Petoskey Plastics named finalist for Plastics News Processor of the Year -Reported by Citizen Tribune

Petosky Plastics, based in Michigan, has been nominated for 2016 Processor of the Year by Plastics News, one of just four companies in the United States. Management staff from the Morristown facility recently gathered for a holiday photo.

PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN — Petoskey Plastics was named one of four finalists for the Plastics News Processor of the Year Award for 2016, which is sponsored by the Plastics Industry Association.

Petoskey Plastics is the only blown film company among the finalists. The company has a manufacturing facility located in the Morristown Airport Industrial District, with 101 employees.

The winner of the Processor of the Year Award will be announced in March.

A processor is defined as a manufacturer that forms finished plastics parts. For a private or public company or corporate operating division to qualify for the award, they must have been engaged in North American plastics processing for at least the past five years.

Candidates were then evaluated on criteria by members of the Plastics News’ editorial staff:

– financial performance
– quality
– customer relations
– employee relations
– environmental performance
– industry/public service
– technological innovation

Petoskey scored well in the environmental performance criteria. The judges gave the company high marks in other criteria, especially financial performance, customer relations, industry and public service and technology, according to an article featured in Plastics News.

Financially, sales have more than doubled in just seven years — from $67 million in 2009 to about $135 million in 2016. Sales steadily increased each year during that stretch. The company employs 400 people.

Given Petoskey’s expertise in recycled film products, the judges also were impressed by its technology.

“Making multi-layer blown film is hard enough, and producing that film with a high level of recycled plastics makes it that much more challenging,” a judge was quoted as saying.

Petoskey Plastics has earned a reputation as a maker of environmentally friendly film, bags and packaging — in an effort that began in 1978, when the company began recycling, and moved ahead in 1992 when Petoskey began offering closed-loop recycling for its customers.

That’s been an ongoing effort. In 2015, Petoskey Plastics reused more than 30 million pounds of plastic.

The company runs 26 blown film extrusion lines and numerous converting lines.

Petoskey can run multi-layer films with virgin resin layers surrounding a middle layer made with up to 70 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. The company makes three-layer and five-layer film.

“What sets us apart from other film producers is the ability to incorporate recycled polyethylene into our multi-layer film structures to produce cost-effective products that are a superior option for our customers and the environment,” Petoskey wrote in its submission for the Processor of the Year Award.

In May, the company won the Closing the Loop Award from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The company was founded by Paul Keiswetter, president and CEO, in 1969. Thirty years later, the company bought the assets of a polyethylene film extrusion plant in Morristown. Then in 2007, the film maker opened a new corporate headquarters in downtown Petoskey, and later that year, renovated a former garage door factory in Hartford City, Indiana, converting the building to a 330,000-square-foot recycling facility. In 2013, the business added blown film manufacturing and converting lines to Hartford City.

The family-owned company plays an outsized role in the three small towns where it manufactures. In 2015, Petoskey Plastics made financial donations to about 90 different charitable organizations — many targeted to efforts to support local children.

To help Flint, Michigan cope with its drinking water crisis, Petoskey Plastics donated recycled-content bags to help collect empty PET water bottles that piled up. The bottles went to Shupan Recycling, another Michigan-based company.

Company leaders are committed to promoting manufacturing to young people, through programs like donating a blown film lab line to a local college for its traveling lab. Other efforts include career days, plant tours and participation in Manufacturing Day.

Markets for the film and bag supplier include automotive, recycling, packaging, construction, medical, institutional, private label and retail. Applications are all over the map. For example, the company developed a number of different film products for the automotive market, everything from seat and steering wheel covers used in auto service, to sheets for masking during painting. Grip-N-Guard film is self-adhering, for home improvement projects.

Petoskey Plastics claims more than 5,000 customers around the world, including more than 30 Fortune 500 companies. Last fall, Petoskey won 3M’s Supplier of the Year Award — one of only 11 suppliers so honored — for helping drive its competitiveness and sustainability.

Plastics News is a weekly, 46,000-circulation trade newspaper delivering global news to a primarily North American market. Founded by Crain Communications Inc. in Akron, Ohio, in 1989, it covers the business of the global plastics industry.

-From Staff and Contributed Reports