PORT HURON, Mich. - Gerry Van Wageningen spent 15 years building a small injection molding company with a reputation for delivering parts to the auto industry with no defects.
Recently, he sold Black River Plastics to someone he thinks can help deliver new business to the 60-employee operation. Faye Caballero Myt-nyk, the new CEO, Van Wageningen said, is a 'go-getter' who can move the business forward.
'All of our same people are here,' he said. 'It's an opportunity for her to start out with a solid base. The key is to get more business.'
Caballero Mytnyk, born and raised in the Philippines, also can help the company gain more notice from automakers and Tier 1 suppliers eager to find strong minority-owned operations.
'Being a woman minority business will open the door for us because there are not a lot of us out there,' Caballero Mytnyk said. 'But you have to be able to prove yourself.'
She bought the company for an undisclosed amount in January. Van Wageningen will remain during the transition. Black River had $5.6 million in sales in 1999, and Caballero Mytnyk anticipates at least $7.5 million in sales this year.
The 32,0000-square-foot factory has 10 injection presses ranging from 110 to 1,000 tons. It produces door handles, bumpers, PVC overshoot molded gear-shift knobs and the injection molded plastic housing for General Motors' OnStar satellite assistance connections.
With GM increasing its OnStar presence, planning to put the system in more than 1 million vehicles this year - up from about 100,000 in 1999 - Black River stands to see a big increase in its GM business, Caballero Mytnyk said.
'Everything you read about says the (automakers) are going to reduce their supplier base,' Caballero Mytnyk said. 'The amazing part is Black River is a dot on the map, but yet we have a niche. We are a company that can supply to GM and the major Tier 1s.'