2017-08-06 / Insight

Imlay City’s Vintech Industries has big impact, but small profile

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 •


Partners Frank Mu and Jim Schoonover operated research and development and production out of their Almont location. They expect to triple their business in the next six years. 
Photo by Phil Foley Partners Frank Mu and Jim Schoonover operated research and development and production out of their Almont location. They expect to triple their business in the next six years. Photo by Phil Foley IMLAY CITY — Chances are if you’ve seen a car in the last 24 hours, you’ve probably seen a Vintech Industries product. The chances are even better than you didn’t realize it.

The Imlay City-based company bills itself as “A dedicated global Tier 2 Supplier.” While the company has manufacturing locations in Mexico and China, the bulk of its nearly 300 employees work at its Imlay City and Almont locations.

You’ll never see a write-up of Vintech’s products in Car and Driver or Road and Track. The company doesn’t make the eye-catching instrument panel, it makes the seal between the instrument panel and the windshield that keeps dust, rain and noise out.


Jim Schoonover, Vintech Industries’ president, examines a part at his Imlay City location while Mauricio Calderon operates an extrusion machine. It’s the same kind of job Schoonover started out with in 1980. 
Photos by Phil Foley Jim Schoonover, Vintech Industries’ president, examines a part at his Imlay City location while Mauricio Calderon operates an extrusion machine. It’s the same kind of job Schoonover started out with in 1980. Photos by Phil Foley The company, which provides extruded plastic seals to nearly every North American auto manufacturer through suppliers like Magna, has grown in the past 13 years from a single extrusion machine to more than 100 extruders generating close to $30 million in annual sales.

Almont native Jim Schoonover started the company with his friend Vince McNish in 2004 after 24 years in the plastic industry. “We pooled our money, bought one extruder and rented a building north of Lapeer,” he recalled.

He said the company got its name because his partner always wanted to name a company Vintech. “I liked it,” Schoonover said. “Besides, it sounded better than Jimtech.”


Imlay City resident Suholy Galindo has worked at Vintech Industries’ Industrial Parkway location for two years. “I like it very much,” she said. Company president Jim Schoonover said Vintech offers above average wages and benefits. Imlay City resident Suholy Galindo has worked at Vintech Industries’ Industrial Parkway location for two years. “I like it very much,” she said. Company president Jim Schoonover said Vintech offers above average wages and benefits. They based their company on a simple idea, Schoonover said. “We just want to do the right thing.”

Schoonover graduated from Almont High School in 1978 and was working at a local gas station after getting laid off from his first job at Ford, when a friend, Dean Ward, who was working at Ligon Brothers, a plastics company north of Almont, told him they were hiring. “The first time I saw an extruder line I just loved it,” he said.

He worked as an extruder operator and truck driver at the company, never having a clue he’d one day buy the plant he once worked in. An old lathe from Ligon Brothers is now on display in the lobby of Vintech’s headquarters on Industrial Parkway.

Schoonover said the turning point for the company came when he met Frank (Weizhong) Mu in 2007. He said Mu was working for Minth, a Chinese customer of Vintech’s. He went to China to help Minth with a technical problem.

Five years later when Mu moved his family to Michigan they met again. “I didn’t really remember meeting him,” Schoonover said, but the second meeting came at a fortuitous time. Schoonover wanted to buy another small plastics company, but his partner, McNish, wasn’t enthusiastic about the move.

Eventually Mu bought out McNish’s interest in Vintech and became the company’s vice president.

Schoonover said that while they have plants in Mexico and China and are planning to open one in Portugal this fall, they don’t import anything into the U.S. Each of the company’s plants services the local auto industry in the region they’re located.

Mu said it’s less costly to operate multiple extrusion molds than ship parts globally from one plant. It also gives them the flexibility to better respond to fluctuations in currency, accidents, natural disasters and civil unrest.

Mu and Schoonover like their Lapeer County locations because they offer lower operating costs while providing proximity to the heart of the auto industry.

Mu predicts in six years the company will be three times the size it is now.

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