Loreto “Larry” Capoccia came to the U.S. from Italy with his wife in 1966 and soon found a career in the metal finishing industry.
He began working at Alexandria Metal Finishers and eventually became part owner of the company, specializing in precious metal plating (gold, silver, and rhodium), hard anodizing, and multi-plating on unusual alloys and special set-ups.
AMF is a Nadcap-certified facility that offers more than 40 processes, including non-destructive testing, and they also maintain an in-house library of federal, aerospace, military, and commercial standards.
Mentors Shaped Capoccia’s Long Career
Capoccia’s mentor was Anthony Facciolo, who started Alexandria Metal Finishers with partners Joe Natoli a former lawyer, and Walt Prichard, in 1962.
Facciolo used to pick Capoccia up and take him to and from work for about a month, and then Larry started riding the bus from Maryland to Virginia. Capoccia was hired as a silversmith because of his background and his ability to work with his hands.
“I was a little bit artistic, and I could polish, and I could do a lot of stuff,” he says.
Capoccia also says Art Pierdon, a former president of the American Electroplaters Society, who was a consultant to Alexandria Metal Finishers, was also influential in Capoccia’s development.
Facciolo quickly saw that Capoccia had a talent for the business, despite his limited English at the time. Capoccia says Facciolo used to tell him, “Don’t worry about your accent; people will listen to your knowledge and skill.”
“Tony started to see that I could understand a lot of stuff in terms of metal, and he started to work with me,” Capoccia says. “He was a very intelligent person. He was really well known in the American Electroplaters Society, and we made a good team.”
Heavily Involved in Plating Industry Associations
Capoccia served as secretary, vice president, and president of the AESF Baltimore-Washington chapter. More than 50 years later, he continues working in AMF offices every day, specifically watching over the production lines.
Capoccia recalls a funny moment when he and tony were working on a plating issue involving rhodium and nickel finishing, and Facciolo was working with the chemical supplier they used to solve the problem, which they were having a tough time doing.
Facciolo and Capoccia spent the entire weekend working on the problem, and late that Sunday, Capoccia came up with a way of finding out what was wrong and solving the issue.
“I remember Tony got so mad that he called somebody from the company on the weekend,” Capoccia says. “I’ll never forget his words to this day: ‘it took a little guy from Italy to solve the darn problem that you guys didn’t solve it.’ it was the funniest thing.”
Capoccia, even though semi-retired at Alexandria Metal Finishers, still comes in every day. His son, Dennis, is the Plant manager of the facility now.
“He is here just about every day,” Dennis says. “He is always out on the production lines overseeing jobs going on. He just loves this industry, and he loves what he is doing. I think it has kept him young in a lot of ways.”