From one slitting machine in 1995, DNP has grown to be the largest manufacturer of thermal transfer ribbons in the world. As we celebrate 25 Years of Operation in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, we’re taking a look back at the history of our facility with the help of 14 employees who have been there since the very beginning. All of our 25-year employees agree that they have seen many changes and improvements in our facility, technology, and processes throughout the years.
“When I started there was no coater, only a dust floor,” says Toni Keck, Finishing Utility. Beginning her career as one of the first in our Slitting Department, Keck’s role over the years has included the manufacturing of specialty ribbons used to print ID cards.
A coater was soon installed, and eight additional employees were hired in the summer of 1995, enabling 24/7 operations.
Keck has also seen many changes and improvements within our packaging and warehouse departments. “In the beginning, we made the boxes with tape and egg cartons,” recalls Keck. “Now, we have pre-glued folding boxes and an automatic tape machine.”
Robin Cochenour began his career pulling orders in the warehouse. Now our last remaining original employee in the department, his current role as Warehouse Associate includes receiving raw materials, unloading and loading trucks.
“During my time here, I’ve help set up two warehouses,” says Cochenour. In addition to the original warehouse, he was a part of the move and expansion to a new warehouse in 2013.
And, that wasn’t the only expansion that year. John Palicka has held numerous roles in both slitting and coating during his time at the facility and is now a Coating Operator. When asked the biggest change he’s seen at the facility, he says it’s the second coating line. TR5 was added to increase our capabilities and meet the growing requirements of customers. The expansion created job opportunities in many areas of the company including manufacturing, engineering, and customer support.
Employees cite the implementation of Japanese business philosophies as a driving force in the company’s growth and advancement. Bill Shroyer was among the first coating operators at the facility and was quickly promoted to Team Coordinator by 1996. In addition to a role in the start-up for both thermal transfer coating lines, the Coating Manager's career has included the support of Fine Liquid Products used in CD and DVD manufacturing.
"Adopting the mindset of continual improvement, Kaizen, has allowed us to continually reduce costs and improve our effectiveness,” says Shroyer. “It is one of the key reasons why we are still here today.”
And, others agree. “Being with the company for 25 years, I have seen a lot. We transformed to being a better company through the years,” says Keck. “I have watched it go to being a more efficient operation.”
Harold Perry started his career working evenings in the Finishing Department. After various promotions in Scheduling, he landed at his current role as Process Control Supervisor. When asked what stands out most during his 25 years, Perry says, “Consistency in the mission of providing quality products and excellent customer service.”
The lives of our employees expand well beyond the building, and many are grateful for how their careers have impacted other areas. Rod Crawford spent time briefly in Finishing and Slitting before settling in Coating where he’s now a Mixing Operator. “I’ve been blessed to have two great sons who have been very successful and a grandson that is a really good boy,” says Crawford.
"Working here has given me the opportunity to work close to my home and raise my family,” says Shroyer.
Palicka recalls that over the years he’s made some good friends at the facility. “Was nice to see our kids grow up together,” he says.
Some, like Cochenour, have even met their life-long partners. “In 2002, I was introduced to [my] wife, Marsha, by another 25-year employee, Mark Essington,” he says. “We have been married now for 16 years.”
Much has changed in 25 years, but all of these employees agree that being a part of a great team has not. “Teamwork happens naturally,” says Perry. “Everyone performs their daily role and rises to the occasion when the special need is there.”
“The staff here is the main reason we are successful and have seen business growth,” says Shroyer.
“The best thing about my time here is by far the people I work with,” says Cochenour. “They are like my extended family.”
Process Coordinator Derek Pokol agrees. “All I can say is that I feel blessed and have great gratitude to have been given the opportunity,” he says. “What made it such a blessing, I believe, is the great people that have worked here for the past twenty five years.”
These men and women have been central in making our Mount Pleasant operation what it is today. We value their hard work and long-standing dedication which has contributed to the growth and success of our business, and their experience will undoubtedly be instrumental in our drive for continuous improvement.
Please join us in congratulating these employees on this milestone in their career:
Bill Shroyer, Coating Manager
Derek Pokol, Process Coordinator
Donna Rockmore, Business Development Specialist
Harold Perry, Jr., Process Control Supervisor
John Palicka, Coating Operator
Mark Essington, Coating Operator
Pat Sheridan, Warehouse Associate
Patty Hensel, Senior Pricing Administrator
Robin Cochenour, Warehouse Associate
Rod Crawford, Coating Operator
Rose Henninger, Logistics Associate
Roy Perry, Maintenance Technician
Sean Churchfield, IAM IT Manager
Toni Keck, Finishing Utility