Born in New York City during the Great Depression, Maglica was raised in his mother's native Croatia. He was a small child when his mother decided to return to Croatia so that he could be raised close to her family. In 1950, he returned to the United States. With complete faith in the American free enterprise system, Maglica set out to make the most of his training as an experimental machinist, in spite of the fact that he spoke no English. Five years later he had managed to save $125 in order to buy a lathe and start his own machine tool business in a Los Angeles area garage.
Maglica manufactured precision parts for industry, aerospace, and the military, and quickly earned a reputation for quality, efficiency and ingenuity. Mag Instrument was eventually incorporated in 1974. By that time, Maglica had clearly demonstrated his innovative techniques for cutting production costs and increasing quality. Continuous improvement is a talent that continues to keep his company ahead of the competition. Maglica established a hands-on leadership style, as well as a core business philosophy of combining superior quality of all Mag products with unsurpassed customer service.
Lighting the Path to Success
As his company grew, Maglica set his sights on designing and manufacturing a new and improved flashlight. Initially targeted for the public safety sector, the Maglite® flashlight was introduced in 1979. Police officers, firefighters and mechanics quickly spread the word about this rugged, reliable anodized aluminum flashlight, which would change the portable lighting industry forever.
Committed to product innovation and refinement, Maglica followed up the success of the Maglite® flashlight with the Maglite® Rechargeable Flashlight System™, one of the most powerful rechargeable flashlights of its size. The Mini Maglite® AA flashlight was launched in 1984 and set a new standard for personal size flashlights. A smaller AAA-Cell version of the Mini Maglite® flashlight, ideal for many industrial and medical applications, was introduced in 1987; and the Solitaire® single AAA-Cell flashlight, designed for key chains and purses, was introduced in 1988.
Often referred to as "A Work of Art That Works®", the Maglite® and Mini Maglite® have been honored by the Japan Institute of Design and the Museum for Applied Art in Germany. Fortune and Money magazines ranked Mag Instrument® products among the top 100 products that "America makes best". In 1996, the Wall Street Journal referred to the Maglite® flashlight as "the Cadillac of flashlights", and quoted then-CEO of Apple Computer Gilbert F. Amelio as saying he wanted Apple to be "essentially the Maglite® of computers".
Expansion and Innovation
Headquartered in Ontario, California since 1982, Mag Instrument has 850 employees and occupies 450,000 square feet of space, including factory, offices and a distribution center. A new fully integrated manufacturing facility, now under construction in Ontario, is expected to create 2,400 additional jobs. This expansion will help Mag Instrument® meet the increasing worldwide demand for its products. The long-term goal is for exports to account for no less than 50 percent of sales.
Mag Instrument is proud to be a leader in the current renaissance in American manufacturing. Maglica himself, a fervent believer in the importance of manufacturing in the United States, insists that all Mag Instrument® products be produced domestically and bear the "Made in America" label. He has dedicated himself to proving that American-made products can excel in the global marketplace by using technology to continually improve quality and reduce costs. Over the last two decades, Maglica's innovations have allowed Mag Instrument to offer consumers consistently better value than the competition.
Maglica, who is personally involved in all product research and development, holds hundreds of patents and trademarks for features that are employed in company products. Over the past decade and a half, Mag Instrument has vigorously enforced its intellectual property rights in courts here and abroad. Maglica believes that all American manufacturers benefit from the aggressive defense of patent and trademark rights against any and all infringers.
Several new products are under development, to be introduced only when Maglica is personally satisfied that their design and execution are up to Mag Instrument standards. In the meantime, he has plenty of other interests to occupy his time, including building an environmental reclamation plant in Zlarin, Croatia, where he grew up. From Maglica's childhood home to the birthplace of his success, this patriot and businessman continues to champion and exemplify the blessings of free enterprise.