Ascension Industries

Ascension Industries - 1254 Erie Avenue - Established in 1956

as St. Mary Manufacturing by John Kopczynski, with the first employees in 1960. A separate company began as Ascension Sheet & Metal Fabricating Co. in 1975, was incorporated by John Kopczynski and Andrew Ceglinski when they bought out Joyce Plumbing. The original location was on East Niagara Street in City of Tonawanda. They later bought the Richardson Boat building and moved there.  In 2001 Ascension Sheet & Metal Fabricating merged into Ascension Industries.


John L. Paczos was born and raised in North Tonawanda and was the son of immigrants from Poland.  He graduated from Our Lady of Czestochowa school in 1946 and North Tonawanda High School in 1950.  In high school, he was a member of Championship Swim Teams from 1948 to 1950.  With an Associates Degree in Mechanical Technology from Erie Community College, a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, and a Masters Degree in Automotive Engineering from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering, he is retired Chrysler executive.  He is a U.S. Naval veteran.

    FOR YEARS, AUTO enthusiasts have claimed that the people building automobiles in Detroit don't really like cars — but they're wrong.
    John Paczos likes cars. In fact, John Paczos loves them. And he builds them for Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, just 500 miles upstream of the Niagara River.
    A native of North Tonawanda, Mr. Paczos now serves as purchasing manager for the Corporate Purchasing Office of the entire Chrysler Corporation. He eats, sleeps and lives automobiles.
    Ask him about the Wankel engine. The “world car.” The Tucker Torpedo.
    But don't ask him about the 1976 Dodge Demon — because he isn't going to answer.

    MR. PACZOS visited his family and friends in North Tonawanda early this week, including former Mayor John Kopczynski.
    “Cars are going to change very fast,” he contends. “Engines are getting less and less powerful, more expensive to operate and more complicated to maintain. All of these problems are going to have to be solved if auto manufacturers are going to meet the consumer needs.”
    Although not directly involved with the physical production of automobiles, Mr. Paczos is familiar enough with corporate policies to know what developments are being studied by major manufacturers.
    “There is a lot of emphasis on the rotary engine,” he said. “But no one seems to have licked the problem of engine life with the Wankel engine.

“RIGHT NOW a Wankel engine rarely runs more than 50,000 miles without needing new rotor seals,” he explained, “and that means a complete engine tear-down.”
    He said Chrysler Corporation is testing Wankel engines produced in Japan but that the manufacturer has no plans at present to produce a Wankel-engined car.
    ‘‘Other manufacturers like Chevrolet have made a strong commitment to the rotary engine,” he added, “but at Chrysler we are still just looking at it as a possible solution to meeting future pollution regulations.”
    He said that because of laws regulating cleaner engines, automobiles are becoming less powerful while at the same time cars are getting heavier.
    “Manufacturers are beginning to look for a way to decrease the weight of the cars to lighten the burden on the engine,” he said. “This is why you will see more and more lighter plastic replacing heavier metal in new cars. If we can't make the engine stronger we have to make the car lighter.”

    CARS OF THE FUTURE , he said, may tip the scales at only about 3,000 pounds, but will be stronger and more durable than autos produced today.
    “Another trend we are exploring is what's called a ‘World Car' — an auto we can produce and sell on every continent,” Mr. Paczos explained. “Something like the Volkswagen that is made in Europe and South America and in countless countries yet always looks like it was made in the same factory.”
    Under consideration as a possible world car is the Plymouth Cricket, now being produced in England by Chrysler U.K. The car is small, light, is powered by an economical four-cylinder engine and is relatively uncomplicated to maintain.
    “There always will be a market for a car like that; even in this country,” he said.“ People are buying second and third cars and they just aren't going to spend $4,000 for a car for young John to drive to junior college in.

    “LITTLE CARS BEGAN going strong in the early 60s with the Corvair and the Falcon,” he explained. “People want something economical to purchase and drive, so there will always be a market for compacts.
    “We also are working under a government project to develop a turbine engine,” he added.
    Chrysler is the original backer of the turbine engine concept for automobiles.
    “There are problems there, too,” he added. “The metals we used in building our prototypes is so expensive and rare that we could never produce the engine for production. But we keep working on materials development and may find a breakthrough.”

    TURBINE CARS generally have poor acceleration and only mediocre mileage figures, but the engines produce an abundance of “low end” torque and would be ideal for heavy truck applications, where low speed pulling power is desirable.
    A graduate of North Tonawanda High School, Mr. Paczos attended Erie Community College and the University of Tennessee before joining Chrysler Corporation and, completing work for a master's degree under a company-sponsored program. He worked his way up from production to management in less than 10 years.
    “I enjoy it,” he says. “I enjoy machinery and I like cars.
    “My street machine is a new ‘Road Runner' all decked out in red and black. It's a great toy.”

Article: Tonawanda News - Saturday, December 20, 1972

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