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1968 was an important year in our country. It was a year of triumphant feats: the introduction of the first 747, the installation of the first ATM, the orbiting of the moon – and devastating losses with the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Hector Noriega 1968 - inside Ray ProductsIn 1968, a postage stamp cost 5¢, a gallon of gas cost 34¢, a dozen eggs went for 53¢ and a gallon of milk was $1.07. That year, Ray Products was closing in on 20 years in business, with founder Allen Ray at the helm.

1968 is also the year Hector Noriega arrived at Ray Products for his first day of work on October 30. And 50 years later, on October 30, 2018, Hector retired.

Staying at one company for 50 years is an incredible accomplishment – but we consider ourselves the lucky ones. Our current CEO Brian Ray remembers meeting Hector years ago, long before Brian took over the company.

“I have vivid childhood memories of Hector running machines, forming parts and always being able to fix anything no matter how broken it was.”

Hector’s loyalty and attention to detail – both on and off the factory floor – have made him an excellent employee, colleague and friend.

“Years ago, large groups of employees would go fishing on the weekends,” Brian recalls. “I have great memories of driving down to San Diego with Hector on a Friday night and being ready to fish early Saturday morning. I was always one of the youngest on the boat, and Hector would always make sure that my hook was tied, bait was on and my line was in the water, and that I didn’t get pushed out of the way. But when the fish were biting, I was on my own, because Hector was there to catch fish! I don’t blame him, because there’s nothing better than returning home Saturday night with a sack full of fish and great fishing stories.”

Hector Noriega and Brian RayWe’ll miss Hector, but we’re excited for him and hope he gets to enjoy his retirement for many years to come  – with plenty of fishing trips, visits to Mexico, and time with family and friends.

Hector is actually our second employee to celebrate 50 years with us, and we feel extremely fortunate to have worked with him for 50 years. The commitment and work ethic of employees like Hector is one of the main reasons behind our evolution from a company that produced plastic baby bassinets to a leading thermoforming expert that makes plastic parts used around the world across a wide range of industries, from retail to medical devices to automotive and aerospace.

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