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Daily News

LUDLOW — Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc., a plastics manufacturer specializing in bottles and hollow technical articles manufactured through extrusion blow molding and injection stretch blow molding, announced that President and CEO Mel O’Leary Jr. was honored on April 13 for his two decades as a second-chance employer as part of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office’s All-Inclusive Support Services (AISS).

The award was presented by Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi during the 24th annual AISS graduation ceremony at the Cedars in Springfield.

“I sincerely appreciate this honor, but what’s more important to me is the impact this program has on so many lives,” O’Leary said. “It doesn’t just benefit ex-offenders, but also their families and communities. People make mistakes, and giving them a chance to turn their lives around is very important to me. We’re proud to have helped hundreds of formerly incarcerated people transition back into the community with gainful employment.”

AISS helps formerly incarcerated people in all aspects of their lives as they move from incarceration into the community. In addition to educational and employment support, it offers a comprehensive range of services, such as parenting groups, assistance accessing housing and food benefits, behavioral-health and addiction-recovery services, and support groups. In 2019, Cocchi opened AISS to anyone in the community in addition to the justice-involved population.

“Our community partners, like Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc., are a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to empowering our formerly justice-involved people to create a life free from the elements that brought them to us in the first place,” Cocchi said. “Viable employment in an environment where management understands the human situation is one of the cornerstones of a successful path forward. We wouldn’t have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the nation without people like Mel believing in us and the people we work to help.”

O’Leary recalled that, when the opportunity to become a second-chance employer was first presented to him 20 years ago, he had to be convinced — but he’s glad he was. “We typically have a couple of people on each shift as part of the program,” he said. “Some are with us for six to eight months, but we’ve had others who have stayed with us for years and become valued members of our management team.”

O’Leary has spoken about the success of the program at Meredith-Springfield with other business leaders who are considering becoming second-chance employers, both locally and in other states. He was also interviewed, along with one of his employees who was in the re-entry program, for a recent episode of The Hustler Files podcast on WHMP.

Daily News

LUDLOW — Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc., a plastics manufacturer specializing in bottles and hollow technical articles manufactured through extrusion blow molding and injection stretch blow molding, recently broke ground on an expansion in Ludlow.

The project will add 5,000 square feet of light manufacturing space, 12,000 square feet of warehouse space, and three new loading docks in a 1,000-square-foot addition, bringing the total facility to 83,000 square feet. The larger footprint makes way for six top-of-the-line machines that will help to automate production and increase capacity.

“Meredith-Springfield was chartered in 1979,” President and CEO Mel O’Leary said. “Through our years of incredible growth, we’ve called Massachusetts home, so to be able to expand our headquarters where our company was born is important to who we are.”

Since its founding, Meredith-Springfield has offered extrusion and coextrusion (double- and triple-layer) blow molding and injection stretch blow molding of PET, HDPE, PP, PVC, PA, ePET, TPE, TPU, ABS, LDPE, and fluoropolymers for clients spanning the globe. Notable customers include American Distilling, B&G Foods, Henkel, Honeywell LifeMade Products, PepsiCo, Reebok, and more.

“It’s been a challenge to meet the needs of our growing business with our existing space,” O’Leary added. “This investment in the building and manufacturing equipment allows us to better plan for the future and increase efficiencies. It will give us room to grow while enhancing our manufacturing and warehouse spaces.”

In the coming months, Meredith-Springfield will install two new extrusion blow molding machines, a Bekum 155 and R&B/Sika 850 long stroke, as well as an Aoki AL-1000 injection stretch blow molding machine. In addition to the molding machines, the manufacturer has acquired three new, fully automatic Dyco Baggers and a Mexan Automation semi-automatic bagger. These machines will automate bottle discharges from the machines after their production, with attached conveyors offering leak checks and visual inspections. Then the baggers will palletize the finished products, readying them for shipping while eliminating the use of corrugated boxes.

“Ultimately, our goal is to serve our customers with reduced lead times and higher-quality products that are more sustainably packaged,” O’Leary said. “We’ll soon have the space and equipment we need to move forward to the next level as a company while providing the service our clients expect and deserve. We’re all very excited to start this next phase in our company’s evolution.”