Charles (Charlie) Sears, President of Dri-Air Industries (East Windsor, CT), passed away on Aug. 5 after a battle with cancer.
Sears started Dri-Air Industries Inc. in 1985 and it quickly became a leading supplier of drying systems for the plastics industry. His expertise and leadership along with his desire to create the best possible product for his customers resulted in double-digit growth each year. He was a noted authority on the science of drying technology and applications and held several patents.
Prior to founding Dri-Air, Sears held senior positions within plastics industry companies such as Polymer Machinery, Automated Assemblies and Nelmor (AEC). He received his BSME from Northeastern University and MME from RPI, and had well over 40 years of experience in the design and manufacturing of drying systems. He was also a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association.
Dri-Air is a family owned and operated business, with wife Esther managing the accounting and son Jason, who has been with the company 27 years, overseeing operations. The company has 27 employees.
Sears was never afraid to take on new challenges. In 1967, at the tender age of 26, he moved to Hong Kong with his new wife Esther to start up a manufacturing facility. After three successful years he returned to the United States and entered the plastics industry. At age 78, Sears had no plans for a formal retirement—he and his company were inseparable. He loved what he did and always said, “there are just too many things I want to do here at the company.”
Sears is survived by his wife; daughter Wendy O’Seep and husband Greg and their two children Austin and Carolyn; son Jason and wife Rebecca along with their two sons Caleb and Josh. He also leaves his Dri-Air family of employees.
Services are being held Monday, Aug. 13, at South Congregational Church of Granby, 242 Salmon Brook St., Granby, CT 06035. The service will be held at 11 am with the reception to directly follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer to see donations in honor of Sears to support the next generation of plastics engineers through scholarship support at UMass Lowell in his name or to support the Syracuse Plastics Collection at the University Library.
UMASS Lowell: Please mail donations made out to "The UMass Lowell Plastics Scholarship Fund" to Gail Sheehy, UMass Lowell, Plastics Engineering Department, One University Ave, Lowell, MA 01854.
For additional information and other ways to make a donation in honor of Sears at UMass Lowell, please contact [email protected] (781/861-9486).
Syracuse: Make a check payable to “Syracuse University Libraries” with the words “Plastics Collection” in the memo line of the check. The address is Syracuse University Libraries, Attn: Bianca Breed, 222 Waverly Ave., Syracuse, NY 13244.
People can also make a gift online to the Plastics Collection at GiveToSULibraries.syr.edu. Choose SU Libraries Dean’s Fund and check the box for My gift is a tribute in memory of . . . and write in Sears’ name.