Baldwin, Wis. — Vital Plastics Inc. has an employee-friendly culture that starts at the top with CEO Terry Townsend.
"Going to work shouldn't be drudgery; it shouldn't be a soul-numbing exercise. It should be a favorable part of your life, and that's what we strive for," Townsend said. "We try hard to make culture a part of it because, I think, first of all it's the right thing to do. Second of all, it pays huge benefits because people that enjoy what they do and who they work with are more productive."
The Baldwin-based custom injection molder has a unique business plan that includes many home-based employees who do complex assembly. The company is the 2018 winner of the Plastics News Excellence Award for employee relations.
"The company's foundation is actually the assembly business," President George Hauser said. "We started doing outsource assembly back in 1994, and it wasn't really until 1996 that we ever actually molded products."
He added: "What's unique about it is we've used home-based employees to do this, and it serves a variety of needs. It serves our community; it serves people who maybe otherwise wouldn't be employable or people who would not have access to jobs because of their situation, stay-at-home moms, retired folks, etc."
The stay-at-home workers come to the Baldwin plant once a week and pick up boxes of parts to assemble, instructions and sometimes fixtures to help do the piecemeal work. They bring the assembled parts back a week later, and the cycle continues.
Vital actually installed a drive-through in its factory so the at-home workers can conveniently pick up and drop off work.