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of the business was short-changing the time he wanted to visit customers and be involved with production. “Honestly, as long as I knew where


my cash and receivables, inventory and payables were, I felt we would be OK,” DiGrazio said. “But I knew we needed a CFO. To go the next step, we need to create some infrastructure in the office to grow.” In September 2013, DiGrazio


found Richmond Industries’ CFO in trusted colleague and attorney David Lewis, who had the metalcasting facility as a client for several years. When DiGrazio approached Lewis for help in finding the right person, the lawyer asked to be considered for the job. “It was perfect. When you hire


someone, you are worried about whether you are guiding them the right way or giving them the right things to work on,” DiGrazio said. “With him, I knew he already knew the business and could just focus on the numbers.” Lewis has a 30-year background in


public accounting, financial and busi- ness planning, and personal and busi- ness taxation. His duties at Richmond Industries will include overseeing the financial operations of the company and assisting in business development and strategic planning. “Tis is a growing company with a lot of potential. It’s very solvent and financially strong,” Lewis said. “I thought I would be interested in working here to branch out from what I had been doing.” Shortly after starting with the


company, Lewis sorted through bank records and found an instance where Richmond Industries was overpaying a worker due to a clerical error. Te mistake was fixed, and DiGrazio was comforted to see an immediate benefit to bringing a CFO on board. “It excites me that the CFO frees


me from upstairs (where the metalcast- ing facilities offices are), and I can get out to more customers and downstairs on the floor,” DiGrazio said. “Money is made downstairs, not upstairs.”


Relationships Are Everything DiGrazio wasn’t born into the met-


alcasting industry, nor did he come to


The metalcasting facility mainly pours two aluminum alloys and a dozen copper-base alloys, but of- fers other options depending on customer need. The facility also pours lead-free alloys.


March 2014 MODERN CASTING | 33


it by way of an engineering degree. He had built a relationship with the owner and founder of Richmond Industries Eugene Hennessy’ over the years as a financial consultant. DiGrazio’s interest in the metalcasting industry grew over time, as did his relationship with Hennessy. After a couple of years, Hennessy asked DiGrazio to join the company because he thought he seemed “open to it.” “After a bit of soul searching I came


aboard and things took off from there,” DiGrazio said. “I will always be grate- ful to Mr. Hennessy for not only being my mentor but also my friend.” When Hennessy passed away,


DiGrazio purchased Richmond Indus-


tries from Hennessy’s wife. DiGrazio’s unorthodox path to the industry makes his desire to have more time to build relation- ships with customers understand- able. He believes sales and customer service is best done face to face. “I try to make that emotional


connection,” DiGrazio said, genu- inely. “That’s what Richmond Industries is about.” Richmond Industries under


DiGrazio has seen its share of down times, but it has come out ahead. In 2002, the metalcasting business lost its major customer, Victaulic, which accounted for about one-third of its sales. The few years follow-


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