PMT: A Classic Story of America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

PMT: A Classic Story of America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

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It’s National Small Business Week, and PMT came across this inspiring quote that sums up the importance of this week:

Our country was founded by risk-taking pioneers in search of new horizons. More than two centuries later, what sets America apart in the world is the willingness of our entrepreneurs to take risks. Small businesses allow Americans to be their own boss and improve their lot in life through hard work – a core American value.

The quote is from SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, and profoundly reminded us of PMT’s story—a company founded on the entrepreneurial roots of one risk-taking pioneer.

A son of Slovakian immigrants, Charles E. Sholtis’ upbringing was ingrained with the value of hard work. His father, Charles M., was a coal miner in Western Pennsylvania. After leaving the mines, Charles M. spent his retirement running a local ice cream stand in the small town of Mundy’s Corner, Penn.

Charles saw the example of entrepreneurial spirit from an early age, and followed in the footprint left by his father. He graduated high school, served in the U.S. Navy and attended university for one year to study drafting and design technology. He left school to enter the workforce in order to support his growing family. Several years later, while still working full-time, he was able to continue his education, attending night school at a community college. He obtained an Associate’s Degree in mechanical technology in 1967. The next year, he was certified by the Society of Mechanical Engineers as a tool engineer. He worked in engineering positions at several companies, moving up in ranks until landing a job as a Plastics Manufacturing Engineer at Timex Corp. in Connecticut in 1971.

The desire to run his own business was so strong that it prompted him to set up shop while still working his day job at Timex. On October 9, 1973, Sholtis filed a Registration of Trade Name in Bridgeport, Conn. for P.M.T. Prototype Molding Company.

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PMT’s original start-up location was in a small rented space of this 1800s mill building in Bridgeport, Conn.

Starting with one Arburg C4B molding press, Sholtis launched PMT in a small rented space in an old, red-brick 1800s mill building. His first machine was leased on a handshake from a leasing agent in Boston, who approved the transaction solely based on Charles’ carefully considered business plan and sound reputation. Charles worked at Timex during the day and ran his press at night, establishing his enterprise. In late 1974, when he had enough business to try to make it on his own, he left Timex and began making his mark on the plastics manufacturing industry.

In 1976, Sholtis renamed the company “Plastic Molding Technology Inc.”—the name it still proudly bears today—to reflect the rapidly expanding array of services the company would offer. Over the next 40 years, PMT built a reputation as one of the nation’s best molders of small, precision plastic parts, with unique expertise in complex, highly technical insert molding.

His entrepreneurial ambitions didn’t end with starting a small business— Charles went on to create a successful apprenticeship program, begin an international engineering student exchange program and start a plastics Joint Venture in his ancestral homeland of Slovakia.

Under Charles’ leadership, PMT grew from a one-press prototype operation in Connecticut to a 60,000-square-foot modern injection molding facility in Texas with 58 presses, 100 employees and exponential growth in sales. Today PMT is well positioned as an innovation leader in the plastic injection molding industry, thanks to the foundation Charles built over 40 years ago.

Charles retired from PMT as Chairman and Chief Technical Officer in 2013. The second generation of PMT continues to build from this entrepreneurial foundation—Charles’ oldest son, Charles A. Sholtis, took the helm after having been with the company for nearly 30 years.

Without entrepreneurs like Charles E., small businesses like PMT wouldn’t be able to succeed. That’s why we support Small Business Week, and hope other entrepreneurs can find inspiration to begin their journey to starting a successful small business.

Find out more about entrepreneurship from the SBA, and learn more about PMT’s heritage here.