Stuart Kaplan's family has been in manufacturing since 1909, and his childhood memories include driving a forklift in his father's Chicago metal-stamping plant – when he was just 8 years old.
Kaplan is owner and president of Makuta Technics Inc. in Columbus, Ind., a custom injection molder specializing in high-precision, micromolded parts. Makuta Technics is affiliated with Japan's $90 million Sansyu Group, probably the biggest custom micromolder and micromold maker in the world. The seven other Sansyu Group companies are in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia.
Makuta Technics has 20 employees and operates 16 injection molding presses in a highly automated, lights-out plant.
Kaplan served as vice president of sales and marketing at Sacoma International, a metal-stamping business, from the time it started in 1990 until 1996 when he left to form Makuta Technics. Sacoma grew to $14 million in sales during Kaplan's tenure.
Kaplan's father was acquainted with the founder of the Sansyu Group, and together they saw an opportunity to bring Sansyu's pioneering micromolding technology to North America. Kaplan now frequently travels to Japan and elsewhere in Asia to work closely with Sansyu executives.
He is vice president of the board of directors of Mid-America Plastics Partners Inc. and on the board of directors of the SPE's medical division.
Kaplan, 53, graduated from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., with degrees in business and English. He is married and has two sons.
Makuta's Web site is www.makuta.com.