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South Coast Mold, Inc., Irvine-based Tool and Die Shop, Receives 2015 Family Owned Business of the Year Award

Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Friday, May 8, 2015
Doug Dare (714) 560-7467 or Christopher Lorenzana (714) 560-7453
Survives industry upheaval, recession to post record revenues in 2013 and 2014

Santa Ana, CA – The tool and die industry has faced a number of challenges, resulting in the closure of approximately 1/3 of U.S. tool and die shops from 1998-2010, but one Irvine-based manufacturer of precision lost-wax molds has managed to buck the trends.  Paul and Diane Novak, second-generation family-owners of South Coast Mold, Inc. have been selected to receive this year’s Family Owned Small Business of the Year Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office, in recognition of their achievements managing the company.

The company, which manufactures tools for the precision metal casting industry for various parts including firearms, turbines, valve bodies, medical implants, automotive and aerospace components, celebrates 41 years of continuous operations this year.  South Coast Mold was nominated for the Family-Owned Business Award by long-time customer Sonny Tran, Engineer at Fenico Precision Castings in Paramount, who stated, “South Coast Mold, Inc. not only provides great service, but at a very [competitive] price, and have never been known to compromise in the quality [or] delivery of our requirements.”  The company was started in 1973 by Paul’s father, Peter, a life-long tool and die maker who first learned the trade in his native Yugoslavia and further honed his craft in Italy, France, Australia, and Canada, before founding the company in Orange County. Novak started the company with one machine, working alone, but he quickly acquired more equipment and skilled toolmakers to join his operation.  In 1995, Paul bought full ownership of South Coast Mold, although Peter worked in the business daily until his passing in 2004.  Diane Novak, partner and Paul’s wife, is active in the business as an officer manager, and Diane’s son Brian works in the maintenance department.  Operations are currently in one 8,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Irvine, CA with eight employees.  The company is committed to American manufacturing as all of its products are manufactured in Orange County, California.

South Coast Mold’s biggest success is surviving the 2009-10 recession to post record revenues in 2013 and again in 2014.  While the company was forced to cut hours to stay solvent, it did not let any employees go.  As a result of the company’s growth in revenues since the recession, two new employees were hired by South Coast Mold, Inc., their first hiring in several years.  The company also invested heavily in new equipment as demand increased and eventually exceeded capacity.  This growth came as the result of marketing efforts to attract new customers, reviving old business, and entering new product markets.  According to the company, pending orders for 2015 were very strong and they expect robust business to continue into the foreseeable future. 

During its history, South Coast Mold has received assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, including two paid-in-full SBA-backed loans for equipment and commercial real estate from Pacific Western Bank and BBCN Bank, one disbursed and current SBA backed loan from Pacific Western Bank, and participating in SCORE workshops and counseling.   

Owners Paul and Diane Novak are active in their industry and community; Paul is currently serving a volunteer three-year term as Board member in the American Mold Builders Association trade group.  Diane is a member of the school PTA, a leader in Girl Scouts, a mentor at Assisteens, a supervisor at church activities, and a volunteer at daughter Caitlin’s elementary school and sports teams.

Other recognition the company has received includes a 2009 Energy Start Small Business Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through effective energy management practices and innovative efficiency solutions.  Their effort saved the company $1600 annually in energy costs.  The savings were achieved by carefully analyzing and implementing energy-saving measures for lighting, office, HVAC, and CNC equipment.

Every year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders are recognized by SBA district offices at events across the nation during this week.  SBA’s Santa Ana District Office, which is responsible for the delivery of SBA programs in the Southern California counties of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino, will be recognizing local honorees at the Annual Small Business Week Awards program, hosted this year by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  The event will take place on Wednesday, June 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Riverside Convention Center, 3637 5th St., Riverside, CA 92501.