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Updated: April 1, 2024 / 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

Manufacturing awards: Camelot Tools innovates to make manual labor easier and more effective

A woman uses a trail digging tool Photo | Courtesy of Camelot Tools A member of the Trail Sisters from the Northwest Trail Alliance tries out the Sitemaster tool from Camelot Tools.
2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards
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Creating a better mousetrap was Tony Cacela’s goal when he founded his excavation tool company, Camelot Tools. With two products available and more in the pipeline, he’s already seeing just how popular his designs could be.

Camelot Tools launched its introductory product, a multi-use hoe/mattock hybrid named the SiteMaster in 2017, followed by a carbon steel adjustable rake eponymously dubbed The Rake in 2023. The SiteMaster is in its third generation as the company’s leaders listen to feedback when working to improve their products, said CEO Lauren Cacela.

The everyday worker is at the forefront of Tony Cacela’s mind when he’s developing tools. From firefighters to trail builders to farmers, he strives to find ways to make manual labor easier and more effective. He enlists these professionals to test his tools as he designs them. Massachusetts fire departments and the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation tested prototypes of the SiteMaster, and it was local firefighters who asked Cacela to create The Rake.

An information box on Camelot Tools, which contains a photo of its two executives: Tony & Lauren Cacela
Camelot Tools bio box

Cacela was born and raised on a farm in Portugal before emigrating to America and becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL, affording him the experience of using excavation tools before shifting gears to entrepreneurship. Throughout his work, he observed a gap in the tools industry:

“I noticed that most of the tools that were used up till now had been tools that were based on the science from a long time ago,” he said.

Many tools on the market were either heavy and tough on the bodies of workers or light-weight and not as efficient, he said. These conventional tools have served workers well, but with advancements in technology, Tony Cacela saw an opportunity to advance them.

“Traditional tools have served good duty,” Lauren Cacela said. “But now in these modern times, we have available to us modern metals, modern manufacturing methods, and the modern design from Tony as well, to make tools that are capable of heavy-duty work but are also lighter in weight. And that’s something that couldn’t have been done earlier.”

Moving forward, Camelot looks to expand its product range while teaming up with organizations benefiting from using its tools. The U.S. Forest Service’s National Technology and Development Program is testing the SiteMaster for potential use, while in March Camelot secured a partnership with the New England Mountain Bike Association as its official hand tool company.

Camelot works to promote the communities its founders came from and live in. The Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office certified Camelot as a woman-owned business, and Camelot annually contributes to the Navy SEAL Foundation, an organization supporting veterans and families of naval special warfare.

The company aims to embody “a theme of integrity, honor, [and] striving to do good,” Lauren Cacela said.

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