According to PTI Engineered Plastics Inc. CEO Mark Rathbone, the company puts a lot of training into its employees, making them “quite valuable, almost irreplaceable.”
“We put a lot of training in employees. … Especially today, it's just a tough market to find good people, and they really are our No. 1 asset next to our equipment,” he said.
PTI ranks No. 12 in the Plastics News 2017 Best Places to Work awards.
Rathbone, who started the company in 1984, said that because of the training and opportunities available at PTI, the best employees are full of passion.
“Just a passion about what they do and a desire just to be creative and come to work every day,” Rathbone said. “The biggest thing is to get employees to come to work and be passionate about what they are doing, and [we] offer them a lot of opportunities.
“They can start out in the business as a process operator … and because of some of the things we have going on internally with our Academy, we are starting to let some of our new hires coming in that will have the opportunity to be part of the academy and take some training that we only have been offering for the last few years to high school students,” he said.
The PTI Technical Academy, he said, started about three years ago to show young men and women that this is “not Grandpa's factory.” Instead, he wants to show people they can get an enjoyable job and make good money as a skilled trades worker in the toolmaking or manufacturing business.
“We are looking at a lot of the skill trades. You know, the local high school were kind of dropping their machine shop, their programming and their CAD classes and things of that nature,” Rathbone said.
Trainees can learn about shop safety, design, mold-making, programming, maintenance and more.
Rathbone said PTI has a turnover rate of less than 1 percent, and many workers have been with the company for 12 to 15 years. “Some people have been here for 25 years,” he added.
While the company has around 300 employees at its 155,000-square-foot facility in Macomb Township, Mich., Rathbone said they're looking to break ground on a new, 40,000-square-foot building this year. He also said they're projecting employment of 425 people by 2018.
Four times per year, employees are recognized on Employee Appreciation Day for their service with the company, regardless of whether that's been five years or 20 years.
“It's an event where we have food catered in for all three shifts. I personally sit down with every employee at the anniversary, which has become a little harder and harder these days,” he said.
For the last two years, PTI rented yachts in Detroit so all employees could bring their spouses and enjoy a dinner boat cruise. Rathbone said they also host Christmas parties and summer picnics.
To improve the overall health of the team, PTI offers wellness education seminars, weight-loss challenges and community service initiatives. Employees who get their annual physical and flu shot are eligible for insurance premium reductions.
“I think our culture is a family culture. … I think everyone knows everyone's spouses and children,” he said. “We have a lot of company events where they have an opportunity to meet other families.
“Having people work for me who got married and had kids, and some of their kids actually work here now,” Rathbone added, “it's just like watching your own family grow.”