The California Film Extruders & Converters Association on Sept. 9 presented its 1998 Leo Shluker Award to Richard Honstrater, owner and president of Gemini Plastic Enterprises Inc. in Maywood, Calif.
``Rick goes out of his way to understand [an] issue, and he will take the time to research and put in writing his thoughts and possible conclusions to rectify almost any situation,'' said Bob Krycki, owner of Toronto equipment maker Future Design Inc., in a written statement.
Honstrater consults regularly for other firms, particularly on equipment issues and ways to make specialty plastic products.
``He prides himself in being precise and exact,'' said Aaron Lennard, a Jacksonville, Fla., business consultant and lawyer.
Honstrater has become ``a true craftsman'' within the plastics industry, said Louie Visco, owner of FLD Corp., a San Fernando, Calif., investment firm.
The New Jersey native was born in 1932. Before entering the plastics industry, he played quarterback with semiprofessional football teams in Linden, Jersey City and Plainfield, N.J.
He joined Sterling Extruder in Linden as an electrician in 1960 and eventually became chief engineer and trouble-shooter. He left Sterling in 1966.
In that year, Honstrater moved to California and founded Gemini to repair extruders, rebuild barrels and screws and build custom equipment and other machinery for the plastics industry.
From 1967-69 he also operated Tech Plastics in Bell Garden, Calif., a small plastic tubing maker. He sold his Tech interest to focus on Gemini.
Later, he added film lines at Gemini to extrude rolls of tubing and sheeting for converters. Now, Gemini extrudes plastic tubing, makes bags that are one-half-inch to 60 inches wide, and produces black conductive film of 2-48 inches wide. Proprietary Gem-Loc zipper bags constitute one line.
Gemini employs 45, operates 12 extrusion lines and numerous bag machines at five buildings. Gemini is adding two clean rooms.
Extruding and converting account for about 90 percent of Gemini's business, and machinery work for the remainder.
In another enterprise, Honstrater helped form and provided equipment to International Plastic Products Inc., which became a major nylon film manufacturer in North America and Europe and now operates as Airtech International Inc. in Huntington Beach, Calif. IPPI started in 1976; Honstrater sold his holding in 1980.
CFECA, based in Corona del Mar, Calif., began the Leo Shluker Award in 1985 in recognition of its founder and first president. Honstrater attended CFECA's inaugural meeting in 1973.