Name: Gary Grigowski

Position: Vice President and Owner

Date of Hire: 12/1/1987

Favorite Story / Memory during Time Working at Team 1: Gary said that his favorite story is the one that he told on the Team 1 Plastics History Video. About eighteen months into its existence, Team 1’s future was in a precarious situation. It had no work, and the company was down to the last of its funds when it finally received an opportunity to get its first real job. Craig Carrel, President of Team 1, had sat across from the plant manager of Regal Plastics at a dinner and learned that they had parts to run for a recall from GM, but that their company was too busy to run the parts and didn’t have enough press capacity. Craig offered Team 1’s assistance, and Regal Plastics decided to accept. Regal Plastics gave Team 1 the mold and the plastic to run the parts for them as well as some sample parts.

As Gary tells the story, “We spent the entire weekend trying to process this job to the standards that we had been given, in particular the knob part of it – a very visible part. After two solid days of working 18-20 hour days, we had, what we believed, were still unacceptable parts. Monday morning comes, and we hop in the car to go face the music. We’re speeding down I-94, and all of a sudden, we see that the traffic has come to a complete halt. A couple of cars in front of us, we notice that a helicopter has landed on the freeway, and people are putting a body bag into the helicopter to fly off. At that moment, we decided that our situation is bad, but it could be worse. Once the traffic cleared, we continued on to Regal Plastics. We got into the meeting room and braced ourselves to face the music. We handed the parts to the guy and were ready to get raked over the coals about how we wasted their time with the mold. And, they proceeded to let us know that ‘These are the best we’ve ever seen these parts!’ We were a little befuddled and said, ‘But … but, they don’t really match the samples you gave us.’ And, he took a look at it and said, ‘Oh! Well, those aren’t the right samples!’”

How has Team 1 helped your Personal and/or Professional Development? “I couldn’t even begin to list all of the things that I’ve learned over the years. I’ve certainly become far more adept with things like the financials, higher level planning, and team building than I was when I came in with. I think I was 23 years old when we started the company.”

Gary said that another development has been the ability to look farther out into the future for Team 1 Plastics. Ownership and management is not only planning for next year, it is also figuring out where the company is going to be in 2020 and beyond. “I guess the biggest challenge left is to figure out how we can put systems and people in place for the future to ensure that the company is still a viable place for people to earn a living.”

Favorite aspect of working at Team 1 Plastics: Gary said that his favorite aspect of his job is the “challenge of trying to bring people, technology, and systems together to try to remain competitive in this difficult industry of plastics that Team 1 is in. That’s probably one of the most interesting parts of my job. Whether it’s developing software or figuring out what type of automation we should be getting or managing the risk in the company.”

What do you want to share about your life outside of Team 1? Laughing Gary replied, “I have three very spoiled dogs!” He added that he likes to ride his motorcycle and is a huge Red Wings fan. “I like to go see games, watch them on TV, and follow them.” As a Red Wings fan and a native of Detroit, he is very excited about the new arena and the positive changes occurring in Detroit. “I grew up in Detroit, and it’s very interesting for me to see how the city is reviving itself.”

Gary and his wife, Peggy, enjoy traveling. “We’re empty-nesters so we have the ability to travel – other than it costs us a fortune to have our dogs looked after when we’re gone!” Gary is involved with the local Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce and in the local community, helping Albion revive itself. He said, “It doesn’t do us any good to have the town crumble around our factory. This is the place where our Team Members raise their families and educate their kids.” As part of its Championship Dream, Team 1 Plastics and its Team Members want to be good local citizens – Positive Community Members. “For us, that means lending our talents and, in some cases, our money, to try to make this local area a better place for the plant to operate in.”

Piece of Advice and/or Encouragement for Future Team 1 Team Members: “Manufacturing is not what you might think it is – it is not what your dad or your grandfather did. It is a much cleaner, high-tech industry than it was. Manufacturing is still very healthy in this country. We do a lot more with less people than in the past, but the people in manufacturing tend to have better skills. I would encourage people to go into manufacturing. It is still a great place to be! If you are committed to keeping your skills updated and learning new things and working in teams, there is not a better place to be than in manufacturing.”

Random Question: What is a food that should never contain bacon? “Jello!”

Contact Info

927 Elliott Road
Albion, Michigan 49224-9506

Phone: (517) 629-2178