Autac, a manufacturer of coiled cords founded by Robert N. Burkle in 1947, celebrated the company’s 75th anniversary with an event at Bill Miller’s Castle in Branford, Connecticut.
The event was hosted by company President Marie Burkle. “It is with a great sense of pride that we have come this far,” she told the audience of some 85 people, which included employees and their families/guests, suppliers, industry colleagues and state Senator Christine Cohen. “No business can make 75 years without relationships,” she said. For a business, that means employees, vendors and local community leaders. “All have helped us in different ways,” and that support enabled the company to survive and thrive.”
Burkle called up a number of employees to single them out for their contributions. Speaking later, she said, “It is a source of great pride for me, the last Burkle, to keep my father’s legacy going and certainly a reason to celebrate. The day was also an opportunity to give our staff the recognition they so deeply deserve.”
At the same time, Burkle shared different thoughts in her speech. She singled out some industry vendors, saying they could also be a company’s biggest liability. She cited the “80-20” rule, referring to the axiom that 80 percent of business often comes from 20 percent of customers.
In hard times, such as the last few Covid years, that has resulted in a much harder business atmosphere, Burkle said. “Our minimums increase, our prices go up, the lead times go out and payment terms become so unreasonable that it bankrupts many small businesses. How can one eat their young and hope to survive for more generations? I’ve never understood that.”
That assessment does not apply to all vendors, and Burkle thanked Mexichem for being a reliable business partner, presenting the company a plaque for their consistently good work.
Burkle said it was important for her to hold the event at Bill Miller’s Castle as the founder, the late Bill Miller, and her late father, were together in Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce back in the 60’s and 70’s. “Also, Bill Miller was a huge help and supporter of me when I served as president of the North Branford Chamber. He and that fabulous building have a special place in my heart!”