Elk River Star News MFG section

Visit us on the web at www.erstarnews.com • Saturday, September 30, 2017/ Star News / 5 from the editor ManufaCturing Week He saw opportunity where others saw eyesore by Jim Boyle Editor Fred Trapp, the owner of Die Concepts in Elk River, is a visionary. He saw beyond the eyesore that the indus- trial property at 18521 Line Ave. had become, and envisioned his and his partner’s two-de- cades-old small tool and die business that they built from the ground up not only taking the next step, but being able to flourish for decades to come. Trapp started his joint business venture in his basement with the help of his mentor and business partner, Mike Tracey, who offered his garage for manufactur- ing. The pieces Trapp designed on a computer in his home were made in Tracey’s garage. It only took a few months for them to outgrow these spaces and they would begin a series of lease agree- ments in Osseo and Ramsey that would span 20 years last March. Die Concepts designs and builds metal stamp- ing tooling. The busi- ness has contracts with customers in the United States, Mexico and Ireland with a variety Photo by Jim Boyle Fred Trapp and his business partner, Mike Tracey, have worked wonders in their manufacturing facility on Line Avenue in Elk River. Trapp saw the place’s potential, while others found it hard to look past their first impression. of businesses, includ- Elk River, and that’s this one at first,” Trapp for Die Concepts comes ing Medtronic, Boston when he was given said from his newly fin- with its own set of spe- Scientific, Toro, Graco the name of Amanda ished conference room. cial requirements relat- and 3M. Othoudt. “It looked horrible. ed to power and dust Trapp, a Brooklyn The city’s director of Things wouldn’t fit right collection, to name two. Park man, knew some economic development was my first thought.” Once Trapp began to of his employees lived had several options Further study showed consider the possibili- out this way and he for Trapp to consider, the more attractive ties, he started to see had made friends in including the dilapidat- options also came with the hidden qualities Elk River through kids’ ed 21,000-square-foot a higher price tags, of the building and its involvement in youth shop on Line Avenue and he decided to give location. hockey. in Elk River and some the former home of “The power was good, He started asking who other more attractive Minnesota Fabrication and I could see a layout he would talk to about ones. a second look. available properties in “I didn’t even consider Finding a building Die Concepts to 6 T.O. Plastics Manufactures Complex Plastics Packaging & Parts that Exemplify Quality & Service CLEARWATER, MN – Founded in 1948 in the garage and basement of a Minneapolis home, T.O. Plastics Inc. has grown to be a national leader in custom thermoformed plastic products and packaging, now employing more than 130 people between Otsego and Clearwater and staying true to its Minnesota roots. “Our success is based on our dedication to quality, our great team and our commitment to the thermoforming process,” T.O. Plastics President Mike Vallafskey said. • Great People: We seek out hardworking, The company has made a name for itself collaborative and passionate people with by designing and manufacturing quality entrepreneurial spirit. Every person is valued packaging and complex products for the life and contributes to our success. sciences, horticultural and industrial markets. • Results: Winning performance through These run the gamut from custom medical ongoing continuous improvement activities device packaging to consumer and electronic and strong strategic execution, we will strive packaging. T.O. Plastics has also developed for excellence and perform with pride. its own line of pots and trays designed specifically for the greenhouse, plant • Integrity: We operate in an honest, ethical propagation, retail and nursery segments of manner and will always strive to do the right things. the horticulture industry. Vallafskey credited the company’s success • Tenacity: We perform our roles with drive, to its adherence to its core values: perseverance and have an unquenched thirst for achieving excellence. An underlying commitment to safety has also helped the company’s progress, Vallafskey said, citing the 2016 Liberty Mutual Safety Award T.O. received as evidence of the role safety plays in the company’s operations. • Certified “cleanrooms,” which create the Open positions at T.O. Plastics’ Clearwater contamination-free space necessary for location include: manufacturing medical device packages • Extrusion Operator • Registration to several specialized ISO • IT Manager standards – the international system that • Manufacturing Engineer ensures the very highest levels of attention • Master Packer to quality Throughout its years of growth and All of these efforts benefit not only T.O. Plastics investment, T.O. Plastics has remained a good and its customers but also the regional steward of resources and a good neighbor to economy. “In 2016, we paid $5.2 million – the surrounding communities. representing more than a third of our total “Nearly all our plastic scrap is recycled or expenditures – to Minnesota vendors, and reused, either directly by T.O. or by companies more than half of our vendors are based in that purchase the scrap from us,” Vallafskey state,” Vallafskey said. said. “We also donate time and resources The company also serves as an important to local organizations like Clearwater-Clear regional source of employment, offering good Lake Food Shelf, Clearwater Fire Department benefits, competitive pay and opportunities and Tri-County Humane Society as well as to for promotion, he said. “Between our Otsego national men’s cancer awareness efforts like and Clearwater facili ѥ̰ݔٔյȁѡ5ٕȁչѥ ɽٕ)ɕЁչѥ́مȁ%t)єлt)Q́ЁɥP