Gary Mishkin is the top executive of a company that meets two of his conditions: smaller and growing.
Last year, Miskin's company Artemis Plastics LLC generated just under $4 million in sales. And for 2019, the contract injection molder is on its way to hitting $4.5 million in sales, depending on when projects come to completion, the executive said.
Artemis Plastics, based in Ocala, Fla., is No. 459 on Plastics News' most recent ranking of North American injection molders. It has about 29 employees, plus five to 10 temp workers, at its 32,000-square-foot facility.
"If we hit $60 million, I'm probably not the person to bring it to $100 million," Mishkin said in a phone interview. "There are probably better people who are probably more diligent with getting companies to go to that next level. But I do enjoy bringing them to the $10 [million], $15 [million], $20 million range — that's where I'm passionate."
And that stable and steady growth is where 51-year-old Mishkin is most comfortable. It's the sweet spot for the CEO, who — beyond running a smaller and growing company — strives to create a culture of collaboration and trust at Artemis Plastics.
The company was formed in September 2014 when Mishkin purchased the assets of custom injection molder Clairson Plastics.
"There were several goals we set when I became CEO, but the main goal was to instill a culture of collaboration and trust," Mishkin said in submitted responses. "We were fortunate enough to retain a talented management team with skilled operators and inspectors. We needed to make sure they understood how we want to be perceived as a company, both internally and externally.
"We have made great strides in instilling our culture, and we continue to make it a priority."
Mishkin, who describes his leadership style as collaborative and lighthearted, said he's built that culture by living it. This means being open, honest and transparent with his employees and filling them in on how the company is doing and the direction it is moving in.
To do so, he has production meetings twice a week and new project meetings once a week with specific team members, and then quarterly meetings with the entire organization.
"I'm very honest with them, upfront with them. I empower them," Mishkin said. "And I tell them during these presentations, look, if something is not right, I need you guys to tell us. You're the front people. The operators are the ones on the line — you're going to catch it first."
This is Mishkin's first gig in plastics. The CEO, who holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Brandeis University, a master's in biomedical engineering from George Washington University and an MBA from the University of Virginia, spent nearly a decade in clinical research.
Mishkin, an inventor, also has about a dozen patents — something that might surprise many of his employees, who view him as the tie-wearing top executive.
At George Washington University, Mishkin performed clinical and lab studies on dialysis-related devices and drugs. It was here that he met his first and most influential mentor, not including relatives: Dr. Juan Bosch, former director of the university's renal division.
The two worked together in the unit for nearly seven years, conducting dozens of studies, publishing numerous articles and presenting their research around the world.
"They are different things and they do tug at me in different ways," Mishkin said of his pursuits in research and business.
But the two areas also enable his company to develop new projects and ways of manufacturing, while "making sure that the ship is going in the right direction [and] everybody's rowing together," he said.
"We're able to offer some of these unique, creative, inventive, innovative methods to produce things. We're doing a whole number of different things in that realm," Mishkin added. "From a company standpoint, it makes us stand out."
Today, Artemis Plastics designs and manufactures devices used in the medical and industrial markets. It has in-house tool and mold making capabilities as well as prototyping and full-production services, including assembly, packaging and managing sterilization.
The company is the contract manufacturing arm of Apollo Renal Therapeutics LLC, a business that was created to commercialize Mishkin's hemodialyzer for kidney dialysis.
This September marks the fifth anniversary in business for Artemis Plastics. Earlier this year, the company added its largest injection molding machine — a 1,200-ton press — and added a 600-square-foot Class 8 clean room for device assembly and packaging, with plans for additional rooms beyond that.
"We've taken the first several years learning, understanding, moving forward, starting our business, getting a reputation," he said. "And now, I'm gearing up the organization so that we can continue to grow, but with the capabilities, grow at a faster rate than we have been."
In his personal life, Mishkin unwinds by going for walks, but he's quick to add that he doesn't really slow down. He enjoys jumping right into the next work-related project — something he calls therapeutic, not stressful.
Mishkin is a father of two: Samantha, 17, and Devin, 14. And his wife, Miriam, also plays a leading role in his success at home and in the office, where she is manager of human resources and risk. Every single day he "gets on the same page" as her, he said, making sure that everything at home is OK first and foremost.
"The best career advice I ever received was also great personal advice: If things are not good at home, they will never be good at work. To truly be the best one can be, one's personal life needs to be good," he said. "I, personally, follow this advice today and it falls into our culture at work."