In 1960, sixteen sheet metal workers wanting to stay in Illinois laid the foundation for what ACE has become today, after being displaced by their company moving to Indiana. While many great people have shaped ACE throughout it’s 60-year history, the two Jacks in particular (Jack Stout and Jack Lichter), have left a legacy that endures in our culture today.
Jack Stout was one of ACE’s earliest employees. Hired two years after ACE was founded, the fabrication expert pioneered the techniques that have come to define ACE METAL CRAFTS COMPANY: core competency, commitment to quality, and treating all with kindness. Jack loved fabrication and figuring out how to build things, passions he passed on to ACE during his 40-year tenure with the company, during which he rose to general manager. Jack’s talent working with stainless steel was unparalleled, building complex components few could replicate. However, his love for fabrication was best exemplified by his commitment to the industry as a whole, sharing his knowledge with the industry to advance the field.
In 1982, recognizing the potential for growth, Jack Lichter purchased ACE METAL CRAFTS COMPANY. Previously having owned well drilling and sewer construction businesses, Jack knew which risks to take to grow a company, particularly when to invest in technology. Jack inherently understood that technology wasn’t the only important asset to invest in, and good people were equally as important. His kind approach and trust in people would greatly shape ACE’s growth over the next 30 years.
The legacy of the two Jacks impacts ACE more than just the ideals they imparted on the company. Jack Lichter’s daughter Jean Pitzo joined the ACE team as a sales rep in 1983. She progressed over the years to Vice President of Sales and Marketing, eventually replacing her father as President and owner in 1991, and taking on her current role as CEO as the company grew. During Jean’s tenure, ACE has grown substantially and developed a culture built on the trust her father valued. Additionally, Jean shared her father’s belief in the importance of technology, investing heavily in equipment, such as their first laser in 1993, which allowed ACE to become a leader in the metal fabrication industry.
Similarly, Jack Stout passed his love of sheet metal fabricating onto his son Keith, bringing him in to work in maintenance when he was 18 years old. After receiving his ME in Engineering from NIU, Keith returned to ACE as a Sales Engineer in 1992. Keith’s wealth of experience, education and passion from his father led him to develop a solution-based approach to combining lean methods and a Visual Scheduling Workflow into a contract-manufacturing environment. On October 15, 2018, Keith Stout was named President of ACE.
The leaders of the past 60 years have laid the groundwork for the values that continue to drive success for ACE METAL CRAFTS COMPANY and the industries we serve today. Our highly skilled team members are capable of meeting today’s specific industry requirements for the highest quality fabrications and machining components, while pursuing our purpose to create joy through kindness.