Jeffrey Kuhman, a former pro football player who founded Glycon Corp. in Tecumseh, Mich., is ready to punt some duties.
The 1968 draft pick for the Denver Broncos started in the plastics industry at the same time, working in the off-season for extruder and blow molding machine builder Midland-Ross Corp.
After a couple years in the pros, Kuhman took his A-game to Midland-Ross full time. In 1974, he became manager of manufacturing at the Uniloy division of Johnson Controls.
Then, with nearly a decade of plastics experience, Kuhman started Glycon in 1978. The company manufactures high-performance feedscrews and systems for melt delivery on extruders, injection and blow molding machines.
Kuhman turned it into an innovative business. He was awarded nine patents and attracted customers like Uniloy, Ford Motor Co., a major dairy producer and a popular water sports equipment molder.
Although sales to packaging, recreation, agriculture and construction customers were off 12 percent in 2020, the company was still profitable and is poised for growth, Kuhman said.
"March was our biggest month for incoming business in the history of the company," Kuhman, 75, said in a phone interview. "The medical and food markets are busy. We've been fortunate. We should keep our fingers crossed."
Interestingly, he added, March also was the first month his son, Jonathon L. Kuhman, took over as president and CEO.
After 43 years at the helm, Jeff Kuhman said he wants to move toward the sidelines and let another generation of executives take over.
In another management change, John M. Phelan, formerly general manager and corporate counsel, was promoted to vice president and general counsel.
Jeff Kuhman, who started the business as Great Lakes Feedscrews, remains as chairman.
"It's a nice position to be in," he said. "It gives me more time to participate in marketing-type activities and to focus on the technology we've been developing for almost 30 years. We call it electronic measurement and tracking (EMT). It's predictive maintenance in the greatest sense. We really think, in some form, it will revolutionize the way things are done in extrusion, blow molding and injection on the screws and barrels."