Retired former president of Petersen Aluminum Corp., John Paleczny, passed away in October at the age of 72. Paleczny worked for Petersen for 49 years from 1970 to 2019 while overseeing revenue growth from $3 million to more than $170 million when he retired. Paleczny was instrumental in the evolution of Petersen and the PAC-CLAD® brand of architectural metal cladding products. He joined Petersen on the anodizing crew and rose to the position of president, working closely with company founder Maurice Petersen and then with Petersen’s son Mike, who is the current president.
“Paleczny had more to do with the growth and success of Petersen than any single person that has ever worked here,” said Petersen. “We were so fortunate to benefit from his intellect, market knowledge, sales skills, and leadership. He mentored me early in my career and was a lifelong friend.”
During his 49-year career at Petersen, Paleczny also held volunteer leadership positions, including president of the Chicago chapter of the former National Association of Aluminum Distributors, chair of aluminum division of the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI), and a term on the MSCI executive board. He also served on multiple committees and supporting groups in his career. In 2018, the MSCI gave its Lifetime Achievement Award to Paleczny in recognition of his contribution to the metals industry during his career.
“Paleczny was an icon in the metals industry, and a man of honor, decency, intellectual brilliance, and compassion,” said Robert Weidner III, president and CEO of MSCI. “He demonstrated empathy beyond any standard I’ve witnessed in business. He was a mentor, confidant, and trusted friend. My heart is heavy, but life is richer because of him. While we mourn his leaving us too soon, we celebrate his life and thank him for making each of our lives better.”