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Gene Kiela II retires from Curt G. Joa

Curt G. Joa, a custom-engineering design and machine-building company, has announced that Gene Kiela II will retire as the company’s President.

26th March 2019

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Sheboygan Falls, WI

Medical/Hygiene, Industrial

Gene Kiela II will retire as the company’s President on 24 April. © Curt G. JoaCurt G. Joa, a custom-engineering design and machine-building company, has announced that Gene Kiela II will retire as the company’s President next month, completing the transition begun in 2018.

Kiela II joined the company in June of 1980. Prior to that, he received a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mr Kiela II is a grandson of the founder, Curt G. Joa, and as such has grown up in the closely held, family owned business for most of his life. In his nearly 40-year career with Joa, he learned the business from the “floor” up, starting out as a field service technician, then design engineer, sales engineer and sales manager.

In 1985, he was appointed to the board of directors, where he continued his learning under the guidance of Mr and Mrs Joa, until their passing in November 1998 and January 1999, respectively. He served as President since 2010. Mr Kiela II’s successor, Richard (Rick) Michaletz, was announced in August 2018.

“Throughout the search process for my successor, we knew we had the time and family support to get it right,” he said. “We are delighted that Rick has joined Curt G. Joa, Inc. as Company President. Rick’s experience and leadership abilities build upon the strong relationships we share with our customers, employees, suppliers and family.

“Furthermore, I have utmost confidence, along with the Joa family and board of directors, that Rick and our leadership team will ensure that Joa will remain Joa: a confidential, independent, innovative and reliable partner to support the business needs of our customers. Now is the right time for the Company and for me to transition into retirement. I am looking forward to my continuing interaction with our leadership team from my position on our board.”

Prior to joining the company, Mr Michaletz spent over 20 years with the Bemis Company in Oshkosh, WI, where he held a variety of leadership positions, most recently as the Senior Vice President, Commercial for Bemis North America. Prior to that role, Michaletz served as President of Bemis Europe while residing in Brussels, Belgium for over three years. Michaletz earned his Industrial Engineering degree from the University Wisconsin-Madison and his MBA from the University of Rochester. 

“My father was a skilled tradesman from Germany who built his family business in the Sheboygan Falls area on solid customer loyalty, and I knew Curt G. Joa had the same focus on customers. I am delighted to be back home and leading this organisation,” he commented.

Since 1932, Curt G. Joa has been a leader in engineering and building specialty machines for the disposable market. The company’s customers utilise its technology to convert nonwovens, plastics, paper, films, tape and elastics to produce products that include baby diapers, feminine sanitary napkins, and adult incontinence products.

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