Riverdale Mills CEO James ‘Jim’ Knott, Jr. was awarded 2018 “Large Business Leader of the Year” recently by the Worcester Business Journal (WBJ). Headquartered in a restored, circa 1840s mill on the Blackstone River in Northbridge, MA, Riverdale Mills Corporation is a global leader in wire manufacturing.

“Jim Knott was an obvious choice for the 2018 Large Business Leader of the Year award,” said WBJ Editor Brad Kane.“The way Riverdale Mills has grown and diversified under his leadership – including its respected position within the seafood trap industry and expansion into securityfencing – are worthy of praise. Coupled with his and Riverdale’s commitment to manufacturing in the Blackstone Valley area, Jim is a standout member of the small class of business leaders who have won this prestigious award over the past 36 years.”

Riverdale Mills was recognized previously with a Global Trade Award by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts International Business Council (AIMIBC). This award is given annually to Massachusetts companies making a significant contribution to the Massachusetts economy, demonstrating excellence in international trade, and setting high standards for global business.

Company History
Riverdale Mills founder James Knott, Sr. revolutionized the lobster fishing industry in 1980 when he created Aquamesh®, a first of its kind marine-grade welded wire mesh designed specifically for the construction of lobster traps. Today, more than 80 percent of all lobster traps in North America are built with Aquamesh, and the product enjoys a devoted global following as well.

For over 30 years,Jim Jr. worked with his father in a variety of financial, technical and operational positions. Jim’s deep-rooted knowledge of the business has proven invaluable as Riverdale Mills has transitioned from a start-up, with sales initially limited to New England, to an internationally recognized leader in the wire industry.

Riverdale Mills now manufacturesover 3,500 sizes of welded wire mesh for the construction, security, marine, and farming industries. Forty percent of its products are exported to global customers.
“Our family business has a unique and robust history, with an intense focus on innovation and longterm success, a deep rooted dedication to our employees, and an unwavering determination to deliver superior products and service to every customer,” said Riverdale Mills CEO Jim Knott.

Fishing, Fencing and Farming
Following its success with Aquamesh,Riverdale Mills diversified its product line to include WireWall® high security fencing. Installed at over 1,000 locations worldwide, WireWall fencing is virtually impossible to climb or cut. Around the globe, installations of WireWall can be found at embassies, transit centers, ports, country borders, military bases, manufacturing and power plants, and other locations where perimeter security is a critical safety and deterrent need. Welded wire mesh made by Riverdale Mills is also used for construction gabions and mattresses, agriculture fencing and lattice, poultry house flooring, farming pens, and other commercial and industrial applications.

Additionally, the Riverdale team is dedicated to supporting the off-bottom oyster farming industry. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Maritimes, this important and growing sector of the fishing industry provides not only a sought-after culinary delight but also gives lobstermen and women the opportunity to continue fishing when they decide to make their living closer to shore.

The Knott family is committed to ensuring the company’s manufacturing processes never compromise the integrity of the environment. Almost 100 percent of the steel byproduct and other scrap metal from the wire manufacturing process is captured and recycled. The company also recycles wood, plastic and paper, and encourages its customers to do the same.

As part of the restoration of the historic mill they occupy, the Knott family rebuilt a dam and rehydrated an adjacent pond. Riverdale uses water from the Blackstone River to generate hydroelectric power for a portion of its electricity needs and heats the facility from the plant’s processes. The restored pond provides a habitat for native wetland plants, trees and animals. Its biodiversity has flourished and is now home to a variety of fish, reptiles and birds,including swans and a family of protected American bald eagles.