The industry's best Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference for processors!

October 20-22, 2020 | Indianapolis Downtown Marriott | Indianapolis, IN

Thank you for attending the 2019 Conference!

Save the date for 2020 - October 20-22, in Indianapolis, IN at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott.


The goal of the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference is to help plastics companies improve their operations and tactics in order to impact bottom-line profits. This year’s Benchmarking and Best Practices conference will address leadership, operational best practices, the latest financial benchmarks, sales and marketing, and the impact of employees on the bottom-line and much more.

With over 650 plastics professionals expected to meet in Indianapolis, IN, on October 2-4, the Conference staff has created a schedule packed with best practices, leading-edge benchmarks, expert presentations and the best networking opportunities in the industry.







$792 (Early Bird Rate)
$850 after August 2nd

Online registration is now closed

Lunch and Learn: $55


$998 (Early Bird Rate) 
$1060 after August 2nd

Online registration is now closed

Lunch and Learn $55

*Industry Service Providers (Or SPONSORS)

If you are a company that provides a service to the plastics industry please contact Letha Keslar about attending this event. You can reach Letha at  317-913-2440  or


$685 (per attendee, Early Bird rate)
$750 (per attendee after August 2nd)

NON-MAPP MEMBERS (Processors Only):
$900 (per attendee, Early Bird rate)
$900 (per attendee after August 2nd)

Online registration is now closed


  • Lunch on Thursday 
  • Breakfast for two days and all Coffee breaks.
  • Invitation to the Pre-Conference reception on Wednesday, October 2, including beverages and hors d’ oeuvres.
  • Free access to the annual "Member's Choice" Networking Reception on Thursday evening!
  • Access to the best networking opportunities in the plastics industry. 

*Industry Service Providers

If you are a company that provides a service to the plastics industry please contact Letha Keslar to discuss attending this event. You can reach Letha at  317-913-2440  or


The 2019 Benchmarking Conference is a tremendous opportunity for team building, so if your company wants to bring more than 4 people we are offering a group discount. See above.

*Cancellations received by September 13, 2019 will receive a refund minus a $90 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations received after September 13, 2019 are non-refundable (substitutions are allowed). No refunds for conference day no-shows.


Wednesday, October 2nd

 Pre-Con Programming Begins (All times in EDT)

1:00 PM         Sponsors/Exhibitors Move-In

5:30 PM          Registration

                       Sponsored by 

5:30 PM           Industry Welcome Reception

                        Sponsored by 

Thursday, October 3rd

7:00 AM            Registration Opens

                          Sponsored by 

7:00 AM            Breakfast  With Omelette Station (Omelette Station will begin at 6:45 AM)

                          Sponsored by 

7:55 AM            The Power of Self-Doubt Troy NixExecutive Director

Have you ever doubted yourself? Have you ever questioned your ability to accomplish a specific goal or task? Have you ever failed and said, “I knew I couldn’t do it?” If so, you share a common bond with about 99 percent of humanity. What many don’t realize, however, is that confidence and an individual’s belief system have a direct correlation to end results, which in turn directly influence behavior and actions. During this opening address, Troy Nix reveals how the pain of failure during a recent life event allowed him to experience the powerful impact of the mind’s focus.

8:30 AM            Keynote: 4 Disciplines of Execution Chris McChesney, Franklin Covey

Do you remember the last major initiative you watched die in your organization? Did it go down with a loud crash, or was it slowly and quietly suffocated by other competing priorities? Known for his high-energy, engaging message, Chris McChesney will guide attendees on how to implement the Four Disciplines of Execution to power major initiatives so that they thrive rather than fail. Using his vast experience gained by working alongside major corporations such as MARRIOTT International, Kroger, Coca Cola, Comcast, Lockheed Martin and others, McChesney will demonstrate how the four disciplines can be used to manage the whirlwind of urgent, day-to-day activities without devouring the time needed to successfully execute tomorrow’s major initiatives.

Sponsored by 

9:35 AM       Networking Break           

10:15 AM                 2019 BC LAB Session One

The BC LABS are comprised of a series of parallel presentation sessions suggested for each functional area below. Each BC LAB is designed to equip attendees with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve the mission-critical priorities of today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Below are the learning tracks for the 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference LABS:

• Executive Stakeholders/Owners

• Leadership

• Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs)

• Human Resources/Safety

• Sales & Marketing

• Operations/Engineering

• CFOs/Finance/IT

Since the theory is different than practical implementation, this year’s BC LABS will be presented by processors. Attendees will learn from their peers.

All in the Family: Transitioning from Generation to Generation        

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners

Bob Janeczko and Josh Janeczko, Innovative Injection Technologies

Family-owned businesses are considered the backbone of the American economy.  However, despite the job security and family legacy potential, the importance of careful succession planning is often overlooked. Indeed, only about 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation, according to the Family Business Institute. While transitioning ownership and control can be difficult for any business owner, the leaders of family businesses are typically faced with the added challenge of managing family relationships while preserving the culture and standards they have worked hard to establish. This breakout session features a family business which has successfully passed the reins over to the second generation. This session will examine a few key considerations to help successfully navigate the transition while maintaining family harmony.

Building the Learning Organization of Infinite Learners and Collective Learners 

BC LABS: Leadership

David Kachoui and Josh Romero, Natech Plastics, Inc.

Companies tend to develop organizational strategies that fall into one of two categories: the positioning strategy of a sustainable competitive advantage or the capability strategy of organizational learning. These embody two different, not necessarily mutually exclusive, approaches to strategy. This session will share the framework for managers to design learning programs that identify micro-skills and learning activities. Attendees will learn the levels of coachability and how to appropriately adjust their coaching methods to guide the novice to master level. The session will cover how to facilitate group discussions, how to manage group dynamics and how to make group decisions to improve and tap into the collective wisdom of the group.

Effective Project Management           

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Sales & Marketing; Operations/Engineering

Richard Broo, True North PMP Consulting, Inc.

According to a Gallup Poll, only 2.5 percent of companies successfully complete 100 percent of their projects. This means that companies are consistently losing time and money on each project that is not completed on time. During this session, attendees will learn key skills and ideas necessary for effective project management – and leave with the new ideas on how to make sure their projects are completed 100 percent and on-time. From company leadership and goals to metric-driven results and clear project management plans, actionable items and resources will be delivered during this unique breakout.

Evaluate Your Account Base / Manage Underperforming Customers

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Sales & Marketing

Tom Wood, E-S Plastic Products, LLC

Underperforming accounts can strain a company’s resources, create unnecessary complexity and disrupt workflows. Often, upon final analysis, they are not profitable. There are three directions to take this customer relationship:  Grow the business, increase operating margins or transition the tools. Tom Wood will examine effective strategies on increasing business with current customers, implementing price increases and developing a procedure for professionally exiting businesses that do not match a company’s goals and objectives. This is a practical guide and “how-to” view into one company’s five-year journey. Attendees will walk through each step of the process reviewing case studies, lessons learned and final results.  Attendees will be invited to participate in the discussion by sharing personal input and experience.

Finding Operators: Thinking Outside the Box       

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety

James Brown, Augustine Plastics, Inc. and Kenton Williams, Royer Corp

Finding employees is hard and gets harder all the time, especially when searching for a particular existing knowledge base. During this session, attendees will learn the benefit of removing the concept of the long-standing, pre-hire knowledge base from their employment prerequisites. From accessing overlooked and underserved populations to focusing on finding success in training-up, attendees will leave this session with new ideas on how to find the labor everyone is struggling to hire.

Healthcare Solution- from Theory to Reality

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety

Will Hinshaw, Captive Solutions & Options

Our members-only healthcare solution is focused on creating long-term insulation from the annual price escalation that typically accompanies the renewal process. Through member aggregation, our group represents upwards of 550 member companies, with more than 100,000 employee lives, which creates significant leverage/purchasing power. In this session, attendees will learn how to leverage and funding through a health benefit captive can provide security and can make premium dollars work for you instead of the insurance companies!

No Jerks. No Politics: Why Leading With Soft Skills Matters Now More Than Ever

BC LABS: Leadership

Edel Blanks, Intralox

This session, led by Intralox President and CEO Edel Blanks, will focus on creating and nurturing a culture that prioritizes soft values in the workplace. Blanks will share some lessons learned while at the helm of a global conveyance company and how the no jerks policy at Intralox fuels teamwork and productivity. He will challenge participants to focus on the values no one is talking about: gratitude, pride in your work, personal responsibility, handling adversity and treating people with respect. Together attendees will explore how a relentless focus on these soft values can have a positive impact on employees, your bottom line and the free enterprise system.

Preparing for the Future – Talent, Sales, and Technology         

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety; Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Laurie Harbour, Harbour Results, Inc.

Manufacturing is in the midst of a marketplace evolution. From the growth of automated and intelligent technology, to new consumer demands, to the next generation workforce, the industry faces many challenges that will require a change in the way it does business. During her presentation, Laurie Harbour will provide a look at how plastics processors are performing across the region and demonstrate with data that proves that most shops are not prepared for the future, particularly as it relates to the next generation workforce. Best practices and insights that are critical to delivering future business success - specifically in the area of talent, sales and technology - will be provided.

Sales Navigator: The Next Level of B2B Selling    

BC LABS: Sales & Marketing

Brad Krupa, Thogus Products Company

If one were to ask a typical B2B sales rep which social network they find most valuable, most would pretty quickly answer with “LinkedIn.” Social selling has become a key focus at many organizations, with more than a few sales experts beating the drum. LinkedIn Sales Navigator taps into the power of LinkedIn's 630M+ member network to help professionals find and build relationships with prospects and customers through modern selling. It simplifies the process of finding, contacting and staying up-to-date with prospects, referrals and customers. Rather than spending hours manually tracking prospect activity on the platform, you can get instant insights. That means more time for high-value activities like calling people or giving demos. During this session, a veteran of the tool will provide tips that will help take your social selling game to the next level.

Straight Talk from the Trenches: What HR Wants Execs to Know About Functioning in a Tight Labor Market         

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety

Linda Wilkins, Ferriot, Inc

The sands of the labor market shift underfoot feet every day. The industry’s HR professionals have a lot to share with leaders and executives about this constantly moving landscape. Hear what they wish processors understood about these challenges, and how HR teams can innovate for success.

Strategies to Improve Your RFQ Process    

BC LABS: Sales & Marketing

Keith Bradt, Crescent Industries and Sanjay Patel, Midwest Molding Inc.

Critical to each program, an organization’s RFQ process can make or break customer acquisition and company growth. During this session, Keith Bradt and Sanjay Patel will describe the tools and strategies in relation to their respective organizations’ RFQ process. From digital automation and full team communications to evaluating opportunities and negotiations, each will share the how-to behind their quoting process. Participants in this session will leave with implementable ideas of how to improve their own RFQ process.

The CEO/CFO Relationship with the Owner/Private Equity: Building a Lasting Partnership and Creating Value          

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); CFOs/Finance/IT

Michael Molling and Derrill Rice, Plastic Components, Inc.

This CEO/CFO relationship with the Owner/Private Equity session will explore how to build a lasting partnership and value topics will include transparency, communication, when and when not to engage, organic versus inorganic growth, board structure, and more.

Too Big to Fail, Too Small to Worry: A Look at Cybersecurity and Privacy Strategies

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety; CFOs/Finance/IT

Timothy Grace, Mueller Prost PC

Organizational executives have many concerns, which is why cybersecurity initiatives are often a low priority until something happens. Can a large business employ a too-big-to-fail strategy? Can a small business employ a too-small-to-worry strategy? This session will examine the effects of a non-optimal strategy for both small and large companies on their client base, along with industry standards, regulatory compliance, the potential of negative press and the impact on financial data. The session will cover real-life examples of the effect of cybersecurity breaches on both large and small business, why everybody should be working proactively to protect the organizations and will wrap up with strategies of how to protect an organization, including outlining steps to building a lasting cybersecurity strategy for breach prevention.  

Transitioning to a Data-Driven Organization         

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Matt Fish, Vital Plastics Inc.

Big data has become a buzzword in business over the past several years. As it becomes easier and cheaper for plastics processors to capture and retain transactional and descriptive data, they are faced with the overwhelming challenge of determining how to use this data. In this session, attendees will learn how Vital Plastics, a 2018 Plastics News Processor of the Year Finalist, has transitioned from an organization reliant mostly on intuition to an organization that is leveraging large amounts of data to uncover unknown correlations and hidden patterns that drive organizational change and improve profitability.

Turning the Lights Off: Best Practices in Running a Lights Out Facility        

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Operations/Engineering

Chad Dielschneider, Bruin Manufacturing and Stu Kaplan, Makuta Technics

Lights out manufacturing is the process where factories run fully autonomously without any human intervention. It is proven to significantly boost productivity, but humans are still needed. The human capital shift goes from machine operators to highly-skilled employees that create and oversee the automation. The number of facilities implementing lights-out manufacturing is continuing to grow, driven by economics and continuously improved technologies. During this session, learn how two members are operating the facility of the future while maintaining company culture and enhancing their human capital.

  11:15 AM                 2019 BC LAB Session Two

A Breakdown of the North America Plastics Industry Study

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Greg Alonso and Tim Erdmann, Plante Moran

Understand new trends in plastic processing with this presentation featuring new data from the North American Plastics Industry Study. Attendees will see how the industry is performing and assess how their companies stack up to the competition. Greg and Tim will highlight highly successful companies and the characteristics that distinguish those companies’ performance from the rest of the industry. They’ll also explore the key metrics associated with serving specific industries. 

A Playbook for Selling Your Business: How to Be Ready When the Time Comes to Sell

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners

Mike Benson, Stout and Mike Devereux, Mueller Prost PC

Selling a business is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience and can also be complex and overwhelming. It can take months or even years to execute and involves a diverse team of experts including the company’s executive team, financial advisor, investment banker, accountant and legal counsel. Fortunately, there’s a defined and proven process executives can follow with key milestones and timelines.  Whether thinking short, medium or long-term, understanding essential steps and best practices can help professionals at this stage to plan, prepare and successfully execute the process of a sale transaction.

Cobots: Your Next Colleague   

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety; Operations/Engineering

Jason Glanzer, Evco Plastics and Michael Engler, Keter 

Every manufacturing facility has its share of tasks that, while being 100% necessary, are nonetheless mundane. That tediousness can generate high turnover, more and more companies are investing in automation, decreasing the need to ask people to do menial, and at times potentially dangerous, work. With that said, cobots can be viewed on a plant floor with suspicion—if a person can be replaced in one job by automation, couldn’t robots adapt to replace them in all roles? However, the promise of cobots can present a less threatening, more cooperative future. During this presentation, two companies employing cobots (and redeploying their employees for more sophisticated jobs) will share their best practices in integrating these complex machines to work hand-in-hand with their human colleague for a more efficient future.

Guide to Prepare for, React to and Address Workplace Violence Events    

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety; Operations/Engineering

Scott Lowry, Three60 Response LLC

Workplace violence events are on the minds of many and how companies prepare for and respond to this type of incident could mean the difference between life and death for employees. This session will discuss considerations when planning and preparing, along with what response actions should be taken. It will also share what collaboration with Emergency Responders will look like during the incident, along with an overview of some post-incident considerations.   

Leadership Defined: Be Someone Worth Following  

BC LABS: Leadership

Alex Hoffer, Hoffer Plastics Corporation and Tom Nagler, Natech Plastics Inc.

Most leaders want to be the rock on which employees can depend. However, from the minute the door opens on the day, stress and uncertainty - par for the course in manufacturing - flood the system. These environmental triggers cause emotional and physical responses for which even the finest Ivy League business school education can’t prepare leaders. Leadership means being someone worth following; having enough emotional, mental and physical energy to give your team an authenticity that can only come from within. During this session, attendees will hear from two company CEOs on how they work to be the leaders their teams need – from emotional leadership to personal perseverance – and the tools they use.

Learn and Earn: How to Create Opportunities and Attract & Create a Future Talented Workforce

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety

Tim Wurhman, Innovative Components, Inc

It’s no secret that, especially in the manufacturing sector, many workforce shortages exist for technical skills. Innovative Components, Inc. saw this issue coming five years ago and decided to take action. In this session, Tim Wurhman will discuss how to connect with the right resources, create an effective presentation (geared toward the next generation of manufacturing leaders) and keep the talent pipeline full.

Recruiting and Retention: A Common Sense Approach 

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety

Carl Bartle, Wisconsin Plastics, Inc., Rhonda Griffin, Centro, Inc., and Shannon Lanquist, Wisconsin Plastics, Inc.

The search for talent is a never-ending challenge, especially in an environment where competition for human capital is high. Automation helps reduce requirements for people, but many jobs still require human dexterity, ingenuity and instinct which can’t be easily or affordably programmed. Learn from two member companies who learned the hard way that not everyone has the talent or culture to work for them and that good employees need time to grow. They now approach hiring like an athletic team approaches recruiting. During this presentation, attendees will learn why they should hire based on potential, onboard more people than needed, have tryouts, make cuts as necessary and continue to build the team by rewarding those that make the plays and developing those who desire to grow.

Stress Testing Your Company for Future Resilience

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs)

Norm Forest, Dymotek, Chip Michaelsen, ODM Tool & Manufacturing Co., and Scott Walton, Harbour Results

In today’s business environment, a company needs to be prepared for anything. With the economic and political headwinds facing the manufacturing industry, it is important to “stress test” companies to understand the impact of losing its largest customer. More importantly, leadership must create a plan to survive a significant business loss. During this panel, attendees will hear how two manufacturers survived and benefited from being prepared for substantial revenue reduction and their stress test. Both Norm Forest and Chip Michaelsen will share their real-world experiences. Additionally, Scott Walton will provide stress test best practices and information that can be critical to manufacturing future success.

The Training Matrix That Changed Our Business  

BC LABS: Human Resources/Safety; Operations/Engineering

Diane Contri, Currier Plastics Inc. and Adam Wachter, Engineered Profiles LLC

A Training Matrix is often referred to as the bread and butter for managers. While Excel spreadsheets have sufficed, leaders are looking for stronger solutions that can be utilized to track training and skill levels within an organization. The Training Matrix use is limitless, from supporting gap analysis and actual knowledge levels to tracking competency levels.  Oftentimes, it is used as a visual management tool and provides individual skill strength and weaknesses within a department at-a-glance. Matrixes are utilized to identify champions or knowledge centers that can help highlight over-reliance on certain individuals.  Both presenters have created their own company-wide training matrices, which engage all employees and have cultivated the company-wide learning culture. These members will impart their lessons learned and share what they are doing now to assess how training are impacting the employee.

Tips for Successful (On-Time and Under-Budget) Program Launch    

BC LABS: Sales & Marketing; Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Kyle Bender, Falcon Plastics Inc and Richard Hines, Globaltech Plastics LLC

Launching a program, no matter the industry, is a difficult feat. There are many variables that go into a program launch and many things that need go right, so it’s critical for the various parties involved to collaborate and work together. Because, there are protocols or processes that allow for a program to launch, the issue often lies with how efficiently the program is launched. During this session, two member companies will share their lessons learned, along with the methods and processes they have implemented that lead to more successful program launches!

True Costs: The Cost Impact of Development Activities Prior to Production Launch

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

John Berg, Sussex IM, Inc.

Once the production mold has been built and has passed its functional sample, molders enter into “a difficult to accurately forecast” area – the qualification of the injection mold and the definition of the production process. Because this phase can include any and everything from steel adjustments, hot system adjustments, metrology events, material trials, ancillary equipment integration and more, how do best-in-class companies successfully budget and invoice these costs not defined during the quote? Attendees will be asked to engage in a discussion based on several scenarios of production projects requiring additional and unplanned resources.

We’re Over the Straws: Marketing Strategies to Brand your Company as Environmentally Responsible

BC LABS: Human Resources/Safety; Sales & Marketing

Teresa Schell, Vive LLC.

Learn the best steps to tackle negative plastic perceptions through your company’s marketing voice. Discover strategies that positively promote the plastics industry with actionable marketing and public relations tactics. Make pro-plastics a part of your company culture.



Networking Lunch Take a break from the educational sessions to catch up with your peers and meet new benchmarking conference attendees.


Lunch and Learn with Chris McChesney (Ticketed event) Join Keynote Chris McChesney for a lunchtime deep dive on the Four Disciplines of Execution, where he will engage participants in discussions surrounding their own challenges to discover ideas that drive successful outcomes. This is a ticket-only event.

Lunch Sponsored by 

1:30 PM        Peer-to-Peer Exchanges

This session is back by popular demand! Growing peer-to-peer networks is a primary component of the Benchmarking Conference. Attendees will have the chance to interact with peer groups during this session on topics that are unique to their job functions in their specific groups. Driven by past attendee feedback, these focused sessions have been highly requested and are expected to be one of the biggest hits of this year’s conference. They are a perfect way for professionals to find new ideas, expand their professional networks and explore new methods of improvement.

• Executive Stakeholders/Owners                                                     

• Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs)                                            

• Human Resources/Safety                                                          

• Sales & Marketing                                                                           

• Operations/Engineering                                                                    

• CFOs/Finance/IT   

2:45 PM                    Networking Break                                               

 3:05 PM                    Annual Meetings


3:25 PM         Customer Conversations that Win! Applying Decision Science to Winning, Keeping and Growing more Customers, Tim Riesterer, Corporate Visions

When prospects and customers see a company as more or less the same as all of its competitors, how does it win more business and keep that business from being poached by someone else? The answer is: tell a better story. In fact, customer conversations are fast becoming the last bastion of competitive differentiation. In this session, attendees will apply decision science to winning, keeping and growing more customers. Join Tim Riesterer, leading researcher, author and consultant to some of the best B2B brands for a fresh, energetic keynote, based on original concepts in decision-making science. Riesterer will demonstrate how to disrupt and differentiate solutions to win more competitive business, while also helping companies defend and reinforce incumbent advantages when looking to renew and expand existing customers. This presentation will include tested, proven frameworks for developing and delivering more powerful messaging. Learn how to make sure you and your company articulate value in a way that gets prospects to choose you and customers to stay.

Sponsored by

4:20 PM             Why Culture Building Beats Team Building  Kirk Weisler, Team Dynamics

Culture-building beats team-building every time. Team-building is going to the gym once a year. Culture-building is going to the gym every day for a five-to-ten minute intense workout that focuses on building relationships, trust, clarity of vision and purpose. Through personal life stories and years of executive coaching the best and brightest teams from around the world, Kirk Weisler leads his audience on a journey of building a more engaged and positive culture.

Sponsored by 

5:20 PM             Members’ Choice Reception

Sponsored by 

Bourbon Tasting sponsored by


                                                                                                                                    Friday, October 4th

7:00 AM            Breakfast

                          Sponsored by 

8:00 AM            It's Your Safety, Don't Give It Away         

Kina Hart

Hear firsthand the importance of safety through Kina Hart’s story about the tragic loss of her left arm in a conveyor belt accident. She will describe how a lack of knowledge and training contributed to the day that forever changed her life. Driving home that your last line of defense is safety first, Hart encourages active participation in safety. She will discuss the effect injuries have on coworkers, family and friends. Hart provides a message that gives attendees what they need to be present, aware and safe.

9:05 AM       2019 BC LAB Session Three

A Breakdown of the North America Plastics Industry Study

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Greg Alonso and Tim Erdmann, Plante Moran

Understand new trends in plastic processing with this presentation featuring new data from the North American Plastics Industry Study. Attendees will see how the industry is performing and assess how their companies stack up to the competition. Greg and Tim will highlight highly successful companies and the characteristics that distinguish those companies’ performance from the rest of the industry. They’ll also explore the key metrics associated with serving specific industries. 

A Playbook for Selling Your Business: How to Be Ready When the Time Comes to Sell

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners

Mike Benson, Stout and Mike Devereux, Mueller Prost PC

Selling a business is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience and can also be complex and overwhelming. It can take months or even years to execute and involves a diverse team of experts including the company’s executive team, financial advisor, investment banker, accountant and legal counsel. Fortunately, there’s a defined and proven process executives can follow with key milestones and timelines.  Whether thinking short, medium or long-term, understanding essential steps and best practices can help professionals at this stage to plan, prepare and successfully execute the process of a sale transaction.

Developing Your Sales Strategy and the Marketing Plan to Support It        

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Sales & Marketing

Gary DeVries, Plastic Components, Inc. and Shelly Otenbaker, WayPoint Marketing Communications

What are the steps to take when developing a sales strategy?  What should the marketing plan be to support it? Sales strategy and the marketing plan go hand-in-hand. It is important to have a detailed process for both, as only two percent of sales are made on the first contact, while 80 percent of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth outreach. From the changing buying environment to execute a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy, today’s manufacturers are facing new challenges when it comes to sales and marketing. During this presentation, two member companies will share proven best practices and tools to achieve sales and marketing success and make the best first (or 12th) impression!

How to Survive an OSHA Inspection 

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety; Operations/Engineering

Chris Whitehorne, U.S. COMPLIANCE

This session will provide practical tips on handling the OSHA inspection process. Attendees will learn about the types of inspections, the types of violations and fines, what records to show and employer and employee rights during an inspection.

Healthcare Solution: from Theory to Reality                     

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety

Will Hinshaw, Captive Solutions & Options

Our members-only healthcare solution is focused on creating long-term insulation from the annual price escalation that typically accompanies the renewal process. Through member aggregation, our group represents upwards of 550 member companies, with more than 100,000 employee lives, which creates significant leverage/purchasing power. In this session, attendees will learn how to leverage and funding through a health benefit captive can provide security and can make premium dollars work for you instead of the insurance companies!

Preparing for the Future – Talent, Sales, and Technology

BC LABS: Executive Stakeholders/Owners; Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Human Resources/Safety; Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Laurie Harbour, Harbour Results, Inc.

Manufacturing is in the midst of a marketplace evolution. From the growth of automated and intelligent technology to new consumer demands, to the next generation workforce, the industry faces many challenges that will require a change in the way it does business. During her presentation, Laurie Harbour will provide a look at how plastics processors are performing across the region and demonstrate with data that proves that most shops are not prepared for the future, particularly as it relates to the next generation workforce. Best practices and insights that are critical to delivering future business success - specifically in the area of talent, sales and technology - will be provided.

Social Media: How Do You Utilize It In Your Marketing Plan? 

BC LABS: Sales & Marketing

Karissa Kopecky, Falcon Plastics Inc. and Debra Salorina, Polymer Molding Inc.

Oftentimes, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the concept of the best way a company should use social media. Many company executives do not even know where to start. “Which platform should we use?  How to establish a presence? How do I go about tweeting?” Karissa Kopecky and Debra Salorina will answer these questions and share how their social media strategy helped their brands tackle goals with purpose.  They will break down social media marketing into key steps to help companies identify goals, engage audiences and optimize results.

The Lean Journey: Impacting Profits, Process, and People       

BC LABS: Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs); Operations/Engineering; CFOs/Finance/IT

Tim Bayer, Hansen Plastics Corporation, and Don Williams & Brian Zutman, PTA Plastics

Every business has processes and every business process generates waste. Some of this waste is necessary – like processing payroll. Much of it is unnecessary, like looking for a tool you can’t find because it was returned to the wrong place. The lean philosophy can transform nearly every business, from small to large. Using lean techniques, any group of employees can identify waste and figure out how to eliminate or minimize it. However, in many companies, lean management practices run into an insuperable obstacle. It’s imposed from the top down. This approach does not help people understand the economics of the business and it doesn’t always give them a share of the improvements. Employees’ natural reaction often is, “why should I care? What’s in it for me?” Worse still, the efficiencies coming from lean management are often seen as a threat to employees’ job security. During this presentation, two member companies will share how their lean journeys have impacted not only profits but their cultures.

10:05 AM     Networking Break                                 

10:30 AM     Innovation Awards

10:50 AM     The Champion’s Code: Building Relationships through Life Lessons of Integrity and Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World    

Ross Bernstein        

This session covers the DNA of what makes champions in sports so unique and how that relates to business. Ross’ discussion is based on a series of books he wrote in which he was able to interview more than 1,000 professional athletes and coaches that all had one thing in common — they were all members of championship teams. In his research, he concluded that the same metrics and characteristics that were common among champions in sports were also common among peak performers in the business. There are reasons certain teams win consistently, whereas others don't ... and Bernstein explains why.

11:50 AM                 What’s Next?        

Troy Nix, Executive Director

Don’t miss this incredible review of lessons learned from the Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference 2019. Nix will share several take-aways that attendees gained from the conference. The success of the conference is not in the number of attendees or the quality of the speakers, but in the action plan that is created by attendees when they gain take-aways to improve their operations.

12:00 PM          Conference Adjourned 


The Conference team is pleased to welcome the following speakers to the Conference stage:

Troy Nix, Executive Director
Troy Nix serves as the Master of Ceremonies for the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference. Known for his spirit, enthusiasm, and belief in American manufacturing, Nix will deliver an opening address that will focus on lessons in leadership and the importance of becoming more in tune with one’s inner self. Professionals over the last decade who have heard Nix deliver his opening address know that the first 30 minutes of the conference will spark emotion in each attendee’s inner core. This year’s message will focus on the tapping into that internal fuel source to inspire, motivate and overcome obstacles encountered every day. Nix’s tag line “America Is What America Makes” is an essential ideal that motivates those attending the conference to strive for excellence.

Chris McChesney, Franklin Covey
Chris McChesney is the co-author of the best-selling book in the world on strategy execution titled, “The 4 Disciplines of Execution.” McChesney has presented on some of the biggest stages in the world, including at the Global Leadership Summit, the World Business Forum at the Lincoln Center in New York City and in Sydney, Milan, Mexico City, and Madrid. He has personally led many of the most noted implementations of the 4 Disciplines, including the State of Georgia, Marriott International, Kroger, Coca Cola, Comcast, FritoLay, Lockheed and more. Known for his high-energy and engaging message, McChesney has become one of the most requested speakers within the Franklin Covey Organization, helping leaders to focus and leverage organizational behavior to accomplish their wildly important goals despite a whirlwind of competing priorities.

Ross Bernstein
The best-selling author of nearly FIFTY sports books, Ross Bernstein is an award-winning peak performance business speaker who’s keynoted conferences on four continents for audiences as small as 10 and as large as 10,000. He’s spent the better part of the past 20 years studying the DNA of championship teams and his program, "The Champion’s Code: Building Relationships Through Life Lessons of Integrity and Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World,” not only illustrates what it takes to become the best of the best, it also explores the fine line between cheating and gamesmanship in sports as it relates to values and integrity in the workplace. There are reasons certain teams win consistently, whereas others come up short, and Ross explains why — in an engaging and visually entertaining style that’s designed to improve productivity, morale and bottom-line profitability. Ross and his books have been featured on thousands of television and radio programs over the years including CNN, ESPN, Fox News, and “CBS This Morning,” as well as in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. So, who are the champions on your team? (

Kirk Weisler, Team Dynamics
Kirk Weisler, president of Team Dynamics, has over 18 years of experience with executive coaching, speaking and research in building strong workplace cultures. His perspective is simple and unpretentious and his suggestions are applicable and undiluted. Referred to as the “People Whisperer” for his exceptional way of connecting with people, Weisler is known for his ability to share personal life stories, converse with his audience and offer coaching that builds trust and inspires action. His book “The Dog Poop Initiative” has sold over 80,000 copies and is used extensively by Boeing Aircraft in its Six Sigma Lean program and by managers in morning huddles or weekly kick-off meetings.


Tim Riesterer
Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations companies have with prospects and customers. He’s written three books on the subject—“Customer Message Management,” “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale,” and “The Three Value Conversations”— based on actual decision-making science research. Tim is a highly sought after researcher, author, speaker and consultant in the area of creating and delivering customer conversations that win!


Kina Hart
Kina Hart survived a horrific workplace accident that left her fighting for her life. Hart is now a safety speaker, inspiring and motivating audiences all over with her presentation "Safety Beyond PPE". Hart's message addresses how the importance of training, safety procedures, and a great attitude can keep you and the people around you safe. She started speaking in hopes that her work place injury could help others take safety more seriously, making a negative a positive by reaching as many people as possible in the area of safety. Not just at work, but in life.


2019 Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference

Speaker Bios

Greg Alonso, Principal, has 25 years of experience in the automotive industry. Early in his career, he held a number of finance positions with General Motors and Nissan, in roles supporting manufacturing, purchasing, and sales & marketing. At Nissan, he helped to create the analytical framework to design lease programs and optimize lease portfolio value, which was used by Nissan and Infiniti. Prior to joining Plante Moran, Alonso started his consulting career with Deloitte’s Automotive Practice where he worked on projects for Detroit’s three OEMs, including optimizing the order-to-delivery process, implementing a retail incentive system of record, and improving the regional finance department’s analytical process to resolve unexplained direct material variances. More recently, he has held senior manager roles within the automotive financial services and enterprise software industries. Alonso earned his Bachelor’s degree in General Management - Finance from Purdue University and his MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School.

Carl Bartle is a native of Seattle, WA. Bartle served 17 years in the military as a unit commander and artillery officer. After which, he pursued new challenges in the manufacturing world.  Since his career transition, Bartle has spent eight years in the injection molding community managing operations and facilities. He is currently the plant manager for Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. in Green Bay. Bartle strives to pair his military ingenuity, training, and leadership with modern manufacturing practices in order to increase morale and productivity and improve retention through employee engagement. 

Tim Bayer graduated from Illinois State with a concentration in plastics manufacturing. In 1996, Bayer began his career at HPC as a quality manager where he established the quality management system for certification. In 2007, he was promoted to vice president of operations while earning his MBA. In 2013, Bayer began his current role as president where his lean journey began. That journey has brought the consolidation of two facilities and cultures into one cohesive team. Additionally, Bayer has been married to Amy for over 20 years with two boys, Connor and Aidan.

Kyle Bender is the business development manager at Falcon Plastics. Bender has been working in the plastics industry for approximately seven years, all at Falcon Plastics. His previous roles include account management and project coordination. Bender’s primary role is to manage the transition of projects from the sales team to the production team. Bender is also an active member of the MAPP Young Professionals Network, and has just started his first year on the MAPP Young Professionals Board.

Michael D. Benson is a managing director and head of the Diversified Industrials practice within Stout’s Investment Banking Group, which specializes in the full spectrum of plastics and packaging processes, product categories, and end markets. He is responsible for the execution of investment banking transactions; which include mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and the private financing of senior debt, subordinated debt, and equity securities. Benson has been involved in the successful completion of transactions for companies ranging from privately held, middle market companies to large multi-national, publicly-traded corporations. Additionally, he has been involved in restructuring projects, ranging from providing strategic advisory services to under-performing companies to the sale and liquidation of companies both in and out of bankruptcy. In addition to his expertise in plastics and packaging, Benson also has significant experience working with industrials companies, including automobiles and their components, capital goods, and transportation companies.

John Berg has been involved with the plastics industry for over 20 years and has over 30 years of sales, marketing, business development and communications experience. Berg is currently the director of marketing for Sussex IM, a $70 million custom molding and contract manufacturing organization located in the Milwaukee area. Berg manages the company’s communication strategies, brand building, and web and social media channels. Berg is a board member of the SPE Mold Technologies Division and is the editor of their newsletter. Berg is also a board member of the In-Mold Decorating Association and chairs the manufacturing group for the Sussex Area Chamber of Commerce. Berg served several years on the Mold Making Technology Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board.

Edel Blanks is the president & CEO of Intralox. Joining Intralox in 1994, Blanks has held many leadership positions in operations, customer service, and sales, and finally becoming president of Intralox in 2004. Since that time, the company has expanded globally and invested heavily in food safety, parcel sortation, package handling, and other critical conveyance solutions. Blanks is passionate about the unique culture at Intralox—obsessive customer service, long-term innovation, a relentless focus on continuous improvement, treating each other with dignity and respect, and a deep belief in the potential of each individual. He is a champion of the no jerks policy at Intralox. An industry leader, he has served on numerous industry boards, and most recently, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA).

Keith Bradt is the sales manager at Crescent Industries. He has held several sales leadership roles with priorities for driving new business development, customer relationship management, and sales enablement strategies in order to increase sales success. Holding a BS in Mechanical Engineering with nearly 15 years of technical sales experience, combined with an MBA focused on sales and leadership strategies, Bradt continues to provide engineered solutions leveraging proven sales process methodologies and systems to drive sales force effectiveness and customer value.

Richard Broo, president and founder of True North PMP Consulting, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in the global composites and plastics industry. He has held leadership roles in sales, marketing, product management, project management, new product development, and commercialization & operations. Broo’s roles range from individual contributor up to president/CEO duties. His expertise is in the areas of thermoplastic and thermoset raw material technology, application development, processing, assembly, and secondary operation. Broo is characterized as a highly effective turn-around agent, problem solver, value creator, and visionary leader capable of optimizing revenue growth and profit by using strategic vision, cross-functional teamwork, process discipline, and voice-of-the-customer strategies. He is a proven team leader and player with knowledge of how to excel in highly challenging, growth-orientated environments.

James Brown has nearly 25 years of experience in investment banking, private equity, and corporate finance. Brown has led and directed 78 private equity and corporate finance transactions, totaling more than $1.2 billion in value. After closing out his last private equity investment firm, he transitioned into M&A advisory and business consulting, before settling into his current business venture. In 2015, Brown became a partner in Augustine Plastics, a small custom injection molding company, and Augustine Die & Mold, a small tool/die and precision machining company. As President/CEO, Brown partnered with the companies’ founder, Tony Augustine, to help lead growth and expansion of the companies. Since the companies have joined, they have experienced 400 percent collective growth.

Michael Devereux II, CPA, CMP, is a partner and director of manufacturing, distribution, and plastics industry services for Mueller Prost. Devereux’s primary focus is on tax incentives and succession planning for the plastics manufacturing sector. Mueller Prost’s Tax Incentives Group is nationally recognized and has assisted numerous plastics processors in capturing these benefits. Mueller Prost has been a MAPP Partner since 2006. It has supported the industry not only through the services it provides, but also through educational webinars and articles on a variety of topics, which appear in industry publications such as Plastics Business magazine.

Gary DeVries is the strategic marketing manager at Plastic Components, Inc. (PCI). Hired in 2018, DeVries is responsible for developing and leading the marketing direction of PCI. Previously, he was the global marketing manager for an international brazing and soldering manufacturer. He has a proven track record of directing and implementing complex marketing initiatives, driving strategic development, branding and market penetration of products. Not a typical marketer, DeVries uses tools from lean, continuous improvement and Solution Selling®.

Chad Dielschneider has been with Bruin Manufacturing, a custom plastic injection molding company based in Marshalltown, IA, since 1984. He holds the position of president/CEO since 2015. Coming up through the engineering ranks, he previously held the position of engineering manager and executive vice president. Dielschneider is a 35 year veteran of the injection molding, lights-out process and has been heavily involved in the continuation and improvement of the process that Bruin adopted in 1963.

Michael Engler, BU President for Keter North America, which leads the transformation for the NA market. Engler is former President of AMA Plastics, where he led the business transformation and subsequent sale of the company in April 2018.  Over the course of his 28-year career in injection molding, he’s held several key engineering and operational leadership roles. He holds 14 years of prior experience with TE Connectivity, in the automotive business unit with direct P&L responsibility for North American region. While at TE, he held the Global Engineering role for Molding & Stamping Center of Excellence over 42 integrated manufacturing facilities. Michael has earned his certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt for both Operations and Lean. Originally a Pennsylvania native, Engler is a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology where he earned his Bachelor’s in Plastics Manufacturing Technology. Michael has remained steadfast and focused on his passion for leading and developing high-performing teams that thrive in the injection molding industry. 

Tim Erdmann, Principal, has more than 25 years of manufacturing, operations and executive leadership experience. As a former Chief Operating Officer, Erdmann is experienced in developing and implementing manufacturing and operational strategies and tactics, instituting advanced cost management systems, redesigning workflows and value streams, and developing and leveraging high-performance teams to drive operational and financial performance. The companies he has served utilize core process technologies including batch processing, repetitive and process manufacturers in the nutritional, medical device, pharmaceutical, electronics, aerospace, automotive, and appliance industries. Erdmann’s blend of operational and financial expertise enables him to identify operational improvement strategies and tactics resulting in a profound financial impact.

Matt Fish joined Vital Plastics as CFO in 2017. Prior to joining Vital Plastics, Fish was an accounting professor at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire for six years. Fish taught accounting courses, including accounting information systems, and has written and published research articles on performance management systems in accounting. Prior to his academic career, Fish spent 10 years working for several manufacturing companies in roles spanning from financial business analyst to chief financial officer. Fish has helped install and implement several different ERP systems, and enjoys mining and using data to drive organizational change. Fish is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA), has an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA, and holds a doctoral degree from the University of St. Thomas.

Norm Forest brings over 35 years of manufacturing experience to his role as CEO for Dymotek. Starting as a machine operator at Milton Bradley, he developed his skills through on-the-job training, continuing education, and working closely with best-in-class industry leaders and executive coaches. His passion is business culture development and continuous improvement. Dymotek is a world-class, highly technical multi-material plastics manufacturer with multiple locations specializing in liquid silicone molding. One of only a few manufacturing companies in Connecticut, Dymotek has been named as one of the “Top Workplaces in CT” by The Hartford Courant/Fox 61 for the last five years. Nationally, Dymotek received the prestigious “President’s E Award” in Washington, DC for exporting products to over 35 countries. A national trade magazine, Plastic’s News, has recently awarded Dymotek “Excellence in Employee Relations,” “Best Places to Work,” (last four years) and “Processor of the Year.”

Jason Glanzer is a veteran automation engineer who has spent the better part of the last decade developing automation systems in highly dynamic manufacturing environments. In his current role at EVCO Plastics, Glanzer manages large scale automation projects for the custom injection molder, from concept development to start-up. Most recently, he has also lead EVCO's implementation of cobots to the plant floor, creating a more efficient and safe work environment. 

Tim Grace is the director of technology risk advisory services at Mueller Prost and has more than 30 years of business experience delivering solutions that drive business innovation, optimization, and change within world class organizations. Grace provides IT audit and compliance, technology risk assessment, business continuity management, cybersecurity, and CIO services. As a leader in the information technology industry, Tim has served as a chief information security / technology officer (CISO/CTO) and chief audit executive (CAE). He is a former president of the St. Louis ISACA chapter, serving on several local and international ISACA committees. Grace is an active participant in the St. Louis Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) chapter, serving on and chairing numerous committees. Grace has been involved with SecureWorld Expo, St. Louis since its inception, and has spoken nationally on topics like cyber security, internal audit, and compliance. Grace also serves on the Executive Advisory Board for the USO of Missouri.

Rhonda Griffin is the director of human resources for Centro, Inc., Having been with the company for over 25 years, she oversees the implementation of policies and procedures to ensure the execution of Centro’s initiatives. She currently leads other HR representatives managing recruitment, selection, training, benefits administration, facilitating questions, mediating, and providing links between leaders and associates. Previously, Griffin was the HR manager at National Propane Corporation, where she managed a staff of HR generalists to facilitate policies related to compensation, benefits, and payroll for 1,200 employees. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in HR Management.

Laurie Harbour is president and CEO of Harbour Results, Inc. She has over 25 years of experience in benchmarking, performing operational assessments and leading strate­gic planning sessions for companies across the globe. She works closely with small- to medium-sized automotive suppliers, manufacturing companies, mold builders and their supply chains to ultimately increase the health of the business. Over the past two years, Harbour has been in over 100 tool shops around the globe. By using very formal pro­cesses, she and her team use their in-depth expertise to identify strengths, weaknesses, performance gaps and business risks in order to develop strategies that lead to long-term sustainability. Her strategic transformation process has been used by manufactur­ers across the U.S. to achieve sustainable improvements, ultimately mitigating risk and improving long-term profitability.

Richard Hines has served as the business development operations coordinator for GlobalTech Polymer Solutions in Fife, WA since November 2018. GlobalTech Polymer is a custom plastic injection molding company with a focus on aerospace, transportation, and medical industry segments. Hines supports pipeline development, project estimating, and new program launches. He has developed written procedures and training documents, which formalize the company’s new product introduction practices and capitalize on functionalities baked into IQMS (like workflows and alerts). Hines has a background in marketing and journalism, and has been tapped to support GlobalTech’s branding and communications strategy; including advertising, web content, and social media outreach. Prior to joining GlobalTech, Hines served as an instructional designer for the mechatronics program at Clover Park Technical College.

Will Hinshaw, Captive Solutions and Options (Atlanta, GA), has dedicated over 25 years to leading organizations to profitable growth and superior service delivery in numerous industries, including healthcare delivery, pharmaceutical, and mergers & acquisitions. His experience includes being the operational lead to oversee the integration of five healthcare organizations to create one of the largest HMO’s in the country. He also acted as the organizational lead for the nation’s first Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) mixed funding delivery model. Hinshaw developed and executed a national pharmaceutical distribution process that resulted in $125M in savings over 12 months and he has led an innovative, leader-centric development program to drive operational improvements for Fortune 100 and private equity companies. Having served as an aviator and then in special operations, Hinshaw is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served in both an active duty and reserve capacity.

Alex Hoffer is the Vice President of Business Development at Hoffer Plastics Corporation, a leading global supplier of tight-tolerance, custom injection molded parts. Hoffer Plastics supplies customers from around the world, including several Fortune 500 companies. In 2018, Hoffer was named among the plastics industry’s top rising stars by Plastics News. He was also selected for Kane County Chronicle’s “Best Under 40” in 2017. As Vice President of Sales and Operations for Hoffer Plastics Corporation, Hoffer leads the company’s sales growth strategy across a diverse set of markets, including flexible and rigid packaging, automotive, appliance, and consumer industrial. Hoffer’s leadership in developing the Trust-T-Lok product line for spouted pouches has helped to supply over 1 billion Trust-T-Lok fitments to the international marketplace. Today, Hoffer’s focus is on launching a fully recyclable pouch and utilizing spouted pouch technology to address food waste and other human impact challenges.

Dr. Robert Janeczko is the current chairman emeritus and retired from i2-tech in September 2018. Janeczko spent 14 years with John Deere in quality and supply management. Prior to joining John Deere, Janeczko was an associate professor of Industrial Technology at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. He received his doctorate from the University of Missouri and master’s degree from Ball State University. Since 2010, he and his wife Charlotte have endowed the annual plastics engineering scholarship at their undergraduate alma mater, the University of Wisconsin - Stout. Janeczko also served on the board of directors of the Society of the Plastics Industry. i2-tech has been a proud member of MAPP since 2004. 

Josh Janeczko is president and CEO of Innovative Injection Technologies (i2-tech), located in West Des Moines, IA. i2-tech has been in business since 1960, and currently has 220 employees with $45 million in annual revenues. Upon earning his B. A. in Business Management from the University of Northern Iowa in 1998, Janeczko joined Morton Metalcraft Co. in Apex, NC, as a production supervisor. He then transferred to Morton’s facility in Peoria, IL, where he earned his Black Belt from Caterpillar’s Six Sigma program. In 2001, Janeczko was selected to lead Morton Metalcraft’s efforts in Six Sigma quality improvements. And in June of 2003, Josh and his father Robert purchased the assets of Morton Custom Plastics and began operating as i2-tech. Starting out, he was the manager of quality and Six Sigma, and later served as director of operations, then as the general manager. In 2015, Josh purchased the remaining shares of the company from his father.

David Kachoui joined Natech Plastics in 2010 to lead the Business Development team. He is in charge of building the company's long-term, profitable relationships through marketing and sales efforts and has written articles on quality management for Quality Progress Magazine. Kachoui holds the PMP certification from the Project Management Institute and achieved the Certified Quality Engineer certification from the American Society for Quality. He earned his MBA from Columbia University.

Stu Kaplan is the president of Makuta Technics, Inc., located in Shelbyville, IN. Founded by Kaplan in 1996, Makuta specializes in micro injection molding and micro mold tooling, producing millions of zero-defect micro plastics parts each month for customers in the medical, pharmaceutical, micro fluidics, and electronics & office automation industries. Makuta conducts 24-7 “lights out” manufacturing. And the traditional second and third shifts operate without people present in the factory. Kaplan has served as a board member and president of the Manufacturers Association of Plastic Processors (MAPP), as well as a member of the board of directors of the Medical Plastics Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. Kaplan’s involvement with the school systems of Shelby County, Indiana has been one of the keys to Makuta’s success.

Karissa Kopecky, the Marketing Manager at Falcon Plastics, is an expert in marketing and content creation, Kopecky is based at corporate headquarters in Brookings, South Dakota. She brings a bachelor of science in both marketing and graphic design, along with 16 years of marketing expertise to her position. Kopecky holds five years of marketing experience in the plastics industry, having honed her knowledge through leading brand identity, marketing, and promotions for companies like Harley-Davidson, Seattle Mariners, Raven Industries, and Scholastic Book Publishing. In 2019, Kopecky joined the team at Falcon Plastics to create and lead the company’s marketing initiatives, designing a cohesive strategy from the ground up.

Brad Krupa is a former banker turned Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Sales Manager at Thogus Products. Krupa began his career with various sales operations roles, including costing & quoting, PMO, and strategic accounts. As a result, he knows firsthand how bad sales activities can damage a company’s culture. Krupa believes experience, along with a core belief in using good data, is the foundation for his success. In addition to holding various positions in sales, Krupa’s past jobs also include racecar driver, ski instructor, and golf pro.

Shannon Lanquist currently serves as the HR manager for Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. Lanquist has over 23 years of HR experience within the manufacturing and transportation industries. Lanquist prides herself as being a leader with a talent for improving processes, identifying cost reductions, policy design, compliance, training, and benefit design. She is a trusted business partner with an open-door policy when it comes to employee relations, training, and support.  Lanquist works closely with the plant manager to increase employee morale, engagement, and retention. She received her B.A. degree from University of Green Bay and holds both PHR and SHRM-CP certifications. 

Scott Lowry is the president and founder of Three60 Response, LLC. Three60 Response provides groundbreaking software that gives both public and private sector clients access to create a community-wide Active Threat Plan. Lowry is a retired lieutenant from the Findlay Ohio Police Department. During his career, he had the opportunity to travel across the country and be trained by some the brightest minds in tactical world. For several years, Lowry has trained both emergency responders and civilians in responding to an active threat. Lowry is the lead trainer for two DHS-FEMA certified courses regarding crisis management in schools and speaks nationally regarding both the prevention and response to active threats. 

Michael Molling serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Plastic Components, Inc. (“PCI”) and as Chair of its Acquisition Steering Committee. Prior to joining PCI, Molling was a Vice President in the Investment Banking Group at Stout. While at Stout, he advised companies across the plastics industry, as well as other diversified manufacturers, distributors, and industrial service providers on mergers, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and capital raising assignments. Molling earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance from Calvin College.

Tom Nagler is the CEO of Natech Plastics. Nagler leads a team of creative engineers who own the process of getting products off the drawing board and onto the manufacturing floor. Everything that happens at Natech is geared to help its clients stop losing focus and instead ring the opening bell. As CEO, Nagler focuses on three main activities; coaching and guiding his team, listening to clients and planning and sourcing capital needs.

Shelly Otenbaker, with nearly 20 years of marketing communications experience under her belt, has the experience, knowledge, and determination to help companies develop and implement strategic communications strategies focused on improving their businesses bottom line. Five years ago, Otenbaker saw a need among entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized businesses for affordable, strategic marketing communications expertise and launched WayPoint Marketing Communications. Otenbaker earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northern Michigan University and her MBA from Michigan State University’s (MSU) Executive Program. Additionally, she is a member of the board of management at the Michigan Science Center.

Sanjay Patel is a partner and Director of Business Development at Midwest Molding, Inc. He has been part of MMI since its inception in 1996 and has 20+ years of experience in the automotive plastic industry, with a focus on tight tolerance, complex components, and assemblies with ling principles. Patel began his career in shipping, moved to purchasing and supply chain management, and has now been the head of Sales and Business Development since 2008. Patel has a Bachelors in Business Administration from Devry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

Derrill Rice is a seasoned executive and currently serves as president and CEO at Plastic Components, Inc. (PCI). Rice provides strategic leadership for PCI’s operations based in Germantown, WI, and focuses on adding manufacturing capacity and capabili­ties that support customers’ increasing needs for efficiently produced and complex plas­tic parts through both organic and inorganic growth. He holds an MBA from Clemson University and a BS in Business from Presbyterian College, graduating summa cum laude from both programs.

Joshua Romero manages product development for clients as Natech’s Senior Project Engineer. He facilitates general management training both internally and externally and previously served as the Mechanical Engineer for Unique Technical Services.  Romero is a serial entrepreneur who founded several design and production companies. He earned his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stony Brook University.

Teresa Schell graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to begin her professional business career as a manufacturer’s representative, selling and marketing mechanical components to OEM markets. In 2005, she advanced to Plastic Components, Inc. as the first marketing director for the company. Deploying best practice tools and marketing strategies awarded Plastic Components recognition in the industry, along with state-wide manufacturing awards; most honorably the 2008 Processor of the Year by PlasticsNews and 2009 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award. In December 2008, Schell co-founded Strategic Marketing Partners, a marketing consulting company for small to mid-sized manufacturers in North America. In December 2012, Schell acquired sole ownership and rebranded in 2014 to Vive. Schell has increased the impact of marketing for manufacturing companies by speaking at several industry conference events. She recently finished a board term position with the Wisconsin chapter of Women in Manufacturing and was honored with 2017 Inspirational Leader of the Year by TEC, a Vistage Company.

Adam Wachter, CFO of Engineered Profiles LLC, a profile extrusion company located in Columbus, OH, leads the company’s accounting, information technology, and sales support departments. Wachter began with the company in 2013 after working for nine years at KPMG LLP, where he was a senior manager in the firm’s audit practice. He is a certified public accountant and obtained a BS in Business Administration from Ohio University. Wachter served as president of the Ohio University School of Accountancy Advisory Council and currently serves as the Executive Committee Chair of the MAPP Young Professionals Network.

Scott Walton, COO at Harbour Results, Inc., has more than 25 years of experience in strategic planning, operations management, lean manufacturing, and supply chain management. He has assisted multi-national companies, government entities and business professionals worldwide. Prior to joining Harbour Results Inc., Walton was president of the automotive market segment for Nypro, Inc., a global leader in custom plastic injection molding. Walton holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University. His engineering degree is supplemented with extensive postgraduate courses and professional training, as well as two expatriate assignments with British and Europe operational responsibilities.

Chris Whitehorne is the director of health and safety at U.S. Compliance. U.S. Compliance is an environmental, health and safety firm with nearly 30 years of experience in the areas of worker safety and environmental compliance with clients throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. U.S Compliance is an expert in the area of OSHA regulations and local, state, and federal environmental, and EPA regulations. Their environmental, health, and safety services include regulatory training sessions, physical plant inspections, written program development along with environmental support in the areas of air and water quality, waste management, and other required reporting, licensing, and permitting for local, state, and federal EPA requirements.

Linda S. Wilkins, Esq., MSPOD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, started her career as a labor and employment attorney, exclusively representing management. In her legal practice, she counselled both public and private employers about legal compliance and the full range of human resource topics. She has been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources since 2005. In 2016, Wilkins earned an MBA in Positive Organizational Development and Change from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Wilkins has worked as an in-house HR professional in unionized environments since 2012. She is currently the human resources manager for Ferriot, Inc. in Akron, OH, and provides leadership development, coaching, and human resource consultation services to employers through her consulting firm, PositivelyHR.

Don Williams is the director of manufacturing at PTA Plastics, based primarily in Longmont, CO and complimented by another facility in Oxford, CT. Williams has over 40 years of experience in injection molding. Through his experience and leadership, he has improved processes in manufacturing, directed new automation development, and developed skilled talent for continued growth. He has provided guidance for continuous improvement through the team approach and commitment. After serving 22 years in the Colorado National Guard, Williams retired as chief warrant officer 3.

Kenton Williams is currently the general manager at Royer Corporation and has been with the company since October of 2017. Williams oversees commercial aspects of the business as well as operations. Before starting at Royer, Williams worked in sales for Advanced Composites, a resin supplier to the automotive industry, and also worked on Senator Todd Young's (IN) legislative team in Washington DC. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College and is a candidate for an MBA from the Williams College of Business at Xavier University. His father, Roger Williams, is the CEO and owner of Royer Corporation and former MAPP Board Member.

Tom Wood is the VP of sales and a shareholder at E-S Plastic Products, LLC. During his 30-plus year career in plastics, he has taken on the challenge to build or replace sales revenues in seven different scenarios. This experience led to having trust in the value of persistence, networking, and building strong relationships. Wood is passionate about formulating strategic plans for each business situation and opportunity. Wood’s background includes 10 years of working in a family-owned injection molding business and another 14 years partnering in a manufacturer’s rep business, which specialized in plastic processing, and included injection, thermoset, rotational, extrusion, vacuum forming, and blow molding. He most recently joined E-S Plastics in 2012 with an opportunity to be involved in a turnaround acquisition. Wood is a graduate from Indiana University School of Business.

Tim Wuhrman is an accomplished business leader, innovator, and sales manager at Innovative Components, a leader in plastic injection molded parts and quick-release hardware. Through his leadership, the company has had double-digit growth. He also helped lead the company through a new ERP implementation and is an integral part of many strategic decisions and planning that will help future company growth. As revenues and profit rise, Wuhrman continues to focus on growing the labor workforce to match these new demands by developing new and improved strategies to attract new workforce talent. These new strategies have helped Innovative Components position itself for future growth and keep the talent pipeline full of new employees.

Brian Zutman currently serves as the general manager for the Longmont division of PTA Plastics. Brian joined PTA in February of 2019 after spending 12 years in various engineering roles at Mountainside Medical and Tecomet, producing orthopedic, laparoscopic, navigated and robotic surgical components for many of the medical device industry’s leading companies.



Thank you to our Sponsors!  



This year's 2019 Benchmarking And Best Practices Conference will be held at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott.

Indianapolis is the premier convention and show city for major national and international events. Known for its cutting-edge amenities with the small town hospitality, Indianapolis offers culture, art, sports and more for the business conference attendee. 

The Benchmarking Conference will be held at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
350 West Maryland Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Address link

Click here to reserve your room for $200 a night plus tax:

In the event that the hotel block is sold out at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, please reach out for a stay at one of the other best-in-class Marriott hotels. All a short walk, via tunnel, to the Conference Hotel.

Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Indianapolis, Springhill Suites or Fairfield Inn (located at 601 W Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204)

For quick and easy reservations call 877-640-7666

Cancellation Policy Any reservation canceled within (24) hours of the arrival date, will be charged for one (1) night’s room and tax

No Show Policy If a guest does not show up to the hotel and check into their guestroom the day of their arrival as noted on the confirmed reservation, they forfeit their room for the remainder of the stay. The guest will be charged a No-Show fee equivalent to (1) night of room and tax. Based on the hotel’s availability, the hotel may reinstate a reservation the following day but this is not guaranteed.


Get to know the agenda and more with the Mobile App, sponsored by Routsis Training. Plan your day and network with fellow attendees before, during and after the Conference with the mobile app!  Download it in your phone's app store by searching for "Benchmarking Conference" Or click here for iphone or here for android.

Mobile app powered by: 

Relive the best moments from the 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference!
View the video here or click on the image below.

Conference session videos

Did you miss out on this year’s Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference or would you like to share with your team the informative or motivating presentations you saw? All programming in the main ballroom was recorded. To purchase your video copy of the 2019 Benchmarking Conference main stage presentations, please click here! 

Back To Top