FLiP Files – Zack Rocheleau, Rocheleau Tool & Die
While growing up with his family in the plastics industry, Zack Rocheleau wasn’t sure where he would fit in with the family business.
Zack grew up as a fourth-generation family member involved in the plastics industry. His great grandfather founded Rocheleau Tool & Die, located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, in 1938 and his family has owned the company since then. When he was 18, he got a job sweeping floors at Rocheleau, trying to get his feet wet in the business. In college, though, he decided to pursue a career in criminal justice.
“Being a member of a family business, there is always a part of you that wants to work with your family,” Zack explained. “Growing up, though, I was always into sports and getting dirty in that sense, not necessarily getting my hands dirty with mechanics.”
Graduating as the salutatorian of his class, Zack had several options for his next step after college. After completing an internship with another company, a front-desk position at Rocheleau opened up and Zack began working at his family’s business. “Once I was here and got the opportunity to work with my family every day and got more into the job, there was no doubt that I wanted to stay.”
Through his work at Rocheleau Tool & Die, Zack realizes that the plastics industry continues to grow and evolve. According to Zack, one element of the family business that has changed in recent years is a renewed focus on sustainability.
“We need to ask what we can do to make products that are greener and more recyclable. To leave less of a footprint. That is huge in the world right now, not just the plastics industry. The overall understanding of what plastics can do for the environment and how crucial plastics are for your everyday life are things I try to learn more about every single day.”
Innovating and finding solutions is something that Zack knows the plastics industry does best. “Any problem, we can solve it. We are problem solvers. As we continue to grow, as a company but also an industry, we need to remain relevant.”
Zack sees himself spending his future in the plastics industry. When musing on his next 10 years in the industry, Zack knows he will play an integral role at working with the next generation of manufacturers and plastics industry professionals. The team at Rocheleau currently engages with local colleges and vocational schools, to find new workers and promote the manufacturing industry. The team also provides tours of their facility and production lines to the local Boys and Girls Club, local politicians, and students from surrounding school districts.
Zack advises people to look into the plastics industry for a stable, rewarding career. “Some people tend to focus on a college-only approach and forget about all of these valuable trades that people can do. It is possible to get out of high school and immediately get a great job. People can come into this field and make an instant impact.”
To anyone considering a career in the plastics industry, Zack advises: “Take a chance on yourself and know you can have an impact. Everything you do in this industry, big or small, can have an impact.”
The FLiP Files is a blog series spotlighting young professionals who are active in PLASTICS’ Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP), a group for plastics professionals under the age of 40. For this FLiP File, we spoke with Zack Rocheleau, Purchasing Manager at Rocheleau Tool & Die about his experience working in the plastics industry.