The company’s roots lie in France, where TLD was formed in 1897 as a silk weaving business and later transitioned to a steel manufacturer in the 1930s. TLD has been located in Windsor since 1972, when it acquired ACE, a company that had been manufacturing aviation ground equipment since the 1950s. TLD today is a multinational business, with more than ten factories in America, Asia and Europe. The company’s clients—airlines, airports, cargo shippers, ground handlers and military organizations—are located all over the world in just about every country.
TLD-USA’s CEO Mark Garlasco’s career path reflects the reasons why he feels it is a great company to work for—a place whose environment and values exemplify the company’s slogan, “Local Support, Total Commitment.” Upon earning an engineering degree from the University of Connecticut, he worked at an aerospace company in his native Long Island. Wanting a more hands-on experience, he contacted a UConn friend who was working at TLD. “He told me about this great place in Windsor where you worked on everything,” Mark says. He enjoyed his first TLD job, and learned many skills before moving to Pratt & Whitney to build on his management ability. After leaving P&W and developing an aerospace product on his own, he eventually returned to the supportive TLD environment, where he moved up through management positions.
Mark stresses the benefits of TLD’s environment for employees. “Anybody working in any of TLD’s factories, including Windsor, is going to have a very hands-on experience, including feedback from others who are more experienced, and a large range of products to work on.” He says that because of the size of the factory, “it’s natural for people to just know each other.” TLD prides itself on a healthy working environment, and valuing the employees who work with them.
One of TLD’s challenges today is finding and hiring people in a low-unemployment environment. Human resources manager Debbie Dorman says, “New college graduates often overlook us and go to other companies that are more well-known in the area.” To counter that, TLD works with UConn, the University of Hartford and Central Connecticut State University to attract young talent for internships and post-college employment.
Beyond the importance of employees working together, Mark emphasizes the company’s dedication to serving its customers, which was demonstrated in the days and years after 9/11, when the aerospace industry contracted. Other companies in the industry pulled back in staffing and capacity, but TLD stayed fully staffed and ready to serve. This loyalty to their customers and workforce helped them rebuild and grow to become one of the top companies in the industry.
Closing in on its fiftieth year in town, TLD continues to view Windsor as a good place to do business, thanks to its location, access to transportation, cooperative local government and highly skilled base of employees.
by Aretha Prabawa, a 2019 graduate of Windsor High School.