Plastics firm part of Vette - Fort Wayne Journal Gazette feature story

Plastics firm part of ’Vette


CSP invests in Huntington site to prepare for work on iconic GM sports car


Source: Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette, 5/23/13


When it came to expanding facilities and increasing the workforce at the Continental Structural Plastics Inc. facility in Huntington, there was no hesitation.


Not when it came to getting deeply involved with the 2015 Corvette line, even if the economy is still recovering.


“Historically, from the Corvette product line, they are usually very strong and I don’t know that the peaks and valleys are the same,” Jerry Reid, the plant manager, said last month.


“Normally, the automotive industry will follow those peaks and valleys, but people that buy Corvettes don’t usually follow that same trend. It will be a good product line for us, and a very stable product line going forward for us.”


CSP, a supplier of exterior body panels and structural composites, is close to completing a $6.3-million renovation in Huntington, which was first announced Nov. 14, 2012.


“There’s been a lot of activity, there’s no doubt about it,” Reid said. “The community, everybody, is really engaged and excited about what’s going on in the Huntington facility.”


Reid said in April renovations were 90 percent finished – “it’s more the finite stuff we need to get completed, like writing logic between the machines and the nitty gritty like that.” The hiring of about 50 new employees is expected in the fourth quarter of this year.


That will bring the CSP on-site workforce to about 336 people, all of whom will be a part of what advanced engineering director Steve Pelczarski called one of the more exciting cars on the horizon.


“There is a lot of excitement for this car within General Motors and with the public,” he said. “It’s a beautiful car and it will have a lot of potential to sell.”

CSP will be looking for people of various skill sets to add to the facility, from engineers to maintenance workers.


“There’s going to be a lot of hourly and people from a lot of different functional groups, from materials to engineering, quality, every functional group we will probably add some headcounts,” Reid said. “We’ve been pretty lucky. Huntington and the surrounding counties have been pretty good to pull from and to find the right caliber people for our needs.”


Before landing the Corvette, the CSP facility was already manufacturing products for GM and Ford, and none of those operations will be affected by the Corvette line.


“This is just an add-on to the portfolio we had in Huntington. We didn’t have to move anything out and it didn’t impact any of our other customers,” Reid said.


“That’s one of the nice things, right? It’s a nice problem to have, when you are consuming a bunch of your open capacity in the plant. It’s a nice problem for this facility to have.”


CSP has been in Huntington since 2010, when operations from northwest Ohio were transferred to the facility at 1890 Riverfork Drive, the former Meridian Automotive Systems Inc. plant, which had been dormant for two years.


Reid lauded the relationship that CSP has had with Huntington as a reason for the growth at the facility.


“The community here, the city and county, have been great to work with,” Reid said. “They’ve cut through a lot of red tape for us and done a lot of good things for CSP as a whole, to be part of the corporate network in Huntington County. I tip my hat to those guys, the Mayor, Brooks Fetters, and Mark Wickersham (executive director of Huntington County Economic Development). They have gone above and beyond to help CSP feel at home and take advantage of the incentives in not only the county and the city, but also the state.”


The result is a new production line – and new jobs – for a facility growing in reputation.


“Logistically and historically, Huntington has been the top Class A, (Sheet Molding Compound) body panel maker in the industry,” Pelczarski said.




Name: Continental Structural Plastics Inc.

Address: 1890 Riverfork Drive, Huntington

Company description: Makes exterior body panels and structural composites components for automobiles

Number of employees: 286

Planning to hire: About 50

Pay: Hourly jobs pay $10 to $20; salaried jobs $40,000 to $50,000 annually.

How to apply: Monitor,, newspapers




Top photo: Jet Mechanical workers John Johnson, left, and Jason Lowry prep the C7 machining cell area. (Photo credit: Swikar Patel, The Journal Gazette)


Middle photo: Parts enter the paint booth at Continental Structural Plastics in Huntington. (Photo credit: Swikar Patel, The Journal Gazette)

Bottom photo: Kevin Cagala, left, production manager, and Jerry Reid, plant manager, stand with primed hoods. (Photo credit: Swikar Patel, The Journal Gazette)


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