"We were just bleeding in every aspect of the business. Cash is just going. Operations is not running well," she said. But the company worked its way through bankruptcy in 2011.
"At that time, I was promoted to executive vice president. I was in Detroit working on the bankruptcy and running this operation here with another manager. It was stressful. It was stressful."
Her mindset at the time? "I have to do this. My parents were very hardworking, caring people. And to see your parents go through such a stressful situation not only in a professional but personal aspect because it's on their marriage, their financial comforts. Everything is wrapped up in this business. I guess I never really sat down and said, 'Anita, do you have an option?' I didn't really think there was an option. I thought, 'I don't know what I'm doing, but I can figure it out.' I was probably the best person to facilitate moving things along. I just fit in that hole."
She also felt an obligation to the employees, some of whom had worked at Mid-American since the 1980s.
Today, business is stable with $15 million in sales. Quillen calls the company's balance sheet financially comfortable.
"We're healthy," she said.
Quillen owns 81 percent of Diversified Engineering & Plastics, as the company is now known, with a silent partner from the Jackson area owning the rest. She bought the company, which does business as DEP Engineering, out of bankruptcy. Eighty-five percent of sales come from the automotive sector, mostly non-cosmetic parts such as mirror brackets, under-the-hood pieces in engine blocks and valve lifter guides for customers like Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Fiat Chrysler.
"We don't have one customer [that represents] over 23 percent of sales," she said, noting that DEP ships parts across the United States and to Germany, Mexico and Canada. "There isn't one thing that would significantly impact our business because we run across so many customers and platforms."