Bruce Smith oversees operations for all 11 of United Plastics Group's facilities. The $300 million injection molder serves customers in diverse end markets from plants in the United States, Mexico, Wales and China, where it opened a plant last fall in Suzhou that was designed and built specifically to encompass lean-manufacturing principles.
Westmont, Ill.-based UPG began operating in September 1999, and hired Smith as its president and chief operating officer in August 2001. Prior to that, he was vice president of Piston Automotive LLC, an automotive parts assembly business serving General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. Prior to that, he served as manufacturing director at American National Can, a $3.2 billion maker of metal beverage cans, where he was responsible for six production facilities. He became a devotee of lean manufacturing while working at some large automotive supplier companies, including a division of Detroit Diesel Co., ITT Automotive and Delphi Automotive.
Smith received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and an MBA from Harvard University.