What started as a leap of faith turned into a 25-year tenure for our salesman Pete Mals as he and Atlantic Fasteners celebrate his quarter-century of service.
On his 1988 interview with Atlantic founder Patrick O’Toole, Mals was convinced that Atlantic was the right company for him. “If anybody knows Pat O’Toole, he’s a great guy with a way with words,” Mals recalled. “We had some great talks. It basically went on a handshake and a look in his eyes. I trusted him. I made the jump and that’s what made me make the jump. It’s also kept me to stay.”
Mals grew up in New Britain, CT, a block away from one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods and housing projects. There, he worked as a teenager at the front counter of the neighborhood corner store and honed his customer service skills.
“I grew up in between the projects and I learned how to treat people,” Mals said. “I had a paper route and worked at the corner store all throughout high school. I learned pretty quickly how to deal with people. Working behind the counter, I knew everybody. I could go anywhere in town and not have any issues,” he added.
Mals’ trademark at Atlantic is his unwillingness to give up. That ethos is attributed to the rough and tumble streets Mals grew up on. “When you grow up in that environment, you have to survive,” he said. “It was either get run over or stay ahead and getting run over doesn’t feel so good, so you would try and stay ahead.”
That persistence faced a serious test in 2005 as Mals suffered a serious back injury in a car accident on the job. It kept him out of work for two years. After all was said and done, a whopping 19 screws were inserted into Mals’ back.
The irony about the amount of hardware and his profession is certainly not lost on Mals. “I had three back operations in 18 months, 19 screws in my spine, and one of them is loose,” Mals said. “I’m a screw salesman with a screw loose—you can’t make it up,” he added with a chuckle.
A regimen of walking and yoga has eased Mals’ recovery.
After 25 years on the front lines of the fastener industry, Mals says he’ll keep working for Atlantic until he simply can’t anymore.
Atlantic couldn’t be happier. Dedicated, hard working, and relentless, Pete Mals has played an important role in the success of our 100% Employee Owned firm, and we appreciate his contribution.