Ed Trueman has had many jobs during his 35-year career in the plastics industry. For the past three years, he's been president and CEO of Sintex-Wausaukee Composites Inc.
SWC's sales have increased by double digits in the past couple of years, Trueman said, through organic growth and joint ventures. He wouldn't reveal sales, but characterized the firm as a middle-market company.
“We've transitioned from a regional manufacturer to a global enterprise,” he said recently by phone.
“We've grown not only organically but through joint ventures,” including one with a sister division in India.
SWC is a unit of Sintex Industries Ltd. of Kalol, India. The SWC joint venture with sister company Bright Autoplast Ltd. opened in August 2014, introducing the first fiber-reinforced plastic production cell for OEM products using light resin transfer molding technology in Pune, India.
Trueman said the company is also contemplating a joint venture in Europe.
He declined to provide details, but said a prospective European venture would be “in a space we do very well in domestically and would be an interesting technology tie-up.”
Trueman said he also expects SWC to boost its domestic presence.
“There's significant growth opportunity domestically in new market sectors,” he said.
Earlier this year, SWC won a contract to supply interior components for operator cabs for Caterpillar Inc.'s underground mining rigs. The parts will be made in Pune, but SWC will handle engineering and quality control, as well as product logistics, in Wausaukee.
Trueman has held many executive positions since receiving a bachelor's degree in economics from Eastern Michigan University in 1979. He joined SWC from Trueman International Group, his Blaine, Wash.-based consulting firm focused on biotechnology and “eco-friendly” technology. He previously served as chairman, president and CEO of JER Envirotech International Corp., a biopolymers composites manufacturing company in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He also has worked as chairman and CEO of Solegear BioPlastics Inc. of Vancouver; director of Leominster, Mass.-based AlphaGary Corp.'s global automotive business group; and vice president of Multibase Inc. of Copley, Ohio.
When he first became a CEO in 2006, his main challenge was to manage priorities effectively. “I still practice this every day.”
His work style, he said, is to “underpromise, but deliver more than expected.”
Trueman and his wife, Joan, live in Green Bay, about an hour south of Wausaukee. The tiny town's population is “575 on a good day,” he said.
His hobbies include tennis, golf, boating — and “running rapidly growing companies.”
Trueman said his current job is the most interesting one he's ever held, though he has found his entire career “extremely rewarding.”
“It's been a lot of fun, and it's not over yet — that's the great part,” he said.
He hopes his legacy as a CEO will be that he “built great teams and outstanding companies that will stand the test of time.”
SWC's manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Michigan employ more than 400 workers, according to its website. The company makes engineered fiber-reinforced-composite components for OEMs in a range of industries including industrial and agricultural trucks and tractors, medical, materials handling, mass transit and recreation.
It makes components using LRTM, sheet molding compound, liquid composite molding and reaction injection molding. It also does design, prototyping, tooling, manufacturing, and value-added secondary assembly.
Sintex Industries finalized its deal to buy family-owned Wausaukee Composites Inc. in 2008. The parent firm makes proprietary and OEM products including electrical accessories, water storage tanks, pre-fabricated structures and structural plastics.