By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. recently presented Cassemco, Inc. with the Lighthouse Beam Safety Recognition Award for achieving an excellent reduction in workers’ compensation experience in 2019.
McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. initiated the Lighthouse Beam Safety Recognition Award to promote safety and health excellence and to recognize its client’s excellent performance. To receive the Lighthouse Beam Excellence Award, a client’s workers’ compensation experience modification factor must be 0.84 or below for their most recent full policy period.
In January 1975, Cassemco started production in Cookeville, focusing on sewing chin straps for helmets. The company founder, Leonard Nipper, was concerned about the safety of football players, so he began expanding the product line to focus on a variety of sports products he developed related to safety, including shoulder pads, thigh pads, etc.
“We did some molding, and a lot of it was his designs and his interpretations on making it a safer sport,” said John Nipper, son of Leonard Nipper and the current Cassemco president.
After Leonard Nipper passed away in 1991, the company shifted focus. It began making products for the military and transportation industries, providing products for the military that were used in Operation Desert Storm and developing foam used for noise reduction around car seat motors.
Upon her husband’s death, Barbara Tetreault took over the company and remains the CEO today, making Cassemco Cookeville’s oldest female-owned industry.
The company’s vast experience in foam next led them into the medical industry, producing products for Deroyal.
“We were kind of at the right time understanding the foam fabrication part of it to get into making foam for surgeries,” said Nipper.
Tetreault’s influence on the business has dramatically influenced its cleanliness and safety records.
“My mom wanted a very clean facility that could produce these parts because unlike a lot of foam that gets covered as a cushion, it gets exposed,” said Nipper. “They take it right out of the bag, and they may immobilize one of your limbs during surgery. These are fairly standard positioners.”
Most of Cassemco’s products are flexible foam positioners that are used by surgeons to position a patient’s body in the correct position to perform major surgery. The company currently produces 30-50 different positioners for several medical companies.
Other major industries served by Cassemco include automotive and marine seating and interior trim, consumer and household products and packaging materials.
McGriff Insurance Services takes pride in recognizing and celebrating the “best of the best” with companies such as Cassemco.