SOCIETY OF PLASTICS ENGINEERS, INC.
2011 THERMOFORMER OF THE YEAR
Stephen R. Murrill, is a heavy gauge thermoformer specializing in vacuum, pressure and twinsheet processes with Profile Plastics. Steve has a BSChE from Purdue University and a MBA from the University of Chicago.
He has been a member of SPE since 1976, served on the Thermoforming Division Board of Director’s since 1987, and served as its Chairman for two years. He has been active in every annual SPE Thermoforming Conference since its inception and was the Chairman for the 1992 Thermoforming Conference held in Midland, Michigan.
Steve has also been in the SPE/SPI Thermoforming Conference held at the NPE. He has been a speaker, moderator and program chairman for the Thermoforming Conference and many other SPE Conferences and RETEC’s, held by other Divisions and Sections. He received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Thermoforming Division in 2001.
Steve was exposed to plastics at an early age. Steve’s father Randy Murrill worked at DuPont For 39 years. They lived in Orange, Texas; Parkersburg, West Virginia; and Wilmington, Delaware. Randy was involved making Teflon, Delrin, and Lucite which went into such products as fishing Line, brushy fibers, and glazing.
In high school, Steve belonged to Junior Achievement and was president of a company called JASAP which was sponsored by Marbon Chemical. Named the 1967 JA Company of the Year, they produced and sold a unique playing card holder and scorecard keeper made out of what else, but Plastic.
Out of college, Steve went to work for Exxon Chemical spending time in Houston and then in Chicago marketing polypropylene. He then worked for Signode Corporation originally in Their Palode Division (plastic pallet strapping). Steve moved into the New Venture Group where he became aware of Profile Plastics.
In 1987, Steve purchased Profile Plastics from John Grundy. Profile Plastics was started in 1960 in a garage by John and grew to be one of the leaders in the industry especially with the development of pressure forming. During Steve’s ownership and direction, Profile Plastics continues to be at the forefront of thermoforming in both technology and business operations. He has been a long time proponent of molded in color and texture and has led many of Profile’s customers away from injection molding or painted structural foam, especially for those products requiring large, highly cosmetic covers in low to medium volumes.
With an eye toward the future, in 1995 Profile Plastics moved to a new 100,000 square ft. facility. In 2003, Steve bought the assets of cross-town competitor Arrem Plastics in Addison, IL and actively oversaw the transition of hundreds of molds to the Lake Bluff facility. Again in 2008, Steve purchased Pullman Industries out of Rochester, NY further expanding Profile’s customer base and sales volume. Steve is still deeply involved in many facets of the business. Currently using 13 state-of-the-art formers and 15 state-of-the-art 5 and 6-axis CNC Routers and robots Profile continue its record sales growth through Steve’s leadership.
He has held strongly to the late John Griep’s vision that the thermoforming industry to grow it must have a vehicle for the free discourse of those who work in the business. To that end, Steve has put much of his energy into the SPE Thermoforming Division. People who have met Steve will attest to his openness in discussing what many consider to be “secrets” of our business. It is that willingness to share knowledge of the business which has helped us all to grow thermoforming into the acceptable plastic process that is is today.