South Bend, Ind. — It would be a mistake to judge Bamar Plastics Inc. by its exterior.
Sure, the neighborhood appears a little rough and the signage to the building has faded. But inside, visitors — and there's been plenty of late — will find a fiercely loyal employee base and an injection molder itchin' to grow.
Meet President Heather Lee Meixel. The 47-year-old took over just seven months ago and will soon be the sole owner nearly two years after her father and company founder, Barry Lee, passed away from natural causes. Lee Meixel has experience in industrial sales and an easy smile, which allows her to fit in with her friendly and long-tenured staff.
“Some of the stuff Dad's left with me, first and foremost, is to take care of people who work here. He handpicked everyone that's here. Just about everybody's been here between two decades and three-and–a-half decades. Keeping people is not a problem,” said Lee Meixel, a Purdue graduate who majored in economics thinking that an attorney's life was in her future.
Bamar has 27 employees and $2.2 million in sales mainly from the automotive sector. “Just about every make and model of a car has one of our parts in it,” she said.
While Lee Meixel would like to increase the amount of business Bamar generates in the auto sector, she is eager to diversify and grow its defense and assembly business. Bamar actually got its start in electronics with Barry Lee's invention of two plastic bases that fit on the back of cathode ray tubes.