Houston molder helping workers get back on their feet

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Jeff Applegate Jeff Applegate, center in the green jacket, the CEO of Texas Injection Molding LLC, was among the Houston area residents who had to be evacuated because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Texas Injection Molding LLC was spared from major damage from Hurricane Harvey. But the Houston company’s employees haven’t all been so lucky, and that includes CEO Jeff Applegate.

Applegate says about a dozen of the company’s 85 employees have been affected by the flooding in the aftermath of the storm.

“That ranges from people who have two or three inches of water in their homes, to people who have lost everything,” Applegate said. “A lot of them lost their cars, because they couldn’t drive to higher ground, there was nowhere to go.”

Applegate’s own home was flooded and he had to evacuate his family. The home is adjacent to the Addicks Reservoir.

“Somewhere there’s a picture of me getting rescued in a boat,” he said. “When we were getting rescued out of our house, it was like a boat show.”

Applegate was overwhelmed with the way the Houston community has reacted to the disaster. Likewise, he is thankful for the support he’s been offered from plastics industry colleagues.

“It’s a good testament to the industry. When times get tough, people care and want to lend a hand,” he said.

He rattled off a list of friends in the industry who have offered assistance, including Troy Nix from the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors in Indianapolis; Charles Sholtis of Plastic Molding Technology Inc. in El Paso, Texas; Lindsey Hahn of Metro Plastics Technologies Inc. in Noblesville, Ind.; Dave Ressler at Independent Plastic Inc. in Houston, and others. One company even offered to take over any urgent molding work for Texas Injection Molding, free of charge.

“I feel good about the industry when you’ve got some awesome people who step up and offer to help. I’m overwhelmed with the generosity.”

Flood waters were “lapping at the doors” of TIM, Applegate said, but the plant suffered only minor damage. The power remains on, but the plant has no telephone or internet service.

On Aug. 30 some staff returned to the factory and started to clean up. The company’s human resources team has been contacting all 85 employees to survey their personal situations.

“Our goal today is to contact as many of the company family as we can and find out if they have any needs: shelter, food, transportation, anything.”

The HR team is communicating those needs to the company management, and they’re working on helping workers get back on the job.

“If they’re in a shelter, we’ll pick them up. If they need anything, we’ll see what we can do to help,” Applegate said. “A lot of them need a way to get back to work, because they lost their car. The faster I can get them a paycheck, the faster they can get back on their feet.”

He suspects the company will lose a few employees whose homes have been destroyed. Applegate himself is staying temporarily with a friend.

He expects the company to be operating three shifts again “as fast as we can.”

Applegate bought TIM in December 2013. The custom injection molder was formerly known as B-Side Plastics Inc.

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