SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS, INC.
1993 THERMOFORMER OF THE YEAR
John N. Grundy, a 1955 graduate of DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana.
In 1960, the early days of the thermoforming industry, Profile Plastics was started. The first machine was purchased for $1,000 down and pushed down the street on a two-wheeled cart to a rented space. For under $5,000 capital, a new "Vacuum Former" was in business. John's knowledge of the industry came from a job as a salesman with Spaulding Fibre Company and as a salesman for "Campco", which was one of the early sheet extruders.
Starting with an order for some special tote boxes, a business was established. One of the early directions he gave to his company was to strive to be different from the competition. If other companies said it couldn't be done, then that became a challenge - Profile would devote its resources to show that it could be done. John was able to keep enough of a sense of humor to know that occasionally the competition was right. The relationship established with suppliers was one where they could expect to be treated better than if they were the customer. He paid for lunch because he realized that suppliers were one of the best sources for new information about the industry. If they had a new product, it would be tested and a full report sent to them. He was interested in everything they brought to him. By the time that "Kydex" first came to market, Profile had a willing customer and was being shipped pallet loads at a time.
Profile Plastics was successful over the years and was able to hire many of the right people who developed their talents in an atmosphere that challenged them. When gas fired rotaries were new, Profile had one. It was bottom loaded and customized to allow for the first use of a pick-up bar so that two different molds could be run at the same time. There was a time when the industry was finally putting away their wooden yardsticks and starting to pick-up a caliper. It was the same time that Profile Plastics was having constructed one of the first 5-axis trimming robots, with +/-.005 trimming tolerances.
The beginning of the high-pressure sheet forming process was slow to start in the 1980's with three or four companies turning out innovative products. The Air Conditioner Plenum was one of the first pressure formed parts that taxed the design and production capabilities available at that time. Profile Plastics' sales department challenged other designers to put this new process to work for them: and the marketplace now contains a long string of products which have received awards for their excellence in design.
As an active member, John was seen at many SPE meetings over the years either working in the background, delivering a paper, or involved in some panel discussion. John served many terms on the Board of Directors of both the Thermoforming Division of SPE, and SPI. He was there when the board was still "getting organized and looking for direction" and helped develop some of the successful programs that are in effect today.
John N. Grundy passed away November 30th, 2017 after a long battle with Parkinson's and Leukemia. To honor our colleague and friend, a memorial fund which supports plastics education, has been established with the Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation. The John N. Grundy PlastiVan® Fund will be used to help bring the PlastiVan Educations Program to students in the Chicago area and around the country. For more information, please contact Eve Vitale, SPE Foundation Director (810) 814-6412. Contributions to the John N. Grundy PlastiVan® Fund can be sent to:
The SPE Foundation
Attn: Gene Havel
6 Berkshire Blvd #306
Bethel, CT 06801
*Please note the John N. Grundy PlastiVan® Fund in your check's memo line.