Knox, Ind. – The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) is proud to recognize a company that embodies the local entrepreneurial spirit with the prestigious Industry of the Year Award.
Hoosier Custom Plastics (HCP) was founded on March 1, 2004, by former employees of plastics product manufacturer Stelrema. Their first customer was their neighbor in the Knox Industrial Park, MPI. HCP’s founders chose their location due to the proximity to their inaugural client, and automotive products were their initial focus.
They soon branched out into manufacturing biodegradable golf tees and added golf bag tags to their product lineup. The EcoGolf and ProTag business split from HCP in 2021.
HCP serves several diverse industries, including the Department of Defense, automotive, trailer manufacturing, consumer product, industrial fluid power, and cannabis packaging. Owners Craig Dulworth and Mike Tetzloff’s local growth plans include expanding the company’s reach into other markets so they can remain resilient in the event of an economic downturn.
“Our board of directors chose Hoosier Custom Plastics as the 2022 Industry of the Year because they are a Starke County success story,” SCEDF Executive Director Lisa Dan said. “This is a homegrown company that continues to find innovative solutions to problems.”
HCP’s most popular consumer product is the Wall Nanny. It protects homeowners’ walls from damage when they are using safety pressure gates to keep babies and animals contained. That product was developed by a chiropractor in Wichita, Kansas, who had an initial goal of selling $40,000 worth of product annually. Wall Nanny sales now average $40,000 per month.
It is available at Walmart and on Amazon.com and received more than 1,000 5-Star Reviews. The Wall Nanny also received a Baby Independent Innovation Award in 2021. Wall Nanny was among 1,500 nominations from around the world and won Accessory Product of the Year. It is available at retailers in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
HCP also helped to develop the CAT Strap Military Torniquet. CAT, which is short for Combat Application Torniquet, is standard issue gear for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. It was introduced by the U.S. Army in 2005. HCP worked with the CAT Strap team to make the design manufacturable. The initial product failed final testing, but HCP was able to correct the problem in less than 24 hours. The product developer returned to the Pentagon 72 hours after the failure with corrected parts, and the Department of Defense signed a contract on the spot.
Initially the device was sold exclusively to military personnel. The one-handed torniquet has decreased the mortality rate due to extreme exsanguination by 85-percent. Major Ed Pulido survived an improvised explosive device attack in Iraq using the CAT Strap and is a driving force behind the nonprofit organization Folds of Honor. It provides scholarships to offspring of military members who were either killed in action or disabled in combat since September 11, 2001. Thanks to the relationship between Major Ed and HCP, EcoGolf became a major Folds of Honor sponsor and has contributed to the organization since 2007.
HCP’s business has faced supply chain issues and economic fluctuations due to COVID-19, not the least of which is a lack of smart chip availability. Labor shortages are also an issue, in part due to the limited number of young people entering the manufacturing field. Currently HCP has 33 associates spread out over three shifts.
SCEDF honored Hoosier Custom Plastics at their 2022 Prospectus and Achievement Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 6.
Date Published: 2022-10-06 14:50:00