Ben Franklin cash helps SAY Plastics pursue transit niche

Adams County company receives $125,000

SAY Plastics was recently awarded one of 11 investments by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Central and Northern PA Region, in order to penetrate a new market: providing affordable thermoformed plastic parts utilizing new technology for the transportation industry. The component pictured here is a window mask being produced for Chicago's Metra commuter rail system. - (Photo / Courtesy Karen Hendricks)

An Adams County manufacturer says $125,000 in tech funding is helping put it on the right track toward success in the transit component market.

SAY Plastics is one of 11 Pennsylvania companies receiving funding and support services from Centre County-based Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania.

Ben Franklin is a state initiative that supports emerging tech-based companies and existing manufacturers who are looking to diversify.

McSherrystown-based SAY, founded in 1986, employs 14 people, and is a producer of thermoformed plastic components and assemblies.

Company officials say the funding will allow them to add several new positions in order to pursue new clients in transportation and other industries. They are looking to carve out a new niche by re-engineering replacement parts for rail vehicles, trucks and buses.

“In order for us to acquire new business, we need to find innovative ways to get involved in the marketplace,” SAY Plastics vice president and Ggeneral manager Ron Staub said.

“As a result, we have perfected the process of making parts with alternative tooling — converting existing materials to plastics, and Ben Franklin thought it was a viable project,” Staub said. “Their investment in the form of a loan without collateral provides a way for SAY Plastics to move into the market faster by increasing marketing efforts and hiring a design engineer to expand our engineering capacity.”

Ben Franklin’s funding came about through a referral from Adams County Economic Development Corp., which previously financed two Small Business First loans to the company.

“SAY Plastics is at the forefront of Adams County’s growing tech and plastics industry, taking advantage of our strategic location along the Mason-Dixon Line with easy access to major U.S. markets, as well as our dedicated workforce, and excellent quality of life,” ACEDC president Robin Fitzpatrick said.

Ben Franklin generally funds 30 to 36 projects annually, investing an average of $100,000 per project, in the 32-county territory of central and northern Pennsylvania. Recent funding recipients were the subject of a Business Journal report last month.

Richard Heddleson, who serves as the agency’s south central region director, said several factors made SAY Plastics’ application stand out.

“We’re looking to invest in companies that are innovating with technology and will create jobs in Pennsylvania — that’s the common thread. One of the important things about SAY Plastics is the strength of the management team,” Heddleson said. “We felt confident that they would execute on their plan and that a significant number of jobs would be created in Pennsylvania as a result.”

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com.

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