It’s a Family Affair

Article From: Products Finishing, from Products Finishing

Posted on: 8/1/2003

Joanne Marozza is the NAMF President, but that is only one facet of this busy woman's life...



Joanne Marozza

Joanne Marozza is the president of 3J's in addition to many other responsibilities.

Zinc plating line at 3J's

Zinc plating line at 3J's

If the general public were asked to name a family business, most would likely answer farming. However, those in the finishing industry know that plating is probably the most family-oriented business in the United States. A perfect example is Three J’s Industries in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Joanne Marozza is vice president and part owner of the company started by her father, Erwin R. Herz, in 1968. She is also president of the National Association of Metal Finishers.

When Ms. Marozza’s father opened the company in Schaumberg, IL, he named it Three J’s Industries for his daughters: Joanne, Judy and Jennifer. These three daughters now own and run the business, which moved to Elk Grove in 1990 after the original shop was purchased by the Schaumburg Parks District.

When the Parks District purchased the original shop, the first decision the family needed to make was whether to continue the business or close up shop. Ms. Marozza vowed to her father that she would carry on the business, so happily and confidently he built the new facility.

“ When we moved to the new facility, we were reclassified as metal finishers rather than electroplaters,” noted Ms. Marozza. Because of this, the plating shop had to adhere to more stringent environmental regulations. “My father designed the chemical storage area so that it would meet all building code regulations. These regulations require a separate room for compatible chemicals. We adhere to and exceed the regulations in all federal, state and local municipalities,” she continued. “We are also certified to ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.”

One of the major processes offered at Three J’s is cadmium plating. Springs, fasteners, stampings, mechanical parts and other items requiring exceptional environmental protection are plated with cadmium. Cadmium also has excellent ductility, solderability, natural lubricity and is an antifungal. Three J’s can electroplate cadmium to a number of specifications, including automotive and military. Cadmium has a commercial thickness of 0.0001 inch, however additional thickness can be plated to increase corrosion protection of the raw materials. (See Table I)

Post treatments for cadmium include organic coatings, waxes, yellow and clear chromates and dyes of red, green, blue, yellow, black and olive drab, which also increase corrosion protection. Three J’s has also developed a proprietary topcoat that provides up to 4,800 hr of corrosion protection on plated parts.

Three J’s uses an alkaline zinc-plating bath to impart corrosion protection (See Table II) and a bright appearance on steel parts.The alkaline zinc is ductile and has excellent resistance to hydrogen embrittlement. It is used most often for automotive parts, particularly safety items. The company also provides specification plating of zinc and topcoats to automotive, aerospace and ASTM specifications.

So how did a petite, young woman like Joanne become so involved in such an industry? Well, it is a family business. “I spent a lot of time with my father,” Ms. Marozza reminisced. “Whenever my father would be called to the shop, I would tag along. I learned everything first hand.” Ms. Marozza did not start out working in the plating industry after her graduation from the University of Wisconsin. In her first job out of college she wore suits and high heels and worked a traditional nine-hour day, but soon she traded that in for overalls, work boots and 12-hour days. “I started working here in 1987. It was fun. We have fun as a small shop,” she stated.

TABLE I - Salt Spray to Red Rust (in hours)

Cadmium Coating

..........36... ...........N/A
..........96... ...........192
........192.... ...........288
........210.... ...........310
........240.... ...........336

“ I did worry that some of the guys on the line would not accept me because first, I am the owner’s daughter and second, I am female. There were no privileges or entitlement. I worked long hours on the lines and learned a lot,” Ms. Marozza noted. “One night the guys in the shop called me to fix a motor. Well, it just so happened that one of the maintenance employees had taught me all I needed to know about motors. I went down to the shop, repaired the motor, plugged it in and it worked! I was thrilled. What a confidence boost.”

A few years after she started, Ms. Marozza’s father accompanied her to her first CMFT meeting. “I think Elaine Williams (Morgan O’Hare Plating Company) and I were the only women there,” noted Ms. Marozza. “Elaine was a positive female influence in my early years. She asked me to be the non-board member for the Insurance Committee of the Chicago Metal Finishers Institute. I accepted, with my father’s support. He told me that I would enjoy association work.”

This experience with the Chicago Metal Finishers Institute helped Ms. Marozza in her business. She states that she is grateful to people such as Frank Altmayer of Scientific Control Labs, Dick Delawder of SWD, Dick Carey of Aamro Corporation and Tom Schewe of Able Electropolishing for helping her within the industry. She served on the Chicago Board and eventually became its president in 1999.

TABLE II - Salt Spray to Red Rust (in hours)

Zinc Coating

..........24.... ...........N/A
..........36.... .............72
..........72.... .............96
..........96.... ...........120
........120.... ...........144

“ My father flew up from Florida to watch the swearing in ceremony. He was very proud of me,” she stated. “He flew back to Florida the following Sunday and became ill on the plane and passed away a few weeks later.”

Gone was the biggest influence in her life, her father. Ms. Marozza had promised him that she would continue to run the business and keep it in the family and she did. Her sister Judy started with the company in 1994, and her other sister Jennifer, started in 1996. “My mother started in the business by bringing us these fantastic lunches. Now she is very involved,” commented Ms. Marozza. “Being a woman in finishing helps you stand out, but you have to be willing to work and work hard.”

She also continued her association work, filling in for a Tom Shewe, who had to vacate his position on the NAMF National Board of Directors. Eventually, she worked her way up to her present position of president and is serving her term during the 2003-2004 year, which ends in March of 2004. “I have a very full, fun-filled schedule,” Ms. Marozza laughed.

In addition to her work with Three J’s and her Association duties, Ms. Marozza has a husband Joe, and two young daughters, and recently volunteered to be a Brownie Troop leader. “Family is important to me, my business and my whole life. The Chicago Metal Finishing Institute is a very tight family, and its members have helped me tremendously. My father, mother, sisters and I have all worked together to make the business thrive and succeed. All of us have the same goals: Quality, Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction. That is the key to success in any business,” she ended.


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