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HARDWORKING CLEVELAND | Molded, Not Changed at Mold Rite Plastics

Though she's moved up in her career, Carol Rinder leaves no employee behind.

TWINSBURG, Ohio — Carol Rinder is the Vice President of Operations at the Mold-Rite Plastics plant in Twinsburg. It's a far cry from her first job there, but her values and goals for the plant have not changed.

Rinder started at the plant on August 16th, 1997, on a part-time basis in the samples department. She moved to Ohio from Arizona with her young son, and needed time to take care of him. She moved up through the company, working for inside sales, supply chain sales, and operations where she is now.

"I always say, you never get bored because there's always something to do, especially in packaging. So it's just not a cap," Rinder explains.

Credit: Photographer: Matt Frieden
Mold-Rite Plastics in Twinsburg OH

The Mold-Rite Plastics plant in Twinsburg makes products you probably have sitting on a shelf at home. They produce caps for everything from medicine bottles to spice shakers. The Twinsburg plant is one of four in the country. Rinder says plastics is an ever-evolving business; dealing with ways to be more environmentally friendly, political policies changing their cost and production, and ever-changing cap shapes and models. Mold-Rite is known for creating the Flapper cap, or a cap with a lid that flips up and down.

"You can't just in an office these days. You've got to roll your sleeves up and and help out wherever you can," Rinder says.

Credit: Photographer: Matt Frieden
Carol Rinder walking in the Mold-Rite Plastics entrance

She knows the evolution of the business so well because she's worked in several departments at the Twinsburg facility. She's credited with starting their marketing department. Even as the VP, Rinder can still be found on the production floor or working nights and long hours to get the job done and understand what her employees are going through on a day-to-day basis.

"A person said to me, if you really want to take over the plant, you have to understand what people do and what their challenges are," she says. "So I came on nights and and days and learned the technical trades job."

Rinder loves to encourage her employees and those looking to join the plastics industry. At work, she knows each employee by name and welcomes criticism and new suggestions. A confidential suggestion box with her face on it is tangible evidence of that. The company also has several incentive programs for employees, to reward them for hard work.

Credit: Photographer: Matt Frieden
The main floor of Mold-Rite Plastics

Rinder also heads the mentorship program at Mold-Rite. She visits local high schools to encourage young kids who may not know what they want to do after grade school. 

"So I have a lot of passion for growing people," Rinder says. "I was really lucky because I had people that recognized my strengths and helped mentor me. So I want to do the same for other people."

Credit: Photographer: Matt Frieden
Carol Rinder, VP of Manufacturing at Mold-Rite Plastics, showing us how they identify defects in their caps

Despite all her responsiblities, Rinder is special because she still knows her employees by name and cares about them, while keeping her plant running smoothly. She also acknowledges the achievement of being a woman of high power in a manufacturing career, but stops short of calling it rare.

Credit: Photographer: Matt Frieden
Carol Rinder showing us where the finalized caps for seasoning come out of the machines.

She recently won an award for being a woman in manufacturing. A Washington, D.C.-based organization honored Rinder with "The STEP Award", meant to honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry. The award gave her the chance to visit D.C. and be in the presence of other woman in manufacturing from all over the country. They spoke to Congress about the challenges they face and the changes they want to see happen in their industry.

"I do get some surprises when people walk in for a customer visit or a supplier visit and they're expecting a male in this role," Rinder admits. "As long as you're humble, and you engage in people, it doesn't matter what sex you are. You can be a strong leader and you keep growing."

Credit: Photographer: Matt Friden
Carol Rinder with some of her team at Mold-Rite Plastics