You could say Elkhart Plastics doesn't fit the mold of most locally owned companies.
Then again, in today's world, maybe the rotomolding company does.
It's changed owners three times since 2006. And it eventually ended up back in the hands of local owners, many of whom were managers back in 2006.
In between it was owned by a company from Iceland that called it Promens hf, which sold it about two years ago to a company from the Netherlands that went with the name Indiana Rotomolding Inc. before selling it just four months later to a group that includes current president and CEO Jack Welter.
Welter, who came up on the financial side, has been with the company since 1990 and was part of the ownership group that sold it in 2006.
"It was never in the plan (to reacquire it) when I sold it in 2006," he said. "You can't plan that stuff. Just the opportunity presented itself.
"And the fact that some other key managers were willing to participate was the driving factor in that."
So when the company from the Netherlands wanted to shed its Indiana plastics companies, Welter was more than happy to head up a group to buy it.
"I've been doing it for 22 years now," he said. "It's a very diverse process. We make products for a variety of industries. We get to touch a lot of different companies with a lot of different products.
"We work with very small companies to very large. From my perspective, I enjoy that."
He also says he learned a lot while he ran the company for the international companies, but added, "It's more enjoyable to be back in this seat."
What will soon simply be known again as Elkhart Plastics includes a South Bend plant in Nimtz Parkway that employs 70 people, one in Elkhart that employs 50 and another in Middlebury that employs 250.
The company also has a plant in Littleton, Colo., (Littleton Plastics) and another in Ridgefield, Wash. (Portland Plastics). All told, the company has 500 employees in three states.
The company is a custom plastics processor. That means it makes molds for whatever somebody wants, Welter said.
That includes the yellow barrels people might see on the Toll Road, a product that dates back to the days when the company was called Spin-Cast Plastics in South Bend or plastic Dumpsters, tanks for RVs and agriculture and marine furniture for pontoon boats.
Their work is cost-effective, too.
"We can make very large, complex shapes that previously maybe had to be made with a variety of components being fastened or attached together, where we can make it in one piece so it can made more cost-effective," Welter said.
Being a custom molder, each location is geared toward customers in that area, Welter said. "Most of what we do is bulky, so shipping is somewhat restricted," he said.
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