Company History

Long standing traditions of quality and design excellence.

Portage Knife Company was founded in 1983 by Paul “Barney” Grimes, at the age of 72. Paul was a machine designer and entrepreneur for his entire life. He saw an opportunity in the manufacture of circular scoring knives and worked for years designing many specialized machines to make the 3” circular knife manufacturing process less labor intensive. Paul grew Portage Knife Company for many years with his impressive machine designs and a relentless focus on the quality of his parts.

In 1997, at age 86, Paul retired and sold Portage Knife to his daughter, Jeannine Lizak, his Protégé and Plant Manager, Chris Michalec, and his grandson, Duane Huff. This trio has worked tirelessly over the years to expand and improve the company, now known as Portage Machine Concepts Inc., dba Portage Knife Company. The Portage Knife staff continues to focus its resources on serving the needs of their customers. We pride ourselves on our vast inventory of ready-to-ship manufactured knives and related products. Portage Knife Company ships to customers in five of the seven continents, and its products and accessories are used daily in converting processes around the world.

In 2002, Portage Knife began an aggressive program of technological investment to further refine the manufacture of our circular knife products and accessories. The company has focused on maintaining tighter tolerances and improving its already incredible quality. Our continued investment in technology and quality personnel ensures that our business will continue, year after year, to provide outstanding quality and value to our customers.

In 2008, Portage Knife moved from its original site in Mogadore, Ohio, to a 28,000 square foot facility in Akron, Ohio. The larger facility gave us the space we needed to expand our manufacturing capabilities and to further increase our efficiency, always with the goal of adding value for our customers.

In 2013, Jeannine Lizak made the decision to enter into retirement. At that time, Chris Michalec assumed the role of President of Portage Knife Company, managing its daily operations. Jeannine still continues to be involved and offer insight into our business. With the core values set by Jeannine and her late father, Paul, the guidance of our management team and our production staff’s attention to detail, Portage Knife will continue to carry on Paul’s legacy.