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It's not easy being a family-owned business competing in a global marketplace, and often the rules, regulations, laws and tax-codes of both the state and federal government do not make it any easier. In fact, for many family-owned business all of this adds a level of complexity that can be very detrimental in a number of ways.

Clare Goldsberry

February 3, 2012

3 Min Read
Showing our leaders what manufacturing is

It's not easy being a family-owned business competing in a global marketplace, and often the rules, regulations, laws and tax-codes of both the state and federal government do not make it any easier. In fact, for many family-owned business all of this adds a level of complexity that can be very detrimental in a number of ways.

Hoffer Plastics is one of the U.S. plastics industry's oldest family-owned molding businesses, having been founded in 1953 by Robert Hoffer. Last year, I did a plant tour at Hoffer Plastics, and was quite impressed with what the second-generation has done to keep this business thriving and successful into the third generation.

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Sen. Dick Durbin visits Hoffer Plastics

Bill Hoffer, right, leads U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on a tour of Hoffer Plastics.

Over the past few years there's been a big push by manufacturers, especially among molders and moldmakers, to engage their local, state and Congressional leaders in a conversation about the industry in which so many of us work. Recently, Hoffer invited U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to tour its 365,000-sq-ft facility in South Elgin, IL, which he did in January as a part of his state-wide tour of Illinois businesses that "are doing well in the recession and hiring people."

Sen. Durbin participated in a roundtable discussion with Hoffer executives and representatives from local business and educational organizations about the innovative ACT WorkKeys assessment program. WorkKeys administers a battery of tests which measures an individual's proficiency and suitability for various jobs. During 2011, Hoffer added 18 employees whose reading skills and qualifications were certified by the WorkKeys assessment process, which Hoffer executives said helped them streamline the screening, interviewing and hiring process.

Sen. Durbin was impressed with the program and said that adopting a similar program throughout Illinois "is so obvious." That said, he added that he couldn't promise money for the program, however he did agree to work with WorkKeys representatives and facilitate contact with state officials for next steps.

Finding ways to make your business work is critical to your success. Far too often I read blogs and commentaries in which molders and moldmakers slam the government for not doing enough to get the engine of manufacturing revved up again. Yet, waiting for the government to take action to make you successful might be futile.

It's good to continue the efforts to engage our leaders at all levels of government. The more they understand manufacturing and how offshoring takes work and jobs away from manufacturers across the supply chain, the better prepared they will be when asked to vote in a positive way on a piece of legislation that impacts manufacturing businesses, small and large.

Bill Hoffer commented to PlasticsToday on the visit:  "Sen. Durbin was genuinely interested in how he could help us continue our success in the industry and community. The Senator was impressed with our capabilities and commitment to our customers and employees, and we welcomed him to return for a future discussion on how companies like Hoffer Plastics are working diligently to help revive the economy."

Make it one of your goals this year to contact your local, state and national Congressional leaders and let them know about your business, why manufacturing in the U.S.A. matters to job creation, and what you're doing to hire, train and retain skilled employees to create a thriving U.S. economy.

If you don't tell them what matters to you, they only pay attention to what matters to them.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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