SPE Honors Steven J. Bales with Posthumous Moldmaker of the Year Award


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Steven J. Bales, who was co-founder and President of Bales Mold Service, a leading provider of engineered coatings and finishes for the production tooling industry, was honored posthumously by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Mold Making and Mold Design Division with its esteemed Moldmaker of the Year Award. Steve Bales passed away in November 2009.

Steve was nominated for the award by Glenn Beall, president of Glenn Beall Plastics, Ltd., in Libertyville, IL, and Bob Dealey, president of Dealey’s Mold Engineering in Williams Bay, WI, to honor him for his many contributions to the mold making industry throughout the more than 30 years since Bales Mold Service was established.

Dealey, who along with Beall is a past chairman of the SPE’s Mold Making and Mold Design Division, explained how the award came about. “Glenn and I were discussing who would be a good candidate for this year’s award. I mentioned that Steve had passed away and we both agreed he would have been a great candidate, so we decided to find out if it was still possible to honor him. When we found that his nomination would not be turned away, we contacted the family to ask permission to submit the nomination. �

“Along the way, I thought of my business dealings with Steve and the contributions that he made to the mold making industry and realized that he quietly promoted and strongly supported the industry,” Dealey added.

Trevor Pruden, who is the immediate past chairman of the SPE division, said, “Steve Bales was a valued participant and contributor to many industry associations including the Society of Plastics Engineers.  His lectures and articles served to advance the performance of mold surface treatments and finishes.  Steve was also instrumental in his participation in the development of the original ToolingDocs program used by members of the SPE Mold Making & Mold Design Division.  We are pleased to know that Steve’s dedication continues on through his family and Bales Mold Service, which he founded and grew since 1978.”

Wayne Hertlein, who is the division’s current chairman and traveled to the Bales Mold Service main plant to present the award, added, “It was a great honor for me to be able to spend time with Steve’s family and present the award to them, to the company, and then see the scholarship money immediately presented to the Tooling and Manufacturing Association for its educational programs.”

“I am grateful that my dad was honored with this award,” said Sara Bales Mortensen. “It is heartening to see that he positively impacted not only everyone at Bales Mold, but also the industry he dedicated himself to. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us, and one we won’t soon forget.”

Stacey Bales added, “It is a tremendous honor to be presented with this award. We appreciate Glenn and Bob's efforts behind the nomination. My Dad took great pride in his work, but never boasted. It is a great motivator for everyone here at Bales Mold Service knowing that people are still thinking of him and recognizing him for his accomplishments.”

Harry Raimondi, Technical Sales Manager for Bales and former moldmaker, said he was always amazed at Steve’s overall knowledge of the mold making industry even though he had never been a moldmaker himself.

“His knowledge was a gift that has been passed on to all who worked with or knew Steve,” Raimondi said. “This award is definitely one that is a tribute to a person who has contributed to the industry.”

Established in 1983, the SPE Mold Maker of the Year Award is accompanied by a plaque and cash award that is sponsored by DME Company.

Bales Mold Service was founded by Steve and his brother, Mike, in 1978, initially providing diamond polishing and hard chrome plating for plastic injection molds.  The company rapidly grew over the years and became widely known for its engineered coatings and finishes as well as many other products and services.  The company regularly participated in major industry trade shows such as the MoldMaking Expo and NPE and Steve was often a presenter at technical conferences.

In 2001, Bales opened a second facility in Harlingen, Texas, enabling the company to address the coatings and finishes needs of customers in the southern United States and the Maquiladora region.  

Bales is recognized for such services as Electroless Nickel, Hard Chrome, Diamond Chrome, Nicklon®, NiBore®, Diamond Polishing, Micro TIG Welding, and SS Passivation. For information, call 800-215-MOLD or visit www.balesmold.com.