In 2018, the economic development team in Medina County was contacted about a 500,000 square foot building proposed to go up in the county. Now complete, Ravago Americas has made Medina County their home and are filling the space quickly. Made in Medina County spoke with Becky Shrock, General Manager at Ravago in Medina.
Q: Thank you so much for being here, Becky! Could you please share some of Ravago’s history with us?
Thank you for having me! I would be happy to tell you about Ravago. John Hinds ran the Hinds Company in Barberton for many years, and I started working for that business. He sold that business to Entec Polymers, LLC in 2000 which was a division of Ravago. At that time, they planned to close the Barberton plant and were in the process of phasing out the work, when our team proved our value. We were able to show we were profitable and could do things other divisions couldn’t. Our general manager at the time, Mike Gasper, had vast technical and mechanical experience and could provide support no one else could at the time. Instead of closing the facility, we started value-added services and became an important part of the Ravago structure.
Q: What a great story! The team really made it happen! How did you find your way to Medina?
We were able to build an addition onto our facility in Barberton in 2010 but outgrew it almost immediately. We were taking on a number of services that others couldn’t handle. We started looking in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to see where we wanted to build a new facility because we were land locked. We wanted to keep our team, so we narrowed it down to this region. We looked at pretty much every piece of property in the area. But it was so obvious that Medina City and Medina County wanted us as much as we wanted to go somewhere, so we chose the Medina location.
Q: How did you know they wanted you to come to Medina City?
As we were doing our due diligence, we had a meeting at our facility with city and county economic developers. We asked that they keep things very low key as we hadn’t talked to the staff yet. After that initial meeting, we had two more – one at our place and one in the city – where everyone honored our wishes, did everything to help us solve challenges and made us feel welcome. We got the same feeling we want to give our employees, so we knew it was a good fit.
Q: That is so great to hear! Can you share with our readers what Ravago does?
We handle and distribute plastic resin. Some of it is medical grade, other resins are used in automotive, and others in any industry that uses plastic. We can blend the materials together to create different properties or color in the plastic and provide other value-added services. Plastic resin generally comes into the Medina facility as small pellets so it is important to handle them properly and know what can mix with what and how. There is a lot that goes into a plastic part and we provide the materials.
Q: Plastic is in everything! Are you concerned about sustainability?
We are! Ravago Recycling Group is in Texas and is focused on our sustainability programs. We work very hard to ensure nothing is wasted. We are part of Operation Clean Sweep which is a plastics-industry initiative to achieving zero pellet, flake, and powder loss. We conduct regular training for employees on how to handle our products in a responsible manner, we do internal audits to ensure we aren’t losing product in the shop, and report metrics on our usage to the Plastics Industry Association.
Locally, we work with Medina Recycling, which has been a great partnership. We are also very focused on having as little trash as possible in general in the plant.
Q: That’s great! Your employees must love that! And speaking of employees, how are things going with workforce?
I am so happy we were able to keep our team from Barberton when we opened in Medina. We did have a couple people retire, but for the most part everyone stayed with us. Ravago as a company is very committed to the employees. One of the things that is so great is there is opportunity for everyone, and anyone can move up through the ranks. Our former GM started in the maintenance department and moved up to retire as our General Manager. I actually started as a receptionist. The culture allowed me to look around and see what needed to be done. So, I learned how to manage the rail cars that bring in our materials. That knowledge and specialization allowed me to move up. And there are stories all over the company like that.
We also offer very competitive benefits. We even have pet insurance! We really try to show our employees that they matter to all of us at all levels of the company. When the owner comes here, he shakes hands with every single person in the plant.
Q: That really speaks to your culture! What does the future hold for Ravago?
We are currently partnering with new producers to allow us to specialize. We have space to add more equipment to bring in new blending machines and continue to innovate for our customers. But we have started looking at adding square footage. The land was prepared when we built our current building just in case, and I think we may need it sooner than expected.
Very exciting! It sounds like you are happy with your choice!
We definitely are! We were so happy to find Medina City and Medina County. We know we are in the right place to grow!
For more information about Ravago, please visit: https://www.ravago.com