2017-09-03 / Insight

Vintech Industries employs more than 100 in plastic extrusion operation

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Vintech Industries’ Courtney Schoonover (left) pauses for a picture with Inside Sales Rep. Cheri Shamaly in front of dozens of Vintech-made parts. Shamaly splits her time between the Imlay City and Almont facilities. Vintech Industries’ Courtney Schoonover (left) pauses for a picture with Inside Sales Rep. Cheri Shamaly in front of dozens of Vintech-made parts. Shamaly splits her time between the Imlay City and Almont facilities. Editor’s note: This story is part of a continuing series “Behind the Wall” by The County Press that spotlights local companies and manufacturers to give readers a look at what is happening behind the walls of local industry.

IMLAY CITY — Connecting with M-53 just north of Borland Road is the pragmatically named Industrial Parkway, a winding road home to several manufacturers that operate in relative isolation from the rest of Imlay City. One of those businesses, Vintech Industries, may be apart from Imlay City proper geographically speaking, but as its employees point out, they’re very much a part of the community in other ways.

Imlay City Materials Manager Doug Pender takes a moment to demonstrate a machine in the Imlay City facility. More than 4 million parts are manufactured and shipped out each month.Photos byNicholas Pugliese Imlay City Materials Manager Doug Pender takes a moment to demonstrate a machine in the Imlay City facility. More than 4 million parts are manufactured and shipped out each month.
Photos byNicholas Pugliese
According to the company, over the last several years alone, the plastic extrusion company Vintech has supplied parts for many vehicles on the road today, and Vintech parts are found in dozens of models over several automotive companies in the United States and abroad. As mentioned on the company’s website, there were even nine Vintech parts on the presidential limousine used by President Barack Obama. Vintech President and CEO Jim Schoonover founded Vintech Manufacturing Team in 2002 in Imlay City, and since then, Vintech Industries has expanded steadily over the last decade to reach its position as a leading Tier II Thermal Plastic Extrusion Supplier in the United States and around the world.

With a new facility recently opened a few miles south in Almont, Vintech is growing, but as Human Resources Manager Courtney Schoonover said, regardless of how big Vintech grows, it will always consider Lapeer County home. “We’re really big on community and we like to keep things local,” said Schoonover. “We always donate to the Blueberry Festival and the Eastern Michigan State Fair every year, and support the Imlay City Farmers Market. We eat here locally, we spend our money locally, we’re really all about Imlay City.”

The Imlay City facility currently has more 100 employees, nearly all of which were local hires, and according to Schoonover the company is always looking for qualified applicants to join the Vintech family — a term, said Schoonover, that isn’t mentioned lightly. “We really are a family, a Vintech family,” she said.

According to Imlay City Materials Manager Doug Pender, that family mentality starts at the top. “I like to say that we’re like a family here, sure,” he said. “You’ll see the owner (Jim Schoonover) on the floor tweaking machines alongside workers. We care for each employee like they’re our own, they’re not just a number.”

And that family is growing, in the recently constructed Almont facility. The company has big plans for the site, according to Pender.

“The designs are done in the Almont facility, and we plan over the whole company to expand three times in size in the next five years,” he said. Currently the Almont facility employs 35 people, and between the two Lapeer County facilities, Vintech manufactures just over 4 million parts per month. “The goal,” said Pender,“is to reach (much higher goals) in the next six years.”

The aim, said Pender, is to turn the Almont facility into a full production facility. “That’s definitely part of the plan,” he said. “We’re already acquiring equipment. The ball is rolling.” According to Pender, some of the manufacturing that is currently being done in the Imlay City facility will be done in the Almont facility in the future. “We’ve outgrown this (Imlay City) building,” said Schoonover. “We just keep growing and growing.”

Both Pender and Schoonover pointed out that as the company grows, so too does the Vintech family of employees, and the company aims to not only find local people looking to join that family, but retain them as well. “We’re in need of people, and we would train, and there are definitely ways to move up and grow with the company. We have many employees that started out entry level,” said Schoonover. According to Pender, that growth is leading to more opportunities for new employees and for current employees to grow alongside the company. “We’re doing more and more, and we have the whole gamut of projects going and we’re always up for a challenge,” said Pender. “We don’t just say it, either. It’s especially true here, we like to keep people around.”

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