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Stellar celebrates Francis Zrostlik Day in honor of founder

By Stephen Elliott

August 20, 2023

Stellar founder honored

Stellar Industries founder Francis Zrostlik was honored by the city of Garner, Iowa. On Aug. 14, the first ever Francis Zrostlik Day was celebrated. From left to right are Jim Collins, Garner city administrator; members of the Zrostlik family (Dave Zrostlik, Barbara Zrostlik-Beyer, Susan Zrostlik Firsching), and Garner Mayor Tim Schmidt.

The city of Garner, Iowa, has declared Aug. 14 as “Francis Zrostlik Day,” an honor that celebrates the contributions of Francis Zrostlik, the founder of Stellar Industries. 

Zrostlik grew up on a farm south of Duncan, Iowa, and began his career by retooling tire molds for the tire retreading industry in a Quonset building behind his home in Garner, where his fledgling Iowa Mold Tooling Co. was born in 1961. Garner is where he would base all his subsequent businesses. 

Throughout the decades, Zrostlik continued to pioneer groundbreaking products and solutions for the truck equipment industry. Zrostlik eventually sold Iowa Mold Tooling Co. in 1985 and enjoyed a brief retirement. In 1990, with the support of partners Jim Vlaanderen and Gary Bomstad, Stellar Industries was founded, and has five locations across North Iowa, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, employing more than 800 people. 

Dave Zrostlik, son of Francis and current president of Stellar, expressed his enthusiasm. 

“The Zrostlik family is honored to have the city of Garner remember my dad, Francis, as the ultimate entrepreneur who founded two successful Garner-based companies during his lifetime. While my dad was the man with the ideas to start Iowa Mold Tooling and Stellar, it was the spirit of the community and our many coworkers that turned those dreams into successful businesses,” Zrostlik says. “We are immensely proud to celebrate Francis Zrostlik Day. My dad’s legacy is deeply ingrained in Stellar’s DNA, and we are honored to continue his tradition of innovation, excellence and community engagement.”