Dale Evans, president of Evco Plastics Inc. was characteristically honest at Plastics News' Executive Forum, where Evco won the Processor of the Year Award.
He admitted to not knowing exactly how the Evans family-owned business will keep growing. He expressed the heavy responsibility of owning a global injection molder that employs about 1,000 people in the United States, Mexico and China.
"I keep having to change how I run the business” as it grows, Dale Evans said. His father, company founder Don Evans, could design the part, build the mold, run the press and deliver the part. As a company gets bigger, you work with and communicate through managers, he said.
“You've got to change how you talk to people and deliver your message as you go through those development stages,” he said.
Dale Evans kicked off the panel with a self-deprecating joke. Moderator Jeff Mengel of Plante Moran asked each finalist the first question: Why do you think you made it to the finalists' circle at the Processor of the Year Award? Evans answered first: "I'm an engineer by trade. I'd rather look at my shoes than talk up here.”
But he quickly he got into the serious stuff—including an inability to predict the future. On a personal level l say that makes life exciting, and Dale does like the fast-changing nature of injection molding. But running a major plastics company… I'm sure it gives you some different perspectives. For example, in the award profile on Evco that ran in the Feb. 22 issue of Plastics News, he admitted worrying about picking the right customers and markets. Will they grow? He likes to study demographics, looking for the “sweet spot” spending periods for individual products. He looks at basic birth rate data.
During the Executive Forum, he said, “You've got to change how you do things.”
Then he said something really intriguing, speaking the truth in simple terms. Dale Evans admitted he's only going to be comfortable taking the company so far, as it grows.
His father, who had already helped build one custom molder, started over with Evans Plastics in his basement. Dale was just a youngster when he worked in the plant. Employee No. 1, as he likes to say. And here, he's the top executive and admits being unsure of how to run a big molder, getting even bigger.
The other finalists were Nicolet Plastics Inc., Dymotek Corp. and MTD Micro Molding. All four finalists are custom injection molders.
Dale Evans' refreshing comments came during the Processor of the Year finalists' panel, on Feb. 17 at the Executive Forum. He learned that Evco won later night, at an awards banquet.
Once again, in his acceptance speech, he talked about how every executive, obviously, thinks about the future.
But nobody knows exactly what will happen. Nobody knows with certainty how to forge the successful molder of the future.