ROTOMOLDER N.E.O. PLASTICS STARTS UP IN OHIO

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Jeffrey Dunne, the son of a former plastics company owner, has opened his own rotational molding company, N.E.O. Plastics Inc., in Austinburg, Ohio, after leaving the company that once purchased his father's business.

N.E.O. Plastics officially opened its doors Jan. 1. Before starting the privately held company, Dunne worked as vice president of sales for nine years with Meese Orbitron Dunne Co., a large rotomolder with a plant in northeast Ohio. Dunne will serve as company president and supervise day-to-day operations for N.E.O. Plastics.

Meese, based in Saddle Brook, N.J., bought Dunne Plastics Co. for an undisclosed amount from Dunne's father, Jim, in 1992. Before that time, the company had been in Dunne's family for 55 years. Jim Dunne is now retired and not involved with N.E.O Plastics.

N.E.O. Plastics will specialize in the production of large parts for agricultural storage tanks, air ducting systems, security system housings, lawn and garden products and other proprietary items.

Although the company will be kicked off with six employees, Dunne anticipated that number to quadruple by the end of 1997.

``We're starting off small, but that could change quickly once we get going,'' said Dunne, who did not reveal the cost of opening the new plant.

To get production under way, the company installed a Ferry 430 four-arm rotomolder with a 181-inch diagonal swing. The microprocessor-controlled machine is capable of making parts as heavy as 3,000 pounds and holding tooling as hefty as 2,000 pounds. If company growth proceeds as planned, a second rotomolder could be added at the 24,000-square-foot plant by the end of 1997. The plant has room to expand by as much as 75,000 square feet. The production process uses a variety of engineering resins, cross-linked polyethylene and linear low, medium and high density PE.

Parts and molds come from a handful of suppliers.

Dunne dismissed talk of competition between the two companies, even though both are rotomolders serving similar markets.

``I didn't leave Meese in order to compete with them,'' Dunne said. ``I just missed being part of a family-owned business. I wanted to call my own shots.''

The two companies differ considerably in size. Meese Orbitron Dunne had estimated 1996 sales of $19 million, placing it 15th on Plastics News' ranking of rotational molders. N.E.O. Plastics is shooting for first-year sales of $2 million in 1997, Dunne said.

A Meese Orbitron Dunne spokesperson would not comment on the new company, except to say that the businesses were in no way affiliated.

Dunne's co-owner in N.E.O. Plastics is his father-in-law, Joe Licate, who works for an Ohio investment firm and serves as the company's secretary/treasurer.