Owner, Prestige Mold Inc. and Pres-Tek Plastics Inc.
Donna Pursell, 55, is owner and CEO of tool maker Prestige Mold Inc. and owner and president of injection molder Pres-Tek Plastics Inc., both in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
She received an associate of arts degree from Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga and attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Also while in college, she married Mike Koebel, a lead mold maker at an Upland, Calif., shop. She and Mike founded Prestige Mold in 1982, initially running the business out of their garage while both continued to work their day jobs. Their two children are involved, Lyndsay on the financial side for both companies and Andrew as operations manager at Pres-Tek.
In 1998, Mike died from cancer. She remarried in 2006 to Kenneth Pursell.
She and her team developed Pres-Tek initially as a mold sampling department within Prestige Mold. Pres-Tek grew larger than the available space within the Prestige plant and moved in 2012 into an adjacent facility. Pres-Tek has a full mold development center, a Class 8 clean room for production and, since 2014, ISO 13485:2003 certification.
Q: What was your first plastics job, and why were you interested in the industry?
Pursell: Mike was passionate about the mold making industry. His creativity and integrity laid the foundation for Prestige's success. After losing Mike, I was faced with some difficult days. I had two kids solely dependent on me. I had a mortgage on a brand new 30,000-square-foot building. I had a mold making shop that had lost its respected leader. I had roughly 40 employees who were looking to me to continue to provide a workplace and steady workload so that they could, in turn, provide for their families. Not to mention, I had my own grief to deal with.
It turned out to be a relatively easy decision to continue Prestige Mold. After all, this was my career also, and I had worked here since its inception. These were my friends, co-workers and customers.
Q: What was your greatest achievement?
Pursell: There are two. First, I raised two terrific kids who have grown to be loving parents themselves and have a true sense of purpose, and, second, with the business, not only did Prestige Mold survive but it continues to grow under my leadership and has become a recognized company worldwide.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Pursell: Time management. I am constantly being pulled in different directions between both of the companies, and there is constant prioritizing to be done.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Pursell: The medical market interests me the most. We get the opportunity to be involved in early product development work on projects and are therefore exposed to many new medical devices and materials. I try to always remind our team that what we are working on is more than just a mold or plastic part. It is something that might be used on one of our loved ones and that we should not lose sight of the human element.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Pursell: I am amazed each and every day how things have changed in the mold-making industry in such a seemingly short period of time. Consolidation of companies within the medical industry continues to surprise me and pushes us to continually evolve.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Pursell: You get what you expect, and you deserve what you tolerate.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Pursell: Be honest — with your employees, your customers, your family and friends, but mainly with yourself!
Q: What do you do to relax?
Pursell: My husband and I enjoy traveling and golfing. We also love spending time with our family, including our six granddaughters.