MVP Plastics Inc. in Middlefield, Ohio, is taking a big step this month by setting up shop in Texas.
By opening a plant in Brownsville, Texas, the automotive supplier will become more “strategic” to its customers with operations in Mexico, said MVP Plastics president and CEO Darrell McNair.
That will help the company's Ohio plant, too, he said, as customers like to maintain strong relationships with their supply chains. Suppliers that are near site for customers will become preferred suppliers, McNair said, and the whole business will benefit.
“It's a win-win,” McNair said.
MVP Plastics is a custom injection molder that primarily makes interior parts for vehicles. McNair has seen MVP Plastics through a lot of changes since buying the company with a private equity partner in 2000. He bought out the partner in 2008 and consolidated the company's plants (originally in Mesopotamia and Champion) into one in Newton Falls in 2009 while weathering the recession. By 2012, MVP Plastics was starting to see the economy and its customer base strengthening and needed a larger plant. McNair bought the existing plant in Middlefield and moved the company there.
Now, it's time to grow again. The company used to have a strategic alliance with a company in Texas, but that was dissolved in 2013. The new Brownsville plant will be right across the border from Mexico, where many automakers have operations.
“It was an area that was near site and provides access to a lot of the northern Mexican market,” McNair said.
The Texas investment is being driven by customer demand, McNair said, and it's a “significant step” for MVP Plastics. He declined to share the company's sales, but said he's expecting it to double with the addition of the Texas plant. The automotive industry has been strong the past four or five years.
“Our industry is a growing industry,” McNair said.
MVP Plastics is investing about $1 million into the new plant for machinery, building improvements and the lease itself, McNair said.
The plant is about 30,000 square feet, slightly smaller than the 35,000-square-foot plant in Middlefield.
By next year, Middlefield and Brownsville should each have 16 pieces of equipment and a press range of 80 to 750 tons.
But the Texas plant won't employ as many people.
There are about 65 employees in Middlefield, in both the office and on the plant floor. Brownsville is expected to have about 15 employees by the end of this year and 25 to 30 at the end of year two. The plant is expected to launch at the end of July.
Feliciano (Felix) Garcia will be the engineering manager in the Brownsville plant. He's currently overseeing setup of the operation in Texas, where the company is installing machinery and making sure everything in the building is up to code.
Garcia said he joined the company in January because he saw its growth potential and the opportunity to contribute to new projects. He spent his first two months in the Ohio plant, getting to know the staff and the culture. The company wants the two plants to work as a team, he said.
MVP Plastics also is in the middle of creating a strategic alliance in Dongguan, China, McNair said, though he declined to identify the partner. He said that alliance would be complete in the third quarter.
McNair said he set a plan for growth at MVP Plastics about five years ago that focused on acquisitions, geographic expansion and customer diversification — and the company has been hitting all of those goals. Its last acquisition was in 2012, and it looks for companies that complement what MVP already does. The plan is updated every year to reflect market changes, he said.
Since about 2012, McNair has been working with the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center in Cleveland, said executive director Raland Hatchett.
The company's potential to grow is “exponential,” based on the types of products MVP Plastics can make, Hatchett said. The agency connected McNair with its San Antonio global business development center, which helped him get in touch with the right economic development people in Texas.
“He has the business acumen to manage a successful business and understand what it takes to stay competitive in this global economy,” Hatchett said.
McNair said he's looking to expand the company's business in the health care, energy and appliance markets, in all of which it already makes some products.