By: Mike Verespej
November 27, 2012
WASHINGTON (Updated Nov. 28, 11:45 a.m. ET) — President Barack Obama will visit custom injection molder Rodon Group LLC in Hatfield, Pa., on Nov. 30 as part of his week-long effort to garner support for his proposal to extend tax cuts for middle-income people and end them for families who make more than $250,000 a year.
Rodon Group, one of the finalists for the Plastics News processor of the year in January, is a subsidiary of K’Nex Brands LP, which makes K’Nex building toys. The two privately held companies are both owned by Joel Glickman, the inventor of the K’Nex building toy system.
“The president will travel to Montgomery County, Pa. to continue make the public case for action by visiting a business that depends on middle class consumers during the holiday season and could be impacted if taxes go up on 98 percent of Americans at the end of the year,” said a White House representative.
“We are ... excited to welcome the President and show him how we make the K’Nex bricks, rods and connectors you love,” said the company on its Facebook page.
“K’Nex brands and the Rodon Group are honored that President Obama is touring our facility later this week,” added Rodon and K’Nex CEO and President Michael Araten, in a statement issued by the company. “Since 1956, we have been committed to advanced American manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, K’Nex is exported to over 40 countries around the world.”
Irving Glickman, who founded Rodon in 1956, celebrated his 100th birthday in April. The company is a leading advocate for U.S. manufacturing, with its motto of “We Beat China Pricing.”
Glickman was a pioneer of synthetic rubber who saw the potential of thermoplastics. He started Rodon with four Stokes injection molding machines in his garage. The company expanded into a small factory, then built its current factory in Hatfield in 1987.
In 1991, his son, Joel Glickman, developed the rods and connectors that became K’Nex toys. After major toy makers rejected the idea, Rodon began molding the parts and started K’Nex Brands LP as a sister company.
Joel’s son-in-law, Michael Araten, is now president and CEO of Rodon and K’Nex.
Obama's meeting with Rodon will mark the second time in a week that a plastics company executive has had the President's attention. On Nov. 27, Andra Rush, the head of two auto interior joint ventures, was among the small business owners invited to the White House to discuss the economy.
Rush owns Wayne, Mich.-based Rush Trucking and heads up Dakkota Integrated Systems, a joint venture with Magna International Inc.'s Intier group, and recently launched Detroit Manufacturing Systems, a joint venture with Faurecia SA that will take on some of the business previously located at the former Automotive Components Holdings LLC in Saline, Mich.
Earlier this week, the White House released a report that outlined the impact that middle class tax increases would have on both consumers and the retail industry. The White House also released an analysis by the National Economic Council which said that millions of small-business owners would suffer if the middle class taxes went up next year.
Republicans want to preserve all the Bush tax cuts set to expire Jan. 1, reduce government spending to cut into the nation’s debt of more than $16 trillion-plus debt, and close tax loopholes to increase government revenues.
Since 1992, Rodon has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’Nex building toy system. K’Nex is distributed to over 30 countries, and over 95 percent of the component parts are made at Rodon, which is an injection molder with a focus on small parts used in more than 100 different industries, including food, beverage, consumer packaged goods, construction and toys.