Pennsylvania Family-owned Plastic Company Earns Recognition

Plastek Group, Erie
Plastek Group, Erie

Plastek Group is a world-class manufacturer of plastics packaging for the personal care, home care, food and beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. Headquartered in Erie, Pa., Plastek also has facilities in North Carolina, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Mexico offering industrial design, product and packaging development, mold design and injection, assembly, and decorating services. In January, the family-owned and operated company was one of four finalists for Plastic News’ Processor of the Year Award. To learn more about Plastek’s success in Pennsylvania, we spoke to Donald Prischak, vice president of sales and marketing at the Plastek Group.

Family Business Turned Success Story

Plastek Group got its start when my father, Joseph Prischak, started Triangle Tool Company in Erie in 1956. He started out just making molds and eventually moved into plastics in 1971, when he created Plastek. From there, Plastek bought Spectrum Molding and Engineering in 1983, which gave us a foothold in the health and beauty industry.

My brothers and I have also become a part of the Plastek family. We learned the business from the ground up, starting in manufacturing and eventually growing into leadership roles, which helped keep the business in the family. As I grew up, I always imagined being a part of the business, and I’m proud to see Plastek in second-generation Prischak ownership.

Today, it has grown to employ more than 2,000 people in facilities in four different countries. We make plastic containers for companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Dial, and just about any deodorant company you can think of.

Earning Processor of the Year Nomination

Our continued success and growth has helped us on our way to the Processor of the Year nomination. This is the first time we’ve submitted for the award, and we’re honored to be one of the finalists narrowed down from about 20 molders and processors.

We were also honored to win the Innovation Award at the 2017 Pack Expo in New York City and at Plastic News’ second annual Plastics Caps & Closures Conference in Chicago in 2017. Our team created a new closure for an Arm & Hammer concentrated laundry packs container that is child-safe, yet easily accessible for adults. The new design took about three months to create and won over two other finalists.

It’s nice to have the Innovation Award, and we were honored to be nominated as one of the four finalists for Processor of the Year by Plastics News this year.

Continuing Success in Pennsylvania

We wouldn’t have won the business from Church & Dwight, Arm & Hammer’s parent company, if it wasn’t for the people at Plastek and the Erie community. The quality of an employee in PA is so much better from a standpoint of talent, and they’re just wired to be hardworking, dedicated people. Some of our employees have worked for us for more than 40 years.

My brothers and I want to ensure that our employees have well-paying jobs that can improve their families’ lives, so we’ve instilled some initiatives to support this idea. For example, our wellness program is unlike many other manufacturers. We have a doctor and nurses on staff should our employees or their families need medical attention. We also have some employees who act as first responders in case of an emergency, and our overall program serves as a standard for many other businesses in our community. It has saved a couple of lives here at Plastek, and it’s something we’d like to see our competitors do.

My father also worked with Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering to create a plastics engineering undergraduate degree program — one of only six accredited programs like it in the U.S. He also created a scholarship fund for Plastek employees and their families to go through the program at the university.

Penn State Behrend’s program is a great way to ensure local talent in Erie; in fact, we have 17 students who graduated from that program currently working at Plastek. Our partnership has also been beneficial as we work with them to develop new processes and opportunities for the industry.

We’ve all heard the way the news portrays Erie, and for most of the companies in the city, it has driven us to prove them wrong and bring more jobs here. We let our quality and workmanship speak for us, and we’re a great place to work. We’ve been a family business in Erie for 61 years, and we’re going to be here for 61 more.

To learn more about PA’s plastics industry, visit the DCED website and learn more about the revitalization in Erie by visiting our #PAProud blog. Continue to stay up-to-date on all Pennsylvania company news by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.


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