MINNEAPOLIS—Terry Korupp has negotiated an unconventional path to becoming president of a custom mixer that has roots dating back more than five decades.
An experienced commercial industry real estate broker by trade, Korupp said he was fascinated by an opportunity to acquire the property and its mixing assets. Four years and several court battles with a onetime partner later, Korupp and three other employees are committed to reviving the now-named Northstar Elastomer L.L.C.
The firm manufactures custom blended base rubber compounds and additives used in the manufacture of caulks, sealants, adhesives, coatings, tapes, asphalt and other products. It dates back to the 1960s, when it was called Rubber Research Elastomerics. It suffered some hard times, according to its website, culminating in 2012 when it was purchased by Minnesota Elastomers. Not long after, the company split again and re-emerged as Northstar.
Today, the Minneapolis-based company still specializes in custom polymer mixing as well as the Tirecycle technology, a type of custom polymer process that converts used tires and other rubber wastes into a raw material the company said can be converted into tire tread and other thermoset and thermoplastic compounds
“I didn't dive in blindly,” said Korupp, who operates the company along with Plant Manager Mark Dupree, a 30-year employee; Jim Judson, sales; and Mike Fischer, technical sales. “I have friends and relatives who are chemical engineers, and a couple worked in rubber, and another worked with Goodyear for many years. They all looked at various things and gave it a good bill of health.
“It just needed to be run well.”
The 20,000-sq.-ft. facility offers nine mixers that can handle mixing, masticating, dispersing, dissolving and blending very high viscosity materials, with batch size ranging from 500 pounds to 10,000 pounds.