Young plastics engineers Craig Carrel, Jim Capo and Gary Grigowski saw the need for a company to supply international automotive suppliers that were establishing operations in the Midwest in the mid-1980s and wanted to start a world-class plastic molding company. Business was slow at first, but by 1993, Team 1 Plastics was the 101st company in Inc. magazine's list of the top 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
With 52 employees, Albion, Mich.-based Team 1 is a custom injection molding company that specializes in precision and clear plastic components for the transportation industry. It makes Plastics News' Best Places to Work list for processors at No. 4.
For employees' birthdays they are able to spin a wheel during their birthday month and have the chance to win up to $100 cash or eight hours of paid time off. Team 1 staff members are recognized for five-year milestone anniversaries with a gift at the companywide annual meeting.
Two parties are held each year for employees and their families, and they include giveaways and raffles. During the holidays, the departments pick a restaurant to eat at and celebrate with one another. Meals are paid for by the company and hours gone are paid as working time.
The team grills out at work, providing food for others to enjoy. There are also themed days where the dress code doesn't apply.
"Our company loves giving back to the community, so most people in the area have heard of us before they start working for us. We have a meeting to discuss donations and initiatives we would like to support. We focus on giving back to local programs," the company said in its Best Places to Work survey.
In terms of health and wellness, Team 1 offers employees three different health care plan options. Health savings accounts are available through a local credit union, and it contributes biweekly to employees' HSAs. Team 1 also offers a vision discount program to all employees.
The company conducted a weight-loss challenge where the biggest "loser" won a gym membership and a pool of cash.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, sign-in procedures have changed to include questions per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and enhanced visitor screenings. Break rooms have removed chairs to one per table and conference rooms have capacity limits for social distancing. Meetings take place via Microsoft Teams, where possible. Team 1 purchased bottled water for staff after the water coolers were closed.
At the start of the pandemic, a small team of managers and owners was formed to meet regularly. Vice President Gary Grigowski would send out a weekly email of business updates and changes that were happening around the company.
Employees who are able to work off-site are given the opportunity to do so, and remote work comes with flexible schedules.
Employees are eligible to contribute to a retirement plan more than 90 days after hire. Team 1 contributes quarterly to employees' 401(k) accounts if a bonus is projected.
Team member Star Stepp said the environment is one of encouragement.
"There is an attitude of 'let's work together to accomplish our company goals' that makes the environment easy to work in," the company said. "We frequently have new team members comment on how well everybody gets along. ... Our team has high expectations and sets high standards for team members, and it helps ensure that everybody is rowing the boat in the same direction."
Team 1 ranks No. 278 of North American injection molders, according to PN's latest data, with estimated sales of $16 million. It placed in PN's Best Places to Work list in 2014-16 and 2018-19.