One of Lawrence Lin's guiding principles as president of Taiwanese injection molder Grand Dynasty Industrial Co. Ltd. is what you'd call a painstaking attention to detail.
It's a focus, he said, on getting everything right and treating every project from a customer as if it were his own.
He credits that philosophy with helping to steer GDI from a family-owned workshop with 20 employees and $1 million in sales in 1993 to a $40 million business with 245 employees today.
"It looks simple, but we execute this policy all these years for every single project customers gave to us," he said.
Of course, there's a bit more to it than that.
Lin earned a doctorate in polymer science at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1990. He said that knowledge helped a lot in growing GDI, which had been started by his father and brother in 1984.
"This was really a small family operation business, like lots of businesses in Taiwan at that time and even now," he said. "When I came back in 1993, I found out that the company lost money every month."
He said his family had an entrepreneurial drive. His father, who stopped his education after two years of teacher training after high school, came out of World War II with very little.
He had a government job but on nights and weekends started a construction company, eventually building five-story apartment buildings. His father had a few simple rules for business.
"He always told me no matter what, you cannot owe anyone money," he said. "Help other people if you can. This is the basic rule of my doing business."
Today, Lin is president of the New Taipei City-based company and the family retains 60 percent of the business. The remaining 40 percent is owned by 20 GDI employees, a corporate structure that's relatively new in Taiwan, he said.
The company has tried to keep it simple in its operations. Lin said they have not exhibited at trade shows and never sought out media publicity: "We just honor our relationship with customers."
But Lin was recently honored himself by UMass Lowell for donating $1 million to the university for a 3D printing lab — which the school has called the Lawrence Lin Makerspace — for its polymer science students.
In an email interview with Plastics News, he said he wanted to give students the tools to pursue their own ideas, as they learned about technology that's important for the future of the industry.
"I feel that I owe UMass Lowell a lot," he said.
GDI, with 54 Japanese and Taiwanese-made injection molding machines, uses solar power for its office electricity, collects rainwater and filters it for restrooms and gardening.
Its employees do charity work, and the company won a prestigious corporate social responsibility award in Taiwan in 2014.
But social capitalism aside, the company is growing on the business side.
In October, it's breaking ground on a $20 million factory in Taiwan, which will be its third there, with 15 more injection machines and clean room manufacturing.
GDI is also active in a government project to bring more Industry 4.0 technology to Taiwan's plastics industry, he said. That's important because they continue to face heavy competition, he said.
"Taiwan is a small island, and most processors are small size," Lin said. "We are working with the local government to create ... [a] platform to bring all processors into Industry 4.0, facing the new global market and improving our ability to compete in today's world."