Diversified Plastics Inc. started in 1977 with 13 employees and three machines in a 2,500-square-foot facility. Today, the custom injection molder of high-precision components has 63 employees manufacturing from a 52,000-square-foot headquarters plant in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and a facility in Vista, Calif.
DPI takes the No. 3 spot for Plastics News' Best Places to Work list of processors.
According to its website, DPI delivers design for manufacturing and design for additive manufacturing services, precision prototype production using Acceleration Station services, machined prototype parts, complicated prototype tools, on-site tool shop, close-tolerance plastic injection molding, digital additive manufacturing, filled materials, insert molding, overmolding, clean room assembly and more.
"DPI's team is proud of the parts they manufacture to help others," DPI said in its Best Places to Work survey. "For example, some of the components produced by the company are used in water purification systems that create clean drinking water. ... Taking center stage this year, during the pandemic, are the parts that DPI manufactures for pulse oximeters, which are used to measure blood oxygen levels of COVID patients."
The company helped manufacture supplies for personal protective equipment, including face shields.
Aliza Alverson, sales engineer, said they were answering calls from 6 a.m. and working until midnight. "A big effort and hopefully a big impact," she said.
DPI is structured as an employee stock ownership plan. It is 100 percent employee-owned "so the employees share in the success," the company said. It also offers a 401(k) match, eligible to employees more than 90 days after hire.
For health care coverage, the company pays up to $400 for dental and vision costs for each employee and their dependents.
The company regularly has 10 paid holidays per year, and employees can earn five paid days off starting after one year of employment. DPI added extra company paid holidays during the coronavirus pandemic to reward employees for their extra hard work.
Team members who have been with the company for 20-plus years are invited to join a "special group of longtime employees who helped shape the culture of the corporation," the company said.
To show appreciation, DPI has company-sponsored barbecues, pizza lunches and ice cream treats for staff. There are also pumpkin carving contests, scavenger hunts, Halloween costume contests, chili cook-offs, Christmas bingo, acknowledgement of days like National Chewing Gum Day and other random entertaining events about once a month. Winners of the monthly safety bingo receive $50.
Mark Gremmels, director of operations, said seasonal events have continued but adjusted with social distancing guidelines, such as Thanksgiving meals boxed up rather than a potluck.
DPI celebrates Flag Day by posting country flags, and pre-COVID-19, team members would bring in a dish to share from a designated country.
Job development and advancement is also a priority. Five employees have been promoted in the last year and many others have formal career growth plans at the company. The management team is developing succession plans and increasing employee training.
"Founded over 40 years ago, Diversified Plastics Inc. emphasizes and nurtures family values, integrity, teamwork, a can-do attitude and the willingness to do more than asked," the company said. "These core values are part of the reason that many employees stay with the company, including nine of the original thirteen that worked at DPI until their retirement. And two of those long-term employees still work at the company today."
DPI ranks No. 257 on PN's list of North American injection molders, with $19.2 million in sales. This is DPI's first appearance on the Best Places to Work list. It has been selected as a finalist for PN's 2020 Processor of the Year, and it won the 2019 PN Excellence Award for employee relations and 2020 PN Excellence Award for customer relations.