This week, PlastiCert will recognize our founder, Howard Ysteboe’s birthday, he would have been 90. Howard founded PlastiCert back in 1981. Originally from a small North Dakota town (Aneta population 202), he was a multi-talented electrical engineer that eventually, in the service of a major electrical connector company, established injection molding facilities for them around the world. I was told he is credited with founding Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) chapters in Pennsylvania, the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan.
Almost 40 years ago, he decided to put down roots in Pennsylvania and do for himself what he had been doing successfully for someone else and founded PlastiCert. He built a thriving business on the model of being highly technical, doing precision insert and micro molding, and offering a high level of service, for companies up and down the East Coast. Lore speaks of an engineer that had great business sense. They say Howard could walk onto the production floor and just by tuning in to the sounds being generated, could tell if he was making money or not. Howard was a driven worker, with a cot in his office and a penchant for getting thing done and getting them right.
Howard passed away unexpectedly at the age of 72. Coworkers found him slumped at his desk one morning after having worked late into the previous night.
A number of things have changed since then, Ysteboe family ties led to a much needed expansion into Minnesota. A renewed focus on an expanded customer base and pushing into larger parts and more technical engineered resins. Offshoring and leadership issues led to the closing of the original plant during the last recession, but Minnesota had established a new direction for the company. The old customer base saw the positive trend and nearly 80% of the business from the original plant transferred their molds to Minnesota.
PlastiCert, like many companies, has been evolving over the many years we’ve been operating. At the same time, PlastiCert has been true to its roots, providing highly technical mold and molding offerings to OEMs with a commitment to service them and meet their needs. (Including still doing some occasional all-nighters.)
This year, we’ll start prepping for 2021 which will be our 40th year in business. We’ll celebrate our successes, newly added equipment and an expanded customer base. But we will also remember who and what got us here. I truly wish I could have had a chance to meet Howard. It was his vision and work ethic that launched PlastiCert, established its identity and laid the groundwork for success through four decades.