Editor’s note — This is the first story in a series about progress in the area. Look in the Daily Times throughout the rest of the week for additional stories centered around job creation in southern, Ohio.
Paradigm/Synergy Plastics in Piketon, founded by a former Shawnee State University professor is on its way to employing 50-60 people.
Dr. Jeff Humble came to SSU in 1989, and was one of the main people who started the four-year plastics program, one of the first four programs when Shawnee State became a university. Humble remained at the school until 1997.
“During the economic development efforts to get plastics companies to come to Portsmouth, which we were never successful in doing, I kind of fell into it myself,” Humble told the Daily Times. “I started in an old grocery store across the river in South Shore (Kentucky).”
That was the launch of a company that has seen steady growth over the last 30 years.
“We’ve been doing business for Honda of America in Marysville (Ohio) for about 25 of those years and we are expanding,” Humble said. “We currently have seven machines. We’re getting ready to buy three more and we’re getting ready to move into a larger building.”
Paradigm/Synergy Plastics is currently located where the Southern State Truck Driving Academy used to be, literally across from the exit to the DOE reservation in Piketon, in an industrial park owned by Jim Nier.
“We’ve been here since the year 2000,” Humble said. “We’re a tier-2 supplier to Honda, which means we supply main level suppliers to Honda and they’re tier-1s.”
What is most exciting about that venture is that they have just picked up a new customer and next week company officials are going to talk to a third new customer.
“So we’re expanding and we were just granted a Tobacco Fund grant of $120,000 and from the State of Ohio, $100,000, and from Fluor Hydrocarbon, $40,000 because they have to give back to the community, and we are standing to get some money from them,” Humble said. “It’s all for equipment, all for our expansion, and we currently have about 20 people, and probably within the next 2-3 years we’ll be up to about 50-60 people.”
Paradigm/Synergy Plastics also has its own product that Humble designed.
“It’s a long-term storage container that things will not tarnish or rot or rust or anything like that if you put it in there and apply it correctly,” Humble said. “Those tools have been made and they’re coming from China as we speak. So we’re getting ready to launch our own products.”
As the company is viewed within the context of the jobs situation in southern Ohio, it is apparent they have been flying under the radar for almost 30 years. Humble took the opportunity to give credit to Jason Kester, executive director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority.
“Now it seems our star is rising and Jason has been a part of that,” Humble said. “Luckily with Jason involved – he’s been involved with all three of those programs.”
“This is a brand new project. They just received the award letter for incentives from JobsOhio yesterday (Monday). They secured a number of Honda and Acura contracts and they are expanding their plastics operations in Piketon,” Kester said. “It’s been the project I’ve spent the most time on recently.”
Humble has recently brought another Shawnee State graduate, Farin Wells, on board.
“He was one of the students that I had in the second four-year graduating class,” Humble said. “He’s from Lewis County, Kentucky and he just left Honda Corporate where he had a very excellent job and he’s going to take over operations for us.”
As of July 2016 the company switched from a C corporation into an LLC, Humble’s wife, Traci Humble, becoming the owner.
“So we’re now a minority entity and that is opening up a bunch of doors for us as well,” Humble said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.