Elliott Rabin joined his father, Seymour, at ePlastics, a Ridout Plastics Co., in 1975 and started wrapping packages for UPS in the shipping department. Seymour Rabin retired in 1988, and Elliott has been president of San Diego-based ePlastics for about 30 years.
ePlastics, a distributor and custom fabricator with 52 employees, has made the Plastics News Best Places to Work list every year since 2016 and this year ranks No. 5.
"I've seen a lot of change in the surrounding areas as well as the business itself," Elliott Rabin said. "The thing is — and this is probably in the last five years — we've really come to the point where we had to differentiate ourselves from everyone else in the world of plastics.
"We tout our high performance, and I think it comes down to tolerance. If you tolerate anything less than high performance, then that's what you're going to get. Our culture is built on it," he said.
Rabin estimates 40 percent of the ePlastics workforce has been with the company for 10 years or more.
To acknowledge all the years of service, ePlastics created a Wall of Fame with a plaque for each employee covering a long walkway. An employee must work at the company for one year to have his or her plaque on the Wall of Fame.
"As people are having their anniversaries, I like to walk up to them on that day, shake their hand, look them in the eye and say, 'Thank you so much for being here. You just completed another year,'" Rabin said.
Rabin said there are several families that work at ePlastics, with combinations of fathers, mothers, daughters and son.
ePlastics also offers health care coverage to both full-time and part-time employees, and it pays 100 percent of the premium for dental coverage for employees. Rabin said the health care coverage goes back to when his father was running the company.
"We want to take care of our employees. The way you treat your employees is the way they are going to treat your customers. … It's kind of always been that way; it's the right thing to do," he said.
ePlastics' sustainability efforts are also doing something positive for both the environment and the company's employees.
For all the aluminum cans and plastic bottles that the company collects, the money raised is put into a fund for a taco lunch. For the plastic sheet falloff that would have normally gone into the trash, that is now sorted and the money goes toward the holiday party, which has included magicians, card tables, photo booth and interactive disc jockey.
"We've raised anywhere between $10,000-$15,000 a year of recycle money that used to go to the dump," Rabin said. "At 25 cents a pound, 40,000 pounds of plastic, when you picture that, that's a big heap of plastic that's not going into the atmosphere or the ground or the ocean."
Rabin said although he saw volatility in the marketplace, one of the company's accomplishments from the previous year was that ePlastics grew and was profitable. Additionally, he said, ePlastics' employees were happy.
"Honesty is such a big thing. It goes back to tolerating high performance. If you don't tolerate anything but that, then that's what you're going to get," he said. "I think it filters down so that it becomes part of the culture. People expect the best out of themselves and really try to do that."