Elk Grove, Ill.
Colors For Plastics, which now employs 115 people, started with one man who handled everything.
Jack Dalleska founded the compounder in 1972 in a 1,500-square-foot facility in Niles, Ill. In the morning, he'd make sales calls. In the afternoon he would make the orders. In the evening, he dropped off deliveries.
“He fit a single extruder in that building,” said his son, Robert, vice president of operations.
The business grew rapidly and today the company has two facilities in Elk Grove Village, Ill., with a total of 63,000 square feet of space, and an 80,000-square-foot plant in Spartanburg, S.C.
Jack Dalleska, president, resides in South Carolina, while Robert runs things at the Elk Grove Village headquarters.
Robert Dalleska said everyone was “thrilled” to hear the company had again been named among Plastics News' top 10 Best Places to Work, coming in at No. 6.
“We've been trying very hard to make this a happy and fun culture in this industry, which is very stressful and fast-paced. We try to provide a comfortable environment so they can enjoy the workplace, as well as the work they do.”
At many companies, employees are expected to step up the pace and look sharp when top brass comes to town. At Colors For Plastics, it's a time for workers to let their hair down, Dalleska said. Each quarter when a large management meeting is held, the staff observes a casual week when their clothing reflects different themes — sports, colors, seasons.
There's an in-house cook-off. Three outside judges, selected from customers and suppliers, pick winners in three categories. This year, the winners were cowboy caviar bean dip, pulled pork sandwiches and flourless chocolate cake.
“We have some very good chefs here,” Dalleska said in a Feb. 2 phone interview.
The company also has what it calls the “compliments” program, in which employees are encouraged to identify any above-and-beyond actions taken by co-workers. Each quarter one of the nominees is selected randomly and wins $250. At the end of the year, one employee who really stands out is named team member of the year and receives $1,500 and a leather bag or purse.
It's a way of giving employees recognition throughout the year, Dalleska said.
“We've always strived to make it feel like a family” he said. “We have a lot of long-term employees. Four or five people have retired from Colors, and six have been here for more than 26 years. There are probably a dozen who've been here 20 years.
“We definitely appreciate the employees and want them to be comfortable here. If an issue comes up in their lives, we try to help them out when we can so they know they are a part of the Colors family.”
It's a growing family. Last year the company created nine jobs. Operations in Elk Grove Village run continuously on three shifts. The Spartanberg facility runs two shifts.
The company also offers heath benefits for full-time employees and their dependents, year-end bonuses, a retirement plan with matching benefits, tuition reimbursement and adoption assistance.