The Processor of the Year award honors a plastics processor for its performance, corporate responsibility, and overall excellence. Candidates are judged based on seven criteria: financial performance, quality, customer relations, employee relations, environmental performance, industry/public service, and technological innovation. MTD has been a finalist for Processor of the Year twice before, and it won the Plastics News Excellence Award for employee relations in 2017. The company has also been named as one of the Best Places to Work in the plastics industry for the second year in a row.
The awards are bittersweet as MTD’s president, Dennis Tully, unexpectedly passed away on February 28—just one week before the awards ceremony. (Plastics News notes that MTD was selected as the winner prior to his passing.)
Tully purchased the company, originally called Miniature Tool & Die, from his father in 2008. At the helm, he rebranded the company MTD Micro Molding and repositioned it for the medical device market, where it garnered enormous success. MTD became known around the world for its mastery of highly precise, specialized miniature parts that no other company could produce.
In a mid-February interview with Plastics News, Tully explained, "Every company that's working on a medical device is always trying to make the next generation have more capabilities and be smaller, which plays into our strengths of being able to create fine details very precisely."
Under his leadership, MTD more than doubled its workforce, continually made significant investments in innovation, became one of the nation's fastest-growing companies, and won numerous awards. But more than any accolade, Tully was most proud of the MTD staff. He was always quick to say that MTD’s success was not his, but the team’s.
Tully said, "I'm really proud of the fact that our team carries the mentality that we started with of taking these difficult projects—most of which start with some element of impossibility—and conquering them."
His pride was matched with genuine care for all employees. Lindsay Mann, MTD’s sales and marketing director, said that in the annual employee survey results, “what comes up over and over again is that Dennis is fair, generous, and treats employees like family.”
MTD remains privately owned and will continue with expansion plans in 2019. As Plastics News editorial director Don Loepp expressed in a recent article, “Now the history of MTD starts a new chapter, without its talisman, but with a strong culture and set of core values to keep it on the right track.” As Tully would say, “Ever forward.”