Burlington, Ill. — Chip Owen admits he has a lot of "wild ideas" about how to run a manufacturing company. Since 2013, he's had a chance to implement some of them at D&M Plastics LLC.
Owen didn't have a background in plastics when he and Chief Operating Officer Scott Hagen bought D&M Plastics in 2013. In fact, he had spent the previous 30 years in real estate before they bought the Burlington-based custom injection molder, which has a reputation for being ahead of the pack in terms of technology.
Owen had spent five years commuting to New York City from his home in Illinois to a private equity job. He was tired of the travel and intrigued with the idea of owning a manufacturing plant.
"I have this quaint belief that in order for America to be strong, it has to make things," said Owen, whose full name is Peyton Owen Jr. — but everyone calls him Chip.
"For me, it was a big deal. It was my opportunity to run a business the way I thought it should be run. I have a lot of wild ideas."
For example, he thinks employees should be able to afford to retire someday. So the company has a profit-sharing program that contributes up to 13 percent of their annual pay each year into a retirement account.