When a company is launched with a sound growth plan by a talented leader to guide the business, that usually results in success.
At least that's what happened in 1961 when Howard Winfred Vipperman acquired the assets, including a production plant, of Powers Rubber, an Anaheim, Calif.-based rubber goods maker that had closed, and launched Vip Rubber Co. with a small budget in La Habra, Calif.
Armed with great charisma, talent and the knowledge and expertise gained during a long, successful career in the gasket industry, Vipperman led the upstart company through some early lean years when it primarily produced molded goods, along with extruded rubber and spliced products, to better days and prosperity in the 1970s.
His wife, Bernardyne, came on board to help guide the business in 1964, and his son, Howard Wayne Vipperman, who was 13 when the firm was founded, also pitched in part time during his high school and college years.
The elder Vipperman died in 1979, but his son, a full-time employee by that time, was in the wings to move into the post of president and later chairman of the firm.
Fast forward to 2021 as the now-named Vip Rubber & Plastic Co. celebrates its 60th year as a custom manufacturer of rubber and plastic parts, and the company is even stronger and more diverse than it was during the founder's heyday. The firm is AS9100 certified and works with many of the largest defense, aerospace and agricultural companies globally.
It's still owned and operated by the Vipperman family, with the second-generation Howard Vipperman continuing to serve as chairman of the La Habra-based firm after he relinquished his longtime role as president in 2020. That is when the third generation of the founding family began taking on more critical leadership roles within the company.
But despite changing faces in top key posts, Vip Rubber hasn't missed a beat. Under the leadership of President Bernardyne (Deena) Campana, it continues to grow at a steady clip, as it did in its early days, and always focuses on customer satisfaction, the company said.
As it adds to its base, the firm has some ambitious plans on the drawing board for the future, including acquiring additional capital assets and searching for another manufacturing site to further expand its operation, Vipperman said in a recent interview. Those are just part of a 10-year plan, he noted.
Its additional manufacturing facility would most likely be in a more business-friendly state than California, such as Nevada, Texas or Florida, he indicated.
But the firm's long-term vision calls for a good portion of the firm's existing business — such as its strong aerospace operation — to remain in California where the company operates two plants, said Cindy LeClair, vice president of marketing and government sales.