Father and son make innovation the family business
The automobile and the American dream have been intertwined for more than a century, so it was with considerable ambition and great hopes that a father and son embraced the entrepreneurial spirit over 50 years ago and sought to make a living by selling manufactured parts to the auto industry.
John P. Lacks was a salesman representing Holland-based REM Die Casting, Inc., when he recruited his son Richard Lacks Sr., a paint salesman, to form Metalac Corp. in 1961 to machine REM products. A year later, encouraged by their early success, the pair purchased Ace Plating to provide additional metal finishing services and, eventually, Decolac to provide decorative painting capabilities. Within a decade, their business had grown to the point where they were able to make the decision to buy REM and, ultimately, to bring the various organizations under the Lacks umbrella in one location on Cascade Road in Grand Rapids.
From die-cast to composite
By the mid-1970s, the advent of injection molding and Detroit’s desire for lighter components prompted the company to shift away from metal fabrication to plastics. As it became apparent that the days of zinc die-cast parts for bumper trim and grilles were numbered, Lacks looked to new technology to protect their market position in the automotive industry.
This shift led to a variety of process innovations in plating, painting and molding, from electro-less plating to the plating of high-impact plastic parts, and led the company to expand its operations to keep pace with the quickly changing needs of the automotive industry. Not even a catastrophic fire in 1978 could abate the company’s growth and evolution.
Bolstered by the continuity of four generations of family leadership, Lacks has grown in each subsequent decade by capitalizing on extensive research and development efforts and building on forward-thinking ideas to produce new processes and product innovations for today. The heart of the organization remains its employees, whose dedication and loyalty continues to make the family business a viable and self-sustaining operation.
JP Lacks & son, Richard Sr. found Metlac Corporation to create die-cast products.
Metalac Corp. acquires ACE Plating & Decolac.
The Lacks family incorporates their business under the new name, Lacks Industries.
Lacks Enterprises transitions from die-cast plating to composite plastic material chromeplating applications—leading the auto industry transition from metal to composite plastic material trim parts—inside and outside vehicle manufacturing.
Lacks opens first injection molding plant.
Lacks introduces electro-less plating of computer enclosures.
Lacks opens “Airlane,” an innovation-leading plating facility featuring an environmentally sensitive internal waste treatment system and computer-automated part processing.
Richard Lacks Sr. receives IBM’s Quality Performance Award for the second year in a row and a Ford customer Q-1 rating.
Lacks patents High-Impact Plated Plastic, HIPP-140™.
After six years of development, Lacks introduces Chromtec® composite wheel technology.
Third-generation Lacks family leader Richard Lacks Jr. becomes CEO.
In honor of Richard Lacks Sr., the Lacks family makes a meaningful contribution to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s to help create the Lacks Cancer Center.
Lacks creates separate business units to create specialized centers of excellence:
- Lacks Trim Systems
- Lacks Wheel Trim Systems
- Plastic Plate LLC
Lacks introduces a broad spectrum of gloss reflective levels from traditional high gloss to satin finishes.
Lacks introduces Spinelle™ Metal Finishes, our proprietary color over chrome technology.
*As of 2018, Lacks has manufactured over 50 million Spinelle™-plated parts.
Lacks introduces Selective Spinelle™ finish technology, allowing for multiple finishes on a single plated part.
eVolve® Hybrid wheel technology is developed that provides customers with a lighter, more aerodynamic composite wheel technology option.
Lacks opens a fully-dedicated 180,000 sq. ft. research and development facility featuring all major automotive OEM evaluation requirements and deemed one of the most contemporary facilities of its kind.
The first high volume production of Tessera® Textured Finishes is featured prominently in the award-winning 2019 Ram 1500 interior.