Albert Profughi, his father, died in 1978, and Terry replaced him as president.
The young Profughi's first task was to plot the small but profitable company's future. He'd studied sales and marketing in college, and wanted to apply what he'd learned.
By April 1982, he had determined that growth would require an investment in technology and new processes. But that wasn't a commitment he could make on his own. He had to convince the company's majority owner-his sister Alberta. Eighteen years his senior, Alberta was not involved in the company's day-to-day operations, and predictably wasn't interested in assuming a lot of risk.
"We wanted to take on debt and buy additional equipment," explains Profughi. "That didn't fit into her program. The company was profitable, but only worth $58,000. We wanted to buy a $400,000 piece of equipment."
Profughi wrote a detailed plan that showed how the investment would pay off. Though hesitant, Alberta eventually gave her younger brother the go-ahead. He secured a $400,000 low-interest loan from the state of Ohio to buy the vacuum furnace, and personally co-signed for the money.
Almost immediately, Alberta started having second thoughts. "We'd already bought the equipment, and I told her it was too late," says Profughi. "We decided we had to go forward. Either they buy us, or we buy them. Because the vacuum furnace was coming."
So Profughi assembled a group of investors, which included Carmen Paponetti-now president of HI TecMetal Group-and spent the next two years structuring a deal to buy HTG.
What made the deal difficult was that the vacuum furnace was, indeed, paying off. As the business grew, so did the purchase price. Finally, in 1984, the two sides agreed on terms and closed the deal.
"That turned it into a more structured business, where we had to develop a business plan and a strategic plan," he says. "From there, we set a vision of what we wanted to do with the business. That's how our entire planning process got started. It helped us lay out a real path for the company."
But it also put a strain on the family. Profughi is guarded when asked about that period of time and the issues it raised.
Alberta has since died, and members of her family remain in the business.
But Profughi would rather talk about all the things that have happened in the years after 1984.
"It was a difficult acquisition," he says simply. "But it worked out."