MINNEAPOLIS-—With new leadership, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics is setting the foundation for long-term success.
Quadion L.L.C., which does business as Minnesota Rubber & Plastics, appointed Marlin Braun as its CEO, succeeding Jim Lande, who retired from Quadion after serving as CEO since 1985.
Braun was appointed CEO just six months after being hired as the firm's chief operating officer in July 2013. He has 30 years of technology manufacturing experience, both on the original equipment manufacturing and material sides.
Prior to joining the firm, Braun worked at Greene, Tweed Co., VEECO Instruments Inc. and Perkin Elmer Inc.—spending more than six years with Greene, Tweed immediately before joining Quadion.
“We were really impressed with Marlin's experience, especially working with what we'd consider very technologically driven manufacturing organizations. He had a really detailed and thoughtful vision for the opportunities in front of the company and where we could go,” said Andy Cantwell, principal at Norwest Equity Partners—the equity firm that owns Minnesota Rubber & Plastics—and a member of Quadion's board.
Quadion said Braun has had experience in growing private and publicly held businesses with revenues between $50 million and $750 million, both organically and through acquisitions, which helped him stand out in the selection process.
Most of Braun's career has been in critical applications and technology manufacturing. In addition to a split between the OEM and materials sides of the business, Braun has spent time in the commercial and operations side. He said he spent the first half of his career in business development and sales and marketing, and the other half on the operations side.
“He's really great at understanding the important issues that drive a business forward,” Cantwell said. “He's the type of guy who develops a really nice vision and strategy of where he wants to take things. He understands the market, the customers and what the needs are.”
Braun, with the support of Norwest Equity Partners, will bring a new focus for the firm that is turning 70 in 2015. Historically, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics has been highly diversified and very opportunistic-driven, taking on different applications in a variety of markets. Braun said the firm is narrowing that focus to four core markets: transportation/automotive; fluid delivery; medical; and fluid power.
Each market involves solving critical-to-function problems in very demanding environments involving chemical attack, temperature, friction and wear, he said.
“We're still diversified, but we're diversified across four primary market segments. It's a much more focused effort, and we're aligning our entire organization with those four markets,” Braun said.
“We will certainly support customers in the other markets and we will continue to support those customers that we currently have within our base,” he added. “But as we make investments in our organization in terms of resources, those efforts will be primarily focused on those four markets.”
Braun estimated between 60 and 70 percent of Minnesota Rubber & Plastics focuses on rubber, but many products that it produces are a combination of rubber and plastic materials. The firm works with fluoroelastomers, HBR, HNBR, liquid silicone rubber, high consistency silicone rubber and high-end plastics.
“We invest very heavily in high performance materials,” he said. “We have a very strong material science capability that we're continuing to invest in, and grow and strengthen. Material science is a key part of who we are and always will be a part of who we are moving forward.”