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Team 1 puts a premium on safety and communication

By: Jeannie Reall

March 19, 2014

Craig Carrel, president of Team 1 Plastics Inc., says that safety and good communications are keys to maintaining a satisfied staff — and that his company places a premium on both.

Team 1 recently reached 4,800 days — more than 13 years — with no lost-time accidents. That kind of record requires a true team effort, he noted.

“And that’s a clear sign to them that we value them enough to create a safe environment,” Carrel said.

Building confidence is also a critical factor in developing solid staff relations, he said. Team 1 creates that kind of environment by disclosing its financial figures to employees.

“We share our most confidential information with everyone on our team, which fosters trust. That kind of trust and communication is the foundation of a good relationship,” he said.

The company, which ranked No. 7 on the Plastics News Best Places to Work list, conducts an employee satisfaction survey every year.

Among other benefits, Team 1 offers mentoring and formal leadership training and provides some tuition reimbursement for advanced or post-graduate degree studies. It pays 100 percent of the premiums on a high-deductible health insurance and prescription plan for full-time employees and their dependents.

Employees can get paid time off for volunteer and community service activities. The company supports its local libraries, a “Reading with Dogs” program and the Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum in Albion.

Carrel owns the automotive injection molder with partner Gary Grigowski, who is vice president. The company opened in 1987 and has seen some difficult times, especially while weathering the Great Recession and the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and their effect on Team 1’s transplant-automaker customers.

“But we’ve been steadily growing since the dark days of the recession,” Carrel said recently by phone. “We still have growth opportunities ahead of us.”

The Albion, Mich.-based company has become highly automated, but also added six full-time positions last year, bringing the staff total to around 75.

“We were also able to add three new customers, and we’re hoping to add one or two more in the next year or two,” he said.