Industry leaders speak ‘In Other Words’

Jan. 12, 2021

Interviews with the people who built the plastics industry and those who are pushing it to new limits offer insight into how to run a successful plastics business. The In Other Words interviews published each month in Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing are in-depth looks at the careers of top industry leaders. 

Here is a look back at the interviews published in 2020: 

Michael Durina had his mind set on working in the plastics industry soon after he enrolled in the plastics engineering program at Ferris State University more than 40 years ago. Now, as owner of Md Plastics Inc., he is known for his innovative designs for screws and injection units and has licensed his company’s technology with manufacturers of injection molding machines and 3-D printers. 

Charlie Martin, president and GM of Leistritz Extrusion, made a good impression with his hard work while operating his own landscaping and lawnmowing service during high school and college. It led to a sales position with Killion Extruders after he graduated from college and he has held key positions in the industry ever since.
Kenneth Pawlakuses his encyclopedic knowledge of plastics processing machinery, resins, mold making and component functionality to design groundbreaking medical equipment. Imagination, necessary in figuring out a better way to accomplish a task, is an essential part of the process. Hhas also developed some plastics processing techniques we now take for granted. 

Stan Glover, director of technical sales at Zeiger Industries, plays a key role in developing worldwide safety standards for injection and extrusion machinery and magnetic platens. He is chairman of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) Equipment Council and chairman of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group of ISO Technical Committee 270, which oversees standardization of machines used to prepare and process plastics and rubber. In addition to being the PLASTICS representative for worldwide safety standards, he is also recognized as an expert on wear and corrosion technologies in injection molding equipment. 

Alexander (Sandy) Guthrie grew up in a family business that was a pioneer in plastics extrusion equipment. He worked his way up from laboratory and stockroom jobs to the top sales position and eventually ran a second family extrusion machinery manufacturer that was known for its technically innovative equipment. Today, he is president of ADG Solutions, a company that represents various machinery suppliers and provides performance-based know-how for the application, specification and supply of equipment systems for recycling plastic scrap into high-value raw material. 

Aline Alroy learned the importance of doing everything possible to keep customers happy when she was in a management training program at Bloomingdale’s department store in New York just after graduating from Princeton. It has continued to be her philosophy for the past 27 years as she has led High-Technology Corp., a 51-year-old family business that manufactures proprietary continuous screen changers for melt filtration. 

SandraFüllsack grew up while her father was building Motan Holding GmbH, but she practiced law for several years after college before eventually joining the family business. As CEO, she now runs a multinational materials-handling company based in southern Germany with production facilities in three countries. 

JJGraffin developed his first weigh-filling machine in his mother’s garage more than 50 years ago. That innovative machine led to his founding Serac in France to manufacture liquid filling and capping machines and eventually blow molding equipment. Graffin says he still enjoys working as an engineer. 

EsmeraldaZoppiis the third generation of her family to direct Bruno FolcieriSrl, a manufacturer of large granulators in Italy. She believes that building high-quality equipment by hand gives her company an edge in a fiercely competitive market. Her management philosophy and the workplace she fosters makes her company unique. 

Harry Covington succumbed to the entrepreneurial fever and left a sales job at a manufacturing company to buy a small machine shop. By building innovative new machines, he grew the company into one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of rotational molding machinery. Now retired, Covington has ideas about what the rotational molding industry needs to do to compete in the future. 

Peter Lorenz has taken the millwright business his parents built in their garage in Canada to become a leading manufacturer of pneumatic conveying and bulk handling systems for the plastics, food and chemical industries. The foundation of the company’s success is a line of well-built components readily available through Lorenz’s catalog. 

DonRainville started Advanced Auxiliary Equipment Inc. in Virginia after working at Universal Dynamics  which his father founded — and Mann + Hummel to supply pneumatic conveying, blending and destoning equipment. His strategy is to never offer a product that imitates a product already in the marketplace.