HOLLAND — More than 25 years ago, Larry and Connie Essenburg had an idea to open a custom injection molding company that would be a good place to work with a family environment. Larry had previous experience in hands-on molding at Prince Corp. and management experience at Southview Molding Operations while Connie had a banking background that would serve perfectly as the financial base for a new company. And so, Ess Tec Inc emerged from their vision and backgrounds. For years, Larry Essenburg watched other injection molding companies work with small tonnage molding work as essentially an afterthought. When starting Ess Tec, the plan was to specialize in small tonnage machines to create high quality, small parts, something the competition did not do. “Our standards were high, and our commitment to quality was non-negotiable,” said Elliot Essenburg, vice president of Ess Tec. “With this business plan, Ess Tec Inc. purchased new equipment with the capabilities that Larry knew would deliver the precision and reliability he expected.”
To start, the company purchased two molding machines. Those two machines are still running three shifts per day, every week. Since then, the company has continued to grow, and today it employs 85 and operates in a 60,000-square-foot facility. “We have 29 machines ranging in tonnage from 35 to 240 tons of clamp force,” Essenburg said. “Beyond standard injection molding, the machines are capable of robot-loaded insert molding, two-shot molding and lens molding.” In simpler terms, on a daily basis, the company produces automotive interior and exterior products along with parts for military and civilian compasses, sporting goods, medical aid, fire protection, commercial and industrial products, floor cleaner and various spacers and seals.
Since opening in December 1992, the company has experienced ups and downs, but in 2009, the company and its 11 machine operation outgrew its old location and by late 2010 moved the company’s then-48-employee operation to a new location at 3347 128th Ave. in Holland. Since then, the company has been growing at a rate of two to three molding machines a year and added a 12,000-square-foot addition to the building in 2014. After more recent growth, the company found it needed additional space again and is currently adding a second 15,000-square-foot addition that will be completed in June. That space will be filled with additional machines and robotics, with the goal being to further diversify the company’s customer base while also maintaining the company’s foundation.
At Ess Tec, its greatest strength is that it has remained a family business. “We always have seen our employees as part of the family and have strived to make the atmosphere one like a family,” Essenburg said. “Respect, integrity, quality of workmanship, and leaving problems from the outside at the door are things that enable us to do that.” Along with creating a family atmosphere, the Holland-based company not only sets out to make an impact in its employees and customers, but also the community. “We have supported Kids Hope USA since its founding, support Living Water International, support Grant Me Hope, and International Needs, as well as other organizations in our community,” Essenburg said. “We have been blessed as a company and we feel the responsibility to bless those around us as well.”
Larry Essenburg died in July 2016, but his son Elliot has stepped in to continue pursuing the company’s long-term vision and development.
“Our plan is to diversify further as we will have space and capacity to do so,” Essenburg said. “We continue to automate to improve capability and to support our efforts to make our employees labor-focused to where it adds the greatest value. We are working hard to maintain the family in our family business, so we can maintain the elements that made Ess Tec Inc. so successful.”
See the full Holland Sentinel article here.