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2024 Family Biz Awards: Westminster Tool Inc.

Westminster Tool is a small family-owned mold manufacturing company based in Plainfield. The company started in 1997 in the basement of owner Ray Coombs. Flashforward to today, Westminster Tool is a leader in the plastics industry.

Tell us about your recent accomplishments.

One of Westminster Tool’s greatest accomplishments in the last year is that we’ve put through more manufactured products with the least experienced team in the company’s history, a tribute to one of the company’s mottos, ‘Hire for character. Train for skill.’

With no previous manufacturing experience, several members of the Westminster Tool team worked together this year to learn, build their skills, and work together on complex projects. Some of these included using new technology such as automation and 3D printing.

The company has been recognized for these efforts, along with recognition of our culture and Westminster Academy LMS, with industry awards such as Lead Time Leader (Moldmaking Technology), Mold Builder of the Year (AMBA), Tooling Trailblazer (AMBA), and Best Place to Work (Plastics News).

We also had several of our rising leaders recognized for their contribution to the industry: Mold Designer of the Year (Keith Lesage), Women Breaking the Mold (Plastics News, Hillary Thomas and Victoria Rooke), Emerging Leader (AMBA, MJ Belmont and Victoria Rooke).

The second of Westminster Tool’s greatest accomplishments is its advocacy for manufacturing education in the local community. In addition to being a sponsor for programs such as CT Makerspace — an elementary school STEM class program — Westminster Tool is a manufacturing partner for the YMPI Program (a statewide high school manufacturing program), the Advanced Manufacturing Program at local community colleges, and is an active advocate for STEM education throughout the state.

What are your family values and how do they contribute to your business success?

Westminster Tool incorporates four family core values into everything it does. These include having integrity, curiosity, motivation and being dynamic.

Employees are recruited and promoted based solely on these core values. These not only support our company mission but are critical to the company’s growth and success.

Where do you see your business in the next five years?

Westminster Tool is diversifying our manufacturing capabilities and services to be a comprehensive solution provider for our customers’ biggest challenges. We have and will always be a small family-owned business, but it’s important to grow our current team internally by continuing to cross-train and build our team’s technical skills from the ground up.

This includes adopting new technology like 3D printing, using data-driven equipment monitoring to make better manufacturing decisions, and evolving the way we train our team to use these tools.

Do you have a business succession plan?

Our succession plan starts and ends with training in mind. This includes duplication of every role and job in the company to ensure Westminster Tool can continue to thrive and provide for our customers, vendors and team members.

For the owner in particular, the family is utilizing its cross-training system to divide his many roles among rising leaders in the company.

Click here to see the rest of the 2024 Family Business Award Honorees

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