Craig Porter: Owner & President of PlastiCert, Inc.
Craig has a BS in Electronic Engineering Technology from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN and a Certificate in Finance from Concordia University in 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 also sits on the Winona Area Composites Consortium Executive Board. In 2008, Craig was named to the Workforce Investment Board, a statewide program out of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development initiated by the Governor and coordinated regionally out of the SE Minnesota Workforce Center. Craig is a member and past executive board member of the Winona Area Industrial Development Association (WAIDA). He was the meeting moderator and a Steering Committee member of the Winona Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club. Craig is a past Board Director and Executive Board Member for the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce and is still active on a number of their committees and events. Craig volunteers to judge the Winona Local & Regional Science Fairs and has judged at the MN State Science Fair. He is a Past President for the Lewiston Area Chamber of Commerce and Civic Group. He is the past Chairman of the Winona City Planning Commission, having been made a Commissioner by the City Council in 2002 and still serving. Craig was asked to and participated on a committee drafting a new Winona County Comprehensive Plan in 2015. 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 volunteers as a swimming official/referee for the YMCA and USA Youth swim programs as well as officiating for numerous YMCA & USA Swimming regional and national level events, like the TYR Pro Series, Junior Nationals, Futures meet and others. He also officiates swimming and diving for the Minnesota State High School League, The Big Ten, NSIC & MIAC Conferences, as well as NCAA state, conference and national championships including the 2018 Division I Championships. He was on the Winona YMCA Aquatic Steering Committee, and a board member for the Winona Swim Club. Aside from swimming laps and teaching/coaching youth diving, he enjoys riding his road bicycle logging miles each season in the Midwest and around the country.
Craig is originally from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. After visiting SE MN repeatedly for business, Craig re-located here around 25 years ago He has four children ranging from 20’s to 30’s (the two oldest also have Electrical Engineering degrees) and four grandchildren he loves to babysit whenever he can.
Ben Ninas: Director of Operations for PlastiCert, Inc.
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. In addition to leading the quality management system at PlastiCert, Ben assists customers on their new product development. 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. Most recently, Ben was put in charge of day-to-day operations of the manufacturing function at PlastiCert.
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.
Dean Rupprecht: Principle Engineer and Tool Shop Manager at PlastiCert, Inc.
Dean 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 aids like tooling, fixtures and pneumatic/hydraulic work stations.
Dean has over 35 years of tooling and mold design experience. After an initial apprenticeship, Dean spent four years working in the industry while he attended classes at Winona Southeast Technical College and Winona State University in mold/tooling theories, design concepts, and math. After 13+ years as an in-house Journeymen Toolmaker and mold designer, Dean and two partners started a mold design and plastic injection molding company they named Minnesota Product Innovators. They developed a business model focused on working with customers on concept to manufacture of plastic parts and their molds for the electronic controls, agriculture, medical, and consumer product industries. In 2001, PlastiCert Inc. acquired the employees, assets and customer base.
Dean has been married to his wife Pam for over 40 years and has three children from 25 to 35 years old. He has remained a resident of the Winona area all his life enjoying family time on the Mississippi River. He is also an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys orienteering whether it is canoeing the lakes and streams of northern Minnesota or hiking the western states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. He has been active serving in his church as chairman of the congregation and within the school as a Pioneer leader and chairman of the PTA. Dean has also served his local community as a volunteer fire fighter.