Diversified Plastics, Inc. appoints James Garvin to board of directors

James GarvinMINNEAPOLIS—Diversified Plastics, Inc. (DPI), a custom plastic-injection molder of high-precision thermoplastic components, has appointed James Garvin to its board of directors. Garvin has an extensive background with 34 years of experience in manufacturing and management. He will provide leadership and strategic guidance and serve as an adviser to DPI’s CEO and executive team.

“We welcome James to the board and look forward to his contributions as we grow the company,” says James Dow, Chairman of the Board at Diversified Plastics, Inc. “His well-rounded background in management, operations, business development and quality makes him ideally suited to help guide the company.”

Garvin is the president of Cass Precision Machining, a Brooklyn Center, Minn., contract manufacturer. Prior to joining Cass Precision Machining, he was chief operating officer at Hutchinson Manufacturing, Inc. in Hutchinson, Minn. In addition, he held several leadership roles at Hutchinson Technology, Inc. Garvin started his career as a supplier and product quality engineer at Unisys, Midwest Operations Group in Roseville, Minn. He received a Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minn.

For more information about Diversified Plastics, Inc. visit www.divplast.com,
call +1 763.424.2525 or email sales@divplast.com.

Avoid Pitfalls: Tool Transfer Protocols

Transfer Tool White PaperWHITE PAPER

Every mold transfer is a challenge. Transferring tools from one plastic injection molding company to a new supplier, with uninterrupted production, requires up-front planning and effective communication for a successful outcome. This white paper provides steps to take when transferring tools.


Kevin Hogan elected to North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors

Kevin G HoganKevin Hogan, CEO of Diversified Plastics, has been elected to serve on the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. The North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading resource for its members, providing programs and services to maximize their potential, while utilizing our local relevance as a driving force to build stronger communities. The organization leads, advocates and partners with area businesses, civic and education communities, to build a stronger more vibrant future.

Diversified Plastics, Inc. expands its sales engineer and technical support team

Sales team, left to right: Raymond Schenk, Aliza Alverson, Darrick Van Horne

Left to right: Raymond Schenk, Aliza Alverson, Darrick Van Horne

Committed to exceeding customer needs with responsive support, Diversified Plastics, Inc. has hired three experienced sales engineer and technical support team members. Raymond Schenk has been appointed senior sales engineer, Aliza Alverson is a sales engineer and Darrick Van Horne is technical support and sales engineer.

Schenk has over 24 years of experience in the plastics industry and covers the Western territory for Diversified Plastics. Previously, he served as general manager at Pioneer Plastics, Inc., Egan, Minn. He also held the positions of technical manager at Laurel Biocomposite, LLC, in Laurel, Neb. and vice president sales at Arc Precision, LLC, in Isanti, Minn. In addition, Schenk was the chief operating officer for Agri-Polymerix, LLC, Le Center, Minn.; sales engineer at Donatelle Plastics, Inc., New Brighton, Minn.; and president at Dyna Plast, Inc., Ramsey, Minn. He holds a Business Administration degree from Aurora University, Aurora, Ill.

Responsible for the Midwest – North territory at Diversified Plastics, Alverson was a sales engineer at Sandvik Coromant, headquartered in Sandviken, Sweden. There, she was responsible for current and prospective customer sales of a diverse line of indexable carbide tooling and process solutions to high-technology manufacturers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin—River Falls.

Assigned to the Midwest – South territory, Van Horne has nearly 15 years of experience in plastic injection molding, CNC machining and 3D printing. He has extensive technical knowledge in all types of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. Most recently, he held the position of applications engineer at Protolabs, Inc., headquartered in Maple Plain, Minn. He also served Protolabs as a technical-capabilities coordinator, principal designer, 3D CAD analyst, mill operator and mold build technician. Van Horne attended St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

“We are delighted to add these qualified members to our Diversified Plastics team,” says Annette Lund, vice president of Diversified Plastics, Inc.  “Our growth in the medical device, filtration, aerospace and other industrial markets makes these new roles essential to our continued success.”

Kevin Hogan Panelist at The State of Manufacturing

Kevin G HoganKevin Hogan, CEO of Diversified Plastics, will be a panelist at The State of Manufacturing presentation on Thursday, May 17, 2018. The event includes a briefing of the latest survey of over 400 Minnesota manufacturing executives on the economy and other major issues impacting their businesses. After the survey results are presented, there will be a panel discussion lead by Bob Kill, president and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota.

The State of ManufacturingThe event will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center from 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Other events are scheduled throughout Minnesota. Visit this link to register.

Rock Your Socks for Down Syndrome, #LotsOfSocks

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. To build awareness for down syndrome, the team at DPI is rocking their socks. Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota accepts donations online.  #LotsOfSocks


Diversified Plastics expands capacity with larger, environmentally controlled, molding room

Environmentally controlled, molding room To meet growing demand, Diversified Plastics, Inc. has enlarged its molding and packaging, environmentally controlled, room by 2,775 square feet (257.81 square meters). The company has also installed a new 250-ton molding machine that accommodates existing molds and increases capacity and flexibility in scheduling. In addition to this controlled environment, Diversified Plastics has two clean rooms and an environmentally controlled assembly room.

“Many of our customers are in the medical device, aerospace and electronics industries,” says Annette Lund, vice president of Diversified Plastics, Inc. “This larger, environmentally controlled molding and packaging area, along with the additional molding machine, increases productivity to meet growing demand from current and new customers.”

Less stringent than a clean room, controlled environments are pressurized, isolated manufacturing spaces with positive airflow as well as temperature and humidity controls. The plastic resin is located outside the room and is piped into the press, keeping dust under control. Employees wear gowns, sterilized shoes and, when required, gloves. Special mats on the floor reduce dirt coming into the room.

CEO Jim Dow, 81 signs off after selling his Diversified Plastics to his beloved employees

James DowStarTribune article, by Neal St. Anthony https://goo.gl/LVhtCd

The Brooklyn Park firm has grown to 80 employees. It became a profitable company with revenue that should top $15 million this year.

Jim Dow, who just retired as a CEO at 81, probably deserves the Florida vacation this month as much as any boss I know.

Dow, who remains chairman of Diversified Plastics, lost his first career in the 1970s, after spending 15 years at the former Buckbee-Mears. His job as European director vanished when the electronics manufacturer pulled out of Europe. Dow, a Minneapolis native, Yale graduate and former Army captain, decided it was time to go to work for himself.

He bought a bankrupt plastics manufacturer and renamed it Diversified Plastics. Dow and his wife soon got used to sweeping the plant and cleaning the bathrooms on weekends, as the fledgling enterprise struggled to get its footing as a specialty manufacturer for the aerospace and medical industries.

“We were up to about 13 employees [during the 1981-82 recession] and business was tough,” Dow recalled. “I gave our people a choice: Cut people or everybody takes salary cuts. Our people said pay cuts and keep the team together. They gave, I gave.

“It’s always been a team. The one thing I guess I’m good at is hiring good people. This is like a second family to me.”

And the plan and all the elbow grease over the years worked.

Diversified Plastics of Brooklyn Park has grown to 80 employees. It became a profitable company with revenue that should top $15 million this year.

And Dow, working with adviser Chartwell Financial and an independent trustee, has completed the several-year sale of the firm to the employees through an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP).

Dow remains a non-employee chairman of the board.

There were prospective buyers, private equity firms and industry consolidators who offered more than the unspecified amount Dow got paid.

“Let’s just say I was paid more than $1 million,” Dow offered. “But I couldn’t go out and sell this company for more to people who I knew would not be loyal to the employees. They may have offered a job to all our people, but not necessarily. I could have made more money, but I made enough.

“From an economic point of view, the ESOP wasn’t the best thing for me. The people who appraised the businesses — Chartwell — tend to ‘down value’ the company because they don’t want to be accused by the government of lining the owner’s pockets.”

Dow financed the sale personally over several years and through a loan to the ESOP by Fidelity Bank.

Government tax rules allow an ESOP, which essentially is an employee retirement plan, to buy the company from annual pretax profits that otherwise would have flowed to the previous owner.

ESOPs work best when they are conservatively structured and when companies are growing and profitable.

Employees, including vested former employees, become owners through the ESOP. They cash out at retirement age, or sometimes when they leave the company, if they are vested. The funds can be rolled into an individual retirement account.

ESOPs, and the number of Americans who work for employee-owned companies, are on the rise. with more than 15 million people at 9,600-plus companies, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership.

Advocates say they are one of the best ways for working-to-middle class folks to build wealth through their labor during a period, dating to the 1980s, when wages have been fairly stagnant against inflation.

The sellers tend to get rich more slowly over a longer period of time than cash on the barrel head.

Things seem to be working at Diversified. It operates a 52,000-square-foot factory with modern equipment that makes components used internationally in machines that create clean water from tainted water, lithium-ion battery packages, dental X-ray machines and NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

“Jim Dow created a safe environment for employees to develop new skills, take risks and learn,” said Annette Lund, who started as a receptionist years ago and is now a vice president. “Jim encouraged me to complete my degree and passed along his technical knowledge. He is a mentor and a friend.”

Dow also has been active with local community and technical colleges and programs that encourage students to pursue manufacturing careers.

“If I had been able to script [my career], I wouldn’t have changed anything,” Dow said last week from Florida. “Even the tough days, when my wife would go in to vacuum and clean bathrooms, or the worrying about making payroll.

“It paid off. I think the world of these people at Diversified.”

Enjoy the vacation, Jim.

Diversified Plastics, Inc. founder, James R. Dow, retires, leaving his imprint on the company’s history

James R. DowMINNEAPOLIS — After 40 years of leading Diversified Plastics, Inc. to success, James R. Dow retires as president. Succeeded by Kevin G. Hogan in August 2017, Dow will continue to serve as chairman of the board for Diversified Plastics, an award-winning, custom plastic-injection molder of high-precision thermoplastic components.

“As a result of Jim’s exceptional leadership, the company has a firm foundation,” says Hogan. “From this position of strength, Diversified Plastics is advancing with a growth initiative for continued success and prosperity.”

Dow and William J. Cullen founded the company in 1977 with 13 employees and three machines, operating from a 2,500-square-foot facility. Diversified Plastics has grown to include over 75 employees and operates from a 52,000-square-foot facility with state-of-the-art equipment. Diversified Plastics provides exceptionally high-quality parts that meet high-tolerance guidelines. These parts can be found in developing nations creating clean water, in lithium-ion batteries, dental X-ray machines and NASA’s Juno spacecraft instruments. In November 2011, the company was sold to its employees through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

“Since the early days, we have had a family culture at Diversified Plastics,” says Dow. “When planning for retirement, I met with several potential buyers who made good offers. I was concerned that long-term employees would be terminated through consolidation or relocation. I believed that they deserved better. So, the employees became the owners.”

Prior to founding Diversified Plastics at the age of 40, Dow held various positions at an electronics firm for over 13 years. Dow also served in the U.S. Army for four years, achieving the rank of captain. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts major in American studies.

“Jim created a safe environment for employees to develop new skills, take risks and learn,” says Annette Lund, vice president of Diversified Plastics, Inc. “I started working at Diversified Plastics as a receptionist. Jim encouraged me to complete my degree and passed along his technical knowledge. A mentor and a friend, he has truly helped me get to where I am today.”

Dow strongly believes in giving back to the community. Dow and the Diversified Plastics team participate in many charitable activities every year, including providing school tours to educate youth about opportunities in manufacturing. Involved in the Rotary for over 30 years, Dow has served on several boards including DEED, North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce, North Hennepin Community College Foundation and others. Dow has also created curriculum for upper-level molding technicians for a local college.

Erik Paulsen visits Diversified Plastics, Inc. as part of a tax reform listening tour to small businesses

Rep Erik Paulsen Visit
Erik Paulsen Visit

MINNEAPOLIS—Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) recently visited Diversified Plastics, Inc., a custom plastic-injection molder of high-precision thermoplastic components, as part of a small-business tax reform listening tour. The objective of the visit was to learn firsthand how tax reform can help Minnesota businesses and families.

“The research and development (R&D) tax credit provides a savings to companies that require tooling for new products,” says Roger Vang, chief

financial officer at Diversified Plastics. “This helps companies be more competitive in the United States, keeping manufacturing business from being sent overseas. In addition, tax credits make additional resources available for businesses to buy more equipment and hire more employees.”

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) company, Diversified Plastics offered unique insight on tax reform. Annette Lund, vice president of Diversified Plastics, led Paulsen and others on a tour of the company’s facility where they had an opportunity to speak with employee-owners. A supporter of ESOP companies, the congressman was referred to Diversified Plastics by North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Videos from the visit are available on the Diversified Plastics, Inc. website at www.divplast.com.