Resin vet Magnus makes return with RDI
Eleven years after selling his first business, resin distribution veteran Regis Magnus is returning to the market.
Magnus and his son-in-law, David Hazel, recently opened Resin Distribution Inc. in Ayer, Mass. Initially, RDI will distribute prime and off-spec grades of polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene to processors in the Northeast.
RDI will operate out of a 34,000-square-foot warehouse that Magnus had leased to PolyOne Corp. of Cleveland until May, when PolyOne moved its distribution operation to a larger site in Ayer. Officially, RDI will outsource its physical distribution work to KMS Packaging & Warehousing, a new firm run by longtime Magnus employee Kevin Shivo.
Magnus has a lengthy history in the industry. He owned and operated Plastic Distribution Corp. for 14 years before selling a majority stake to M.A. Hanna Co. in 1992. Hanna, which later became PolyOne, combined PDC with Bruck Plastics Co. and Fiberchem Inc. to create a national distribution network.
Hanna bought out Magnus' remaining stake in 1994, but Magnus retained ownership of sites in Ayer, Houston, and Statesville, N.C. Magnus signed a three-year noncompete agreement with Hanna at that time.
Magnus had run a smaller side business - injection and blow molder Plastic Assembly Corp. of Ayer - since 1978, the same year he launched PDC. When his noncompete with Hanna expired in 1997, Magnus added resin distribution to PAC's lineup. PAC distributed about $3 million in resin last year, but Magnus still considered himself to be ``semi-retired,'' spending his time hunting and fishing when not tending to the smaller businesses. RDI's initial business will be from accounts that Magnus transfers from his PAC business.
Earlier this year, Magnus decided to outsource PAC's molding work, which included his own line of Halloween lights sold under the Blinky brand name, to a friend's business.
That move, combined with the availability of the building PolyOne was vacating and the opportunity to work with his son-in-law, has drawn him out of semi-retirement at age 65.
``You have to stay active and busy,'' Magnus said. ``How much golf can you play?''
Hazel has a good amount of industry experience himself. He worked with Magnus at PDC from 1985 until the Hanna deal in 1992. Hazel then moved to resin distributor Performance Polymers in Leominster, Mass., a business founded by several former PDC employees. Hazel has been at Performance for the past 11 years, working in sales and marketing while buying resin from major suppliers.
Magnus hopes to add engineering resins and various compounds to RDI's product mix in the near future. He expects the company's sales to hit the $12 million mark within the next two years.
At first, RDI will source from domestic resin suppliers, but Magnus said he is looking into sourcing from offshore producers as well.
If its business grows, RDI has the potential to use the warehouses that Magnus owns in Houston and Statesville. The Statesville site also had been leased to PolyOne - which was formed from the 2000 merger of Hanna and Geon Co. - until early 2003, when PolyOne built a larger facility there.
Magnus added that the Ayer site, which offers rail access and 20 storage silos, is in good shape to handle the new business. The site currently employs five, but Magnus expects that number to grow. RDI also has about half a dozen sales employees, including Magnus and Hazel.
For his part, Magnus sounds like he's looking forward to the challenge, based on his belief that resin makers ``seem to be relying more and more on solid distributors who have facilities to support their business.''
``I've had great years and not-so-great years in distribution,'' he said. ``I hope that [RDI] now has the skills to know what contributes to a sound business and profitability.''