Q: How many industries does Progressive Plastics serve? How far does your customer base extend to? How many people do you employ?
A: We manufacture products for a wide range of industries including medical, construction, pool and office products, aerospace, military, pet products, marine safety, and many others. Over the past several years, we have focused a great deal of attention on assisting inventors develop their new products, which is very exciting and rewarding. We ship product throughout the U.S. and some international. We are very fortunate to have 48 hard-working, dedicated women and men that represent the Progressive Plastics team, and most of them are local.
Q: What is your professional background and what led you to plastics?
A: Prior to starting Progressive Plastics with David Harbit, I was the Director of Research and Development for a medical device manufacturer. Those products happened to be disposable, single-patient use, plastic devices, which were injection molded and extruded.
Q: Where did you grow up, where did you attend high school and college, and what did you major in?
A: My early childhood was spent on the west side of Indianapolis. My family then moved to the cornfields of southern Hamilton County (before Castleton Square existed, and certainly before Fishers was recognized as a town, let alone a city). I graduated from Hamilton Southeastern, with a class of less than 100 students. I then graduated from Wabash College with a major in economics, before heading west to pursue my Master of Architecture at Cal Poly.
Q: Why and when did you join the Elwood Chamber?
A: I’m not certain what year we joined the Chamber, but it was fairly soon after starting the company. I knew very little about Elwood and even less about the Chamber, but it seemed a small price to pay for an opportunity to get involved with local businesses and interested citizens.
Q. What do you see as the primary benefits of being a Chamber member?
A: I understand the importance of measuring the value in every investment we make; in this case, we’re talking about the cost of membership. But for me, the primary benefit is not tangible. Progressive Plastics does not benefit from local promotions because we don’t generate “walk in” sales. The true benefit is to be a part of the local community, and to work side-by-side with other interested businesses to help Elwood, in whatever capacity is needed.
Q: When did you come onto the board?
A: My actual first year has been a subject of debate among some Board members, but somewhere close to 10 years. I think.
Q: What do you enjoy most about serving on the board and what do you hope to achieve?
A: I enjoy working with a group of people that share a desire to help the community. I’m sure I speak for the entire Board when I say that we hope to improve people’s lives. How? There is no simple answer, but opportunities will present themselves if we can create a more vibrant economy by supporting our local businesses and attracting new businesses and visitors to Elwood.
Q: What is your favorite Elwood Chamber-sponsored event?
A: Hmm… although the Glass Festival, Annual Celebration Dinner, the Chili-Cook Off, and the golf outing and parades are all great, I would have to say the Home, Health, and Garden Show. :)
Q: What do you see as Elwood’s greatest untapped resource?
A: Actually two resources that have greater potential. First, Hinds Career Center. I truly believe this career center can become a regional powerhouse for advanced education in manufacturing trades and a premier source of adult education. Secondly, charm. Elwood can become a popular destination for people to raise their children or to plan a day trip.
Q: What do you predict for Elwood over the next five years?
A: As development continues to march northward on SR 37, Elwood will become more visible to small businesses and young families. If the city, along with local businesses and citizens work together, Elwood will thrive.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: I’ve been married to Sandy, my high school sweetheart for (gulp) 37 years. We have three wonderful, grown sons, along with three equally wonderful daughters-in-law, and objectively speaking, the cutest, brightest six grandchildren in the world: Aidan (10), Ella (8), Emrie (3), Langston (2), William (9 months), and Lennox (1 week).
Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
A: We are blessed to have our children within 25 minutes of our home. So, along with enjoying yardwork, gardening, and bicycling, we arrange plenty of family gatherings to cover the rest of our schedule.
Q: What else would you like our readers to know about you that I didn’t ask?
A: Oh, I think your readers have had more than enough of me, but thanks for asking. ●