Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WCHS graduate leading small but growing manufactureing company

J-E News Editor
Par 4 Plastics, located in Marion, Kentucky, is a plastic injection molding facility that manufactures specialty parts for various companies, including Remington and Marlin Firearms, Siemens, Nissan, Honda, Ford and GM. At the helm of the company is President Tim Capps, a 1987 of Webster County High School.
Capps, the son of a coal miner, grew up on Highway 132 between Dixon and Clay.

“When I graduated from WCHS, all of my friends were going to college so I wanted to go to,” recalled Capps. “I just didn’t know how I was going to pay for it.”
For Capps the answer was hard work. Without financial aid and scholarships to rely on, the only way he was going to get through college was to pay for it himself. So when he enrolled at Murray State University, he worked three and four jobs to pay his tuition.
“I worked at Briggs and Stratton, Captain D’s and the MSU business department to pay for school,” he said. “I paid 100% of my school.   However, I do remember on two occasions when Anna Gale Gibson slipped me a 100 dollar bill. It meant everything to me at the time.”
He earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from Murray State University. He is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and served as Vice-President and Housing Corporation President at Murray State.
After college Capps’ career took him further away from home. Following college he spent time in Murray, KY, Searcy, AR, Nashville, TN, and Salt Lake City ,UT.
Prior to joining Par 4 in 2002, he worked for Fluor Global Services as a consultant at Bridgestone, Nissan and Kennecott Copper mine.   He also worked for Amana Appliances, a Raytheon Company, and Dana Corporation.  His duties included new project start up, employee development, continuous improvement, negotiating contracts, sales development, human resources, facility and operations management, and quality, safety and environmental systems implementation.
It was while working for Speed Queen in Searcy, AR that he met the man that would eventually bring him back to Kentucky. At the time Joe McDaniel was the plant manager of Speed Queen in Madisonville. When McDaniel launched Par 4 Plastics, Capps came to work for him in order to be closer to his family in Webster County.
“Many kids from this area go off to college and don’t come back,” Capps said. “I see Providence, Dixon and Slaughters all getting smaller. But this is a good place to live. We need industry in this area to bring new stuff in and give kids a reason to move back.”
Grassroots Growth
Par 4 Plastics is growing and succeeding while other manufacturers in the business have struggled and even closed. They’ve done it all by being flexible when it comes to filling customer needs, and maintaining a small, family oriented work force.
The company maintains two facilities in Marion, Par 4 Plastics and Tyler Manufacturing, located across the road from each other. Currently they employ 210 workers. 
The company’s growth was steady at 10% per year until 2009, when the recession hit. Where a lot of businesses, especially small ones, folded, Par 4 struggled through. 
Capps says the company was ‘lucky’ to survive, but their flexibility could be a large part of what kept them growing. As other companies went out of business, Par 4 found a way to pickup their contracts. A lot of those were done by word of mouth.
“That’s what makes us unique,” Capps explained. “The automotive world is a very small place. It’s big and drives economies, but everybody in the business knows everyone else and what they can do.”
In the last two years the company has doubled in size. Their wares now include everything from headlight covers to rifle stocks, all made in the same facility. Par 4 now manufactures 2,000 different parts, two-thirds of which are for the automotive industry.
“The growth has been a challenge and we’ve stressed our plant,” Capps said. “We have forty molding presses in our plant. That’s ten more than we should have.”
The company has grown so much that they are now in the process of vetting sites for a new facility. While Capps says they are loyal to their home base in Crittenden County, they are eyeing outlying reasons purely because of the labor market.
The Sebree Spec Building in Sebree is on the list of sites Capps and the Par 4 management team are considering and have toured. The 40,000 square foot facility was built in 2006 by the Webster County Economic Development Corporation.
“It’s a little small,” he admitted. “We’re looking for something 50-75,000 square foot. But it’s expandable, so that’s not a problem. It’s in Webster County, but not far from both Henderson and Madisonville. It’s really a good location, but we have to go through this process with all due diligence. We don’t have the same financial backing as some big companies. When we make a decision, we have to make sure we make the right decision.”
Capps said that even if Par 4 doesn’t choose the Sebree Spec Building, that isn’t the end of the line. The company’s growth plan is to expand through the use of multiple smaller facilities rather than one large one. In another five years the company will be looking to build a fourth plant.
“Until the last couple of years we had around 150 employees,” said Capps. “With 150 people it’s possible to know everybody working in the building. You get much larger than that and it’s hard to keep up with all of the people coming and going.”
While walking through the plant, employes working on the lines greeting Capps with smiles and waves. One worker even invited him to a chili lunch they were planning.
“We have great people working for us,” he said. “Our success is due to a great team, community, customers and suppliers.  Every person at Par 4 helps us make sales as our customers visit us constantly.”

Reach MATT HUGHES at 270-667-2068 or

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