Craig Porter

Owner & President

Craig has a BS in Electronic Engineering Technology from Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall, MN and a Certificate in Finance from Concordia University St. Paul, MN.

Craig’s experiences include senior plant operations management, business unit management, sales management, and quality management. He has past engineering responsibilities in product quality engineering, supplier quality engineering, manufacturing engineering, and reliability engineering on both existing products and product development teams. He has held positions in sales management and account management within the Electronic Manufacturing Services industry, a business model almost identical to PlastiCert’s as an injection molding provider. Craig has been associated with a diverse array of company structures ranging in size from start-up and early stage medical device/high technology companies to multi-facility international corporations. He has also provided consulting for early stage companies on design for manufacturability, early prototype development and manufacturing preparation for medical devices and electronic equipment. The product markets and industries that Craig has experienced include a concentration in medical devices, including electronic, mechanical and biological; additional experiences include computer equipment & peripherals, industrial controls, aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, test equipment, consumer, construction and agricultural electronics.

Craig is a member of the Winona State University Composite Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. Craig is a member and past executive board member of the Winona Area Industrial Development Association (WAIDA). Craig has a long list of city, County and Business groups he has volunteered with. Craig frequently speaks to high school and junior high school student groups on careers in engineering and manufacturing, offering tours of the PlastiCert facilities. Craig was awarded an Alumni Achievement Award from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2017 for his business and volunteering accomplishments.

Craig is originally from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. After visiting SE MN repeatedly for business, Craig re-located here around 30 years ago. He has four children ranging from 20’s to 40’s (the two oldest also have Electrical Engineering degrees) and five grandchildren he loves to spend time with whenever he can.

Ben Ninas

Senior Vice President of Engineering and Business Development

Coming to PlastiCert in 2003 as Quality Engineer, Ben was quickly promoted to Quality Manager. He attained ISO 9000:2000 lead auditor certification and implemented an ISO 9000:2000 system within PlastiCert, guiding the Minnesota facility to ISO certification in 2004. After leading the quality management system at PlastiCert, Ben gradually took over operations and eventually, the result of assisting all customers on their new product development, he took over managing all engineering efforts. He works directly with customers while guiding their designs through the entire product introduction cycle that includes material selection optimization, pricing, mold design optimization, process characterization and optimization, and production validation. Ben also oversees all quoting activities for PlastiCert, both new business and existing programs. Ben now has responsibility for winning new customer inquiries and growing existing customers.

Prior to joining PlastiCert Inc., Ben was a Materials Engineer for a custom injection molding and assembly facility. While there, he supervised material testing and verification activities that were used to improve existing products lines. He also worked extensively with their sales department to improve customer relations and develop new products.

Ben graduated from the only Composites Engineering Program in the country, taught locally at Winona State University. Ben holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Composite Materials Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. He also holds a Lean Manufacturing Certification through Winona State University Continuing Education and has completed the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Winona course.

Ben currently resides near Rochester, Minnesota with his wife Amy, daughter Leah, son’s Sam & Michael, and two hunting dogs. In his free time, Ben can be found chasing big game and game birds in his backyard, throughout the upper Midwest and Western United States.

Lana Knabel

Vice President of Operations

Lana has been with PlastiCert since 2003. She has literally worked in almost every role in the company. Starting the office and administration area, Lana started in order Entry which quickly encompassed Customer Service. Lana’s efficiency and attention to detail resulted in PlastiCert’s Customer Sentiment Survey showing high marks for responsiveness and satisfaction. Lana started also providing our purchasing and then our product scheduling as they were so interrelated. After a retirement, Lana assumed responsibilities for our Human Resources and Finance duties.

At this point, Lana is responsible for all non-engineering operations within PlastiCert. All efforts surrounding the making of products to satisfying customer orders including order entry, purchasing, materials management, production scheduling, manufacturing staff, as well as human resources and finance.

Lana is a Lewiston native and has extensive family in the area. An athlete in high school, she has coached and participates in her children’s athletic activities. She resides in rural Lewiston with her husband Kevin and three children ranging from college to elementary age.

Zachary Block

Engineering Manager

Zach is responsible for the design and manufacture of all new molds, new part design input, customer support of existing molds and part revision input, production optimization, mold maintenance, and custom production aides like tooling, fixtures, and pneumatic/hydraulic workstations.

Zach has been at PlastiCert since his graduation from Winona State University in 2014. Zach was at the top of his class in attaining a Bachelor of Composites Materials Engineering, the only undergraduate program of its kind in the country.

Starting as a Manufacturing Engineer, Zach refined and streamlined PlastiCert’s molding operations. He then also started applying his talents to the mechanical side of PlastiCert, working with the mold design and build group. Zach has spearheaded the work in upgrading and replacing all of the molding presses and auxiliary equipment on the production floor.

In 2021 Zach was promoted to Engineering Manager placing the Mold Design and Build Department under him. He directs the work of 3 toolmakers in supporting our customers component design input needs and facilitating the design and build of their molds to be used on PlastiCert’s production floor.

Zach is a native of the Lewiston/Winona area, growing up hunting and fishing its bluffs, fields, streams, and the Mississippi River. He also travels the Upper Midwest in pursuit of game and fish even in the Winter, snow camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.