Northbrook. This time, it will debut a new fast-casual prototype restaurant. He also is changing the brand name from Roti Mediterranean Grill to Roti Modern Mediterranean. The restaurants are in Illinois, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and New York. ... Attorney Chance Badertscher is now on board at Lavelle Law Ltd. in Palatine. ... Rameez Alasadi, a board-certified gastroenterologist has joined the DuPage Medical Group, based in Downers Grove.
Kent and Julie Phillips have owned Sir Speedy Printing in Naperville and Oakbrook for 30 years and renewed their franchise agreement for another 10 years. As a young man, Kent was introduced to the print industry by his father who also worked in the industry. Kent then worked for a Sir Speedy in Aurora, before joining the headquarters of the company. After a few years of working with franchisees in training and new store openings, he and Julie purchased their own franchise.
Sean Skelley has been appointed as president of Home Services at Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp. The former Best Buy Co. executive will focus on Sears' HVAC services and home improvement such as siding, windows, cabinet refacing, kitchen remodeling, roofing, carpet and upholstery cleaning, air duct cleaning, and garage door installation and repair.
Warren Seil, president and partner of Morgan/Harbour Construction in Woodrige said his company will do a 24,000-square-foot build-out for Portillo's corporate office in Oak Brook. Portillo's is relocating from another floor within the Commerce Plaza Office Complex.
MB Real Estate Senior Vice President Pamela Rose and Assistant Vice President David Kimball have completed two long-term leases for Nationwide Acceptance LLC, including a 21,953-square-foot headquarters lease in Rosemont and an 8,400-square-foot office in Elgin. Nationwide is a subprime auto lender owned by Prospect Capital Corp.
• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.