Nicholas D. Trbovich, Servotronics founder, chairman and CEO - The Buffalo News

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Nicholas D. Trbovich, Servotronics founder, chairman and CEO

June 5, 1935 -- Aug. 8, 2017

Nicholas D. Trbovich, Servotronics' founder, chairman and chief executive officer, died on Tuesday, the Elma-based company announced Friday.

Trbovich, 82, started the company -- a maker of motion control equipment -- on Aug. 20, 1959, and served as its chairman and CEO for nearly 58 years.

He was also chairman and past president of Ontario Knife Co., a subsidiary purchased in 1967.

In 1970, Trbovich took Servotronics public. Servotronics said that move reflected the company's transition "from an engineering firm into a major post-Cold War manufacturer of motion control components."

“All of us at Servotronics are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Dr. Nicholas D. Trbovich," said Edward Cosgrove, a Servotronics board member. "Nick was a dedicated and passionate leader and his entrepreneurial spirit and vision grew the company into the enterprise it is today.”

“He was incredibly proud of the company and all of its employees and he left an indelible mark on the servo-control industry," Cosgrove said. "We owe it to his legacy and honor to continue taking the company forward in accordance with his vision."

Servotronics said Trbovich's patents and "engineering expertise" influenced a variety of aerospace programs, including components for the Boeing 700 and Airbus 300 series of commercial aircraft, as well as fighter jets, the Hubble Telescope and other applications.

Trbovich earned two doctorates and a master's in business administration from the University of Rochester.

He was elected to the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.

Trbovich served on the boards of various manufacturers, banks and other organizations, including colleges.

Trbovich graduated from Kensington High School in 1952 -- in a graduating class that also included future business leaders Frank Ciminelli, Russ Salvatore, Dave Koch and Harry Metcalf.

In an interview in 2007, Trbovich said Kensington High proved to be a good starting point for him.

"There were a lot of good things in high school. The basic academic programs were wide and varied, and stimulated my interests," he said.

Seven years after graduating from Kensington, Trbovich founded Servotronics.

"The environment at the time was conducive to setting up a business and all the resources I needed were here," he said.

Under his leadership, Servotronics built a $6 million factory in Elma and moved its technology products operations there from Cheektowaga in 1993. Servotronics also has a consumer products plant in Franklinville.

In its annual report, Servotronics said it had 320 employees as of the end of 2016, about 95 percent of whom are in Western New York. Last year, the company reported net income of $1.8 million and revenues of nearly $39 million.

Trbovich is survived by five children.

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