It might not be the family motto, but the Brown family of R&D Molders Inc. in Georgetown, Texas, focuses on giving their customers what they want — even if it means doing something that's never been done before on a blow molding or injection molding machine.
Founded in 1974 when Virginia Military Institute and West Point grad W. Cavett Brown opened a 5,000-square-foot facility in Austin, Texas, making one-quart canteens for the U.S. Army with an operation requiring both blow molding and injection molding. From there, the canteen expanded into work for the U.S. Forest Service and eventually into toner cartridges, waste containers and eventually medical molding — and anything else customers can dream up for the custom molding and contract manufacturer.
“I guess our specialty is doing those strange things, things people might shy away from or not want to try,” said Greg Brown II, who is the third generation to helm the still-growing company. “Now, in 2016, the company is doing well. We work on some very interesting and challenging projects and are out of space and looking at options for expanding into a new, larger facility.”
Wherever the new facility may be, going with R&D Molders will be a 42-year-old, wide-ranging back catalog of diverse parts, The Emporium. The company says it was one of the first to successfully produce round bottles with in-mold labeling — “which we found out later is not done,” he said — and “the longest injection molded part ever.”
Being able to reach back to previous parts and the advice of previous generations is important, not just in the family but in the company, Brown said. When his father, also Greg Brown, moved back to Texas, “Dad started working third shift while he looked for a ‘real job'… and 40 years later, he's still here,” evolving the company's leadership style as the business has evolved.
When Greg Brown II came back to the family business in 2006 on the business development side and “really committed to it,” after getting a business degree and spending some time in corporate America, it was another turn in R&D's evolution. He now runs the day-to-day operations, though there has not been any sort of father-to-son formal handoff, he said.
“I got a ‘real job,' in staffing, you know, the cube farm, hated it … I just like making stuff,” he said. “My dad, he's the owner and the boss man, he still comes here every day, he looks at all the numbers. But on the day-to-day operations, it has definitely transitioned to me.
“I don't know if it's ‘right,' but it's working for us, for now,” Brown said of the company's organic transition through the generations.