SOUTH BEND, IND. — Since Jack Welter and a management team bought Elkhart Plastics' custom rotomolding operations in early 2011, it has continued to boost production and management.
Now CEO, Welter, who joined Elkhart after founder Dick Petersberg was killed in a car accident, has been part of the 25-year-old rotomolder almost from the start and throughout its ownership changes.
Petersberg launched Elkhart in 1988 with a single machine to rotomold tanks for Indiana's recreational vehicle industry. About 1½ years later, Welter stepped into a finance position to help run the firm with Rod Juday. Now Welter is overseeing expansions at its South Bend headquarters plant and at its Ridgefield, Wash., plant — where it will add eight to 10 new jobs by 2014 to make diesel exhaust fluid systems.
Noah Wass joined in July as engineering manager at Ridgefield and is in charge of developing new markets for the firm. Since February Jeff Giacchino, the original founder of Elkhart's Littleton, Colo., and Ridgefield plants (as PDM Molding, later seling them to Low & Bonar plc), again has a stake in those operations as vice president and a company shareholder.
Technology is important, Welter said, but skilled employees are a key to good rotomolding. "The only limiting factor to celebrating another 25 years is people," he said.