Department Profile – Advisory Board

“Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.”
Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, has been and continues to be a successful company because of our exceptional teams. Today, we will introduce one of these exceptional teams, the Advisory Board, as we continue a series of articles profiling our departments.
Back Row: Craig Carrel, Glenn Stevens, Mike Hayes, Brad Virkus, Bob Hamilton, Dave Donnay
Front Row: Alan Rothenbuecher, Suzanne Nelson, Gary Grigowski, Kevin Belew

Department Name: Advisory Board

Advisory Board Members & Time on Board:
Bob Hamilton – 2 Years
Suzanne Nelson – 4 Years
Dave Donnay – 4 years
Alan Rothenbuecher – 5 years
Glenn Stevens – 8 Years
Kevin Belew – 11 Years
Mike Hayes – 12 Years
Brad Virkus – 24 Years
Craig Carrel – Team 1 Plastics President & Co-owner
Gary Grigowski – Team 1 Plastics Vice President & Co-owner

When and why was the Team 1 Plastics Advisory Board established?
Started in 2000, the Advisory Board kept their initial focus on financials and any possible issues faced by Team 1.  This focus was effective at the beginning but became less effective as time passed.   With Board Members retiring and a need to shift focus, a new board was reconstituted in 2010.  Strategic and long-term planning, as well as planning for owner succession became the new focus during their quarterly Advisory Board meetings.

How does the Advisory Board as a whole support Team 1 Plastics ownership?
The benefits of having an Advisory Board are simple: unbiased advice, expertise, and guidance for the betterment of the business.  “The advisory acts as a sounding board for the owners.  We are neutral and come with varying perspectives from complimentary businesses,” shares Board Member Mike Hayes.  In addition to being a “sounding board” for the owners, Board Member Alan Rothenbuecher adds that the Advisory Board “challenges the executives/owners on their strategies and provides advice on industry trends we are seeing.”  Fellow Board Member Kevin Belew has been impressed with how Team 1 Plastics owners Craig Carrel and Gary Grigowski “handle the questions and challenges put forth by the Board Members.”  Belew shares that “there are some tough, insightful questions and challenges.  They’re always open to these and never defensive in their answers or responses.”  Team 1 Plastics Co-owners understand the importance of keeping an open mind and being willing to change.  Belew confirms this, saying, “they actually put into practice what is agreed to in the Board Meetings.  None of it matters if the ownership doesn’t implement and execute.” 

“Listen with an open mind and be willing to change.” – Team 1 Plastics President and Co-owner Craig Carrel

How do Board Members contribute individually to the Advisory Board?
With varying perspectives and backgrounds, each Board Member brings something unique to the table: from finances and industry trends, to strategic and succession planning.  Mike Hayes brings expertise with “the sales function, long range forecasting, and owner exit strategies.”  Alan Rothenbuecher, with his experience in the plastics industry, provides “insight on industry trends and suggestions on how to proactively address challenges the industry is facing.”  Additionally, his legal background allows Rothenbuecher to “provide insight on compliance challenges and suggesting ways to overcome customer contract issues and protect company assets/capital.”  Kevin Belew has a strong financial and real estate background but is confident that the owners “handle both of those areas very well on their own.”  With additional experience in a variety of industries outside of automotive, Belew contributes “some perspective on the big picture strategic areas.”

How has the Advisory Board added the most value to Team 1 Plastics

“Merger and acquisition guidance, succession planning suggestions, and recommendations on financial KPIs and guardrails.” – Alan Rothenbuecher

Profile photo of Mike Hayes“Over the course of my tenor we have added a few financial disciplines, sales/marketing techniques, M&A feedback, owner compensation/exit specifics and a few covid strategies.” – Mike Hayes

Profile photo of Kevin Belew“I think the most important thing we’ve agreed to is getting their Team in place, so that they’re less and less important to the day-to-day operation.  The Board challenged them on this years ago as part of their eventual exit plan, and they’ve done a phenomenal job of putting the right people in the right places, so that they can step back and work “on” the business instead of “in” the business.” – Kevin Belew

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Contact Info

927 Elliott Road
Albion, Michigan 49224-9506

Phone: (517) 629-2178