MILLVILLE, N.J. — Joe Pustizzi Sr., founder of the original Trico Equipment in 1952 with his wife Angie, has died at the age of 96. Trico is the forerunner of a major aerial equipment rental company Trico Lift and a major equipment distributorship Trico Equipment Services.
Pustizzi built and operated a gas station from which he began selling farm equipment. The business evolved into a Case construction equipment dealership for which Pustizzi received numerous sales achievement awards, including being honored as the Top Performance Case Construction Equipment Dealer in North America in 1979. An expert mechanic, Pustizzi teamed with a few local racing enthusiasts in 1957 to build the Case 300 modified stockcar that won 13 NASCAR feature races that year.
Pustizzi retired in 1986 and remained active growing grapes, gardening, restoring old cars and helping his family and community.
The two businesses that grew out of Pustizzi's original dealership are both owned and led by Pustizzi's sons. Joe Jr. owns Trico Equipment services, which has three locations in the Northeast providing rentals, sales and servicing of Case construction equipment primarily. Trico Lift is one of the largest privately owned access equipment companies in North America, owned by Ken Pustizzi with 13 locations in the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast markets, ranked No. 53 on the RER 100.
Donations in Pustizzi's memory can be made to the Forest Grove Athletic Association, 1101 Wheaton Ave., Millville, N.J. 08332 or the Sicilian-American Club of South Jersey, 638 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, N.J. 08360.
Pustizzi is survived by six children, 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.