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Winner Hoffer, finalists impress

March 8, 2013

Hoffer Plastics Corp., the newest Plastics News Processor of the Year, represents the best of the plastics industry — a well-rounded approach to business and community involvement from a family-owned business now in its third generation of ownership.

Hoffer is a role model, and so are the two other award finalists: Rodon Group LLC and DeKalb Molded Plastics Co. The message is one that smaller, closely held companies can be successful. In each case, the owners are involved on a day-to-day basis.

DeKalb Molded Plastics, with 2012 sales of $22.6 million, and Rodon, at $24.1 million, are about the same size. Hoffer is bigger, with $75 million in sales. But even Hoffer is divided up into smaller "focus factories" — a legacy innovation of founder Robert Hoffer — to give that close oversight.

Hoffer Plastics is hard to beat. It doesn't have many weak spots, and does so many things extraordinarily well. It has a long heritage of philanthropy that has benefitted the community and plastics industry. Hoffer employees get emotional when they talk about the Hoffer family.

South Elgin, Ill.-based Hoffer was nominated by Charlotte Hoffer Canning, the company's marketing director. It will be fun to watch as members of the third generation — siblings Charlotte, Gretchen Hoffer Farb and Alex Hoffer — begin to lead the company. Their father is Bill Hoffer, son of Robert Hoffer.

Senior reporter Bill Bregar, who coordinates the Processor of the Year Award, visited the three finalists. Videos about each finalist can be found at plasticsnews.com/video. The videographer is Plastics News copy editor Marvin Brown.

Rodon of Hatfield, Pa., has been an award finalist two years in a row now. The company is one of the most automated U.S. custom molders. We're glad management is trying to get the word out about Rodon. It's a groundbreaking custom molder that bears watching in the years ahead.

DeKalb Molded Plastics in Butler, Ind., is a premier player in the niche of structural foam molding. Structural foam molding is inherently more labor-intensive than injection molding, but DeKalb has some impressive automation.

DeKalb executives focus on strong cash management and boosting employee productivity. DeKalb is not family-owned like Hoffer and Rodon, but has a similar philosophy under co-owner and President Rick Walters.

Rodon and DeKalb both picked up PN Excellence Awards. Rodon's is for the category of industry and public service. DeKalb won for employee relations.