HydraForce co-founder passes away

Officials at HydraForce Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill., reported last month that its co-founder and board member, Richard Fontecchio, passed away on Monday, September 8, 2014.  He was born January 17, 1948 in Ironwood, Mich., and is survived by his wife, Carol, and daughter, Andrea. He was preceded in death by his son, Mark.

Dick began his work in the fluid power industry as an intern in 1965. Dick graduated from Elmhurst College with a B.A. and earned his M.B.A. from Lake Forest College.  In 1985, he co-founded HydraForce with Jim Brizzolara in Northbrook, ll. Since its establishment, HydraForce has grown into the largest private manufacturer of hydraulic cartridge valves, with 1,100 employees and more than 430,000 ft2 of manufacturing space in the US and overseas.

In remembering Fontecchio, Jim Brizzolara, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of HydraForce, offered, “Dick was incredibly influential in the development of cartridge valve technology. During his tenure as our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, he presided over the release of some 15,000 proprietary and standard valves and electro-hydraulic controls.”

He continued, “I first met Dick in the spring of 1965 when I hired him as a summer intern following his junior year at Wheeling High School. Years later, while discussing the state of the industry one evening, Dick mentioned his dissatisfaction with the current level of quality and customer service being offered throughout the industry. At the end of the night, Dick declared, ‘We should start our own company and run it the right way.’ Thus HydraForce was conceived. Dick was instrumental in crafting HydraForce’s culture, and wisdom will be sorely missed.  On behalf of the 1,100 employees of HydraForce, we extend our gratitude for the opportunities Dick helped create and extend our deepest sympathy to his family."

Memorials in Richard’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society, or JourneyCare Fdn., journeycare.org/ways-to-give.

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