Vice President, Westfield Electroplating Co., age 32
When Jonathan Stolpinski sold his 16 alpacas because he and his family just couldn’t devote the time to them and run the family business, Westfield Electroplating Company (WEPCO), it was a sad day — for all those involved.
“Out of everyone, my dog, Brewski, misses them the most,” said Stolpinski of the furry friend he comes home to after long hours in the electroplating business, which is the process of coating various substances (nickel, chrome, zinc, and others) by electricity or chemical conversion onto everything from aircraft parts to medical devices.
In 1984, his father purchased the business, which was founded in 1946, and Stolpinski essentially grew up in the company as it expanded. And while he worked summers in the plant — and at the now-shuttered Foster House restaurant next door that the family also owned and operated — he was never pushed into the business.
“My father did a pretty good job at keeping me away, to not influence me; he wanted me to make the decision for myself and see what was out there.”
And what was out there, after earning a degree in Business Administration at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, was Lake Tahoe, Nev., where he “sowed his oats” for a year, working at a casino and skiing three to four times a week. In 2004, he decided, on his own, that the family business would be a good fit.
Learning the electroplating business on the job, he now serves as vice president under his father, playing a significant role in ongoing growth, from 140 employees to 155, from $11 million in annual sales to more than $17 million, and with a portfolio now boasting more than 2,000 customers.
Stolpinski and WEPCO are good business neighbors, supporting Noble Hospital, the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, and myriad nonprofits in the city. But it’s his position on the board of directors for the Westfield Boys and Girls Club that is a newfound civic passion.
“The more we do for boys and girls now,” he said, “when they get older, the more they will be able to do for others.”
— Elizabeth Taras