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Lakeland Industries chairman retires

Raymond Smith, center, with people wearing company products

Raymond Smith, center, with people wearing company products in 1998. Credit: Newsday / Don Jacobsen

After nearly three decades with the company, co-founder Raymond J. Smith, left, has retired as board chairman of Lakeland Industries Inc., a Ronkonkoma maker of protective garments and safety accessories.

The retirement was effective Friday.

Stephen M. Bachelder, a member of the Lakeland board of directors since 2004, is the new board chairman.

After the appointment of a new member to fill the vacancy left by Smith’s retirement, six of the Lakeland board’s seven members will be independent. The other is Christopher J. Ryan, the company's president and chief executive.

Nominated to fill the vacant seat is Thomas McAteer, former president and chief executive of the health care organization Vytra Health Plans. McAteer now leads an eastern regional business unit of Aetna Inc.

Ryan said in a statement that Smith’s leadership started at a time when the company made a limited product line of coveralls and extended “to the present day as a diversified protective apparel market leader with operations in major and emerging markets around the world.”

Smith appears above, center, in 1998 with some of the protective suits his company makes at Lakeland Industries.

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