History of Able Electropolishing

TOM GLASS (1974 – 2020)

A dedicated father, husband, brother, son, and teammate, Tom Glass was a beloved and valued member of the Able Electropolishing family. As the grandson of Able founder Zen Pokvitis, Tom often noted that Able Electropolishing had been a part of his life since before he was born.

Tom worked alongside his father, CEO John Glass, his brother, President Brian Glass, and his brother in-law Tim Olsted, president of production. They cherished the time they worked together in building Able into the largest electropolishing specialist in the world.

Prior to joining Able as a maintenance worker in 2002, Tom worked as an engineer and data network architect, among other technical and sales positions. He moved through a variety of shop and sales positions at Able and earned a business management degree from North Central College, before being named CEO in 2018.

His focus on innovation and helping clients solve metal finishing challenges helped drive Able’s ongoing investments in robotic automation. Tom also used his own health difficulties – which included serious complications from spinal surgery in 2017 – as a springboard for further innovation around electropolishing’s effectiveness at improving the pathogen resistance and cleanability of parts for medical devices and tools.

He was an active leader in the community in roles that included president, board chairman and executive committee member of the Lawndale Business Renaissance Association (LBRA), where he loved working with other business leaders to bring positive change to the neighborhood.

When continuing health problems forced his resignation in December 2019, Tom was profuse in thanking the members of the Able family for what the company has been able to accomplish.

“Thank you all for being so diligent and continuously servicing our customers, and for continuing to grow the business while accomplishing so many strategic things in just the past two years alone,” he said.

“I already regret not being able to finish this great endeavor with you all,” he said in a recorded message to his Able colleagues, “but I take comfort in knowing that our dream is all in your capable hands.”

His death on February 20, 2020 was a tremendous blow to the many people who loved and looked up to him, but his leadership leaves behind a foundation of strength and innovation that we are determined to carry forward.

Able History

Founded in 1954 in the midst of a booming post-war period of industrial achievement that grew out of the many production and engineering breakthroughs achieved during WWII, Able Electropolishing grew out of the experience and expertise of founder Zenon Pokvitis.

A self-taught chemist who started the business shortly after his discharge from the U.S. Army, Pokvitis was on the leading edge of many of those war-era breakthroughs and afterward focused his chemical background on production applications for electropolishing.

Pokvitis, who died in 2001 at the age of 75, oversaw the growth of the business through three generations of his family. Today, Pokvitis' son-in-law John Glass, who joined Able in 1972, serves as Able’s CEO. He has held numerous positions in the company from shop supervisor to quality manager, general manager, vice president and president. Grandson Brian Glass is Able’s president.

Over six decades, the business has grown to become the world’s largest electropolishing specialist, with a 50,000 square-foot facility and 170 employees working three shifts to provide state-of-the-art metal finishing technologies to an array of industries that have come to depend on the company’s consistent, reliable processes and commitment to innovation and excellence.

An ongoing investment in robotic automation and the expansion of its processing production facility in 2018 paved the way for the company’s continued growth and innovation in providing customized electropolishing and other metal surface finish solutions for some of the world’s best known companies in industries that include medical device manufacturing, aerospace, food production, automotive and more.

Key Dates in Company History



Founded by Zenon Pokvitis


Moved to current location at 2001 S. Kilbourn Ave.


Able begins investing heavily in robotics to improve consistency and throughput for our clients


Able completes addition to the shop to increase capacity

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