The Matrix Plastic Products Management Team
PAUL ZIEGENHORN, President
As President, Paul focuses on leadership, strategic planning, and the continued growth of Matrix Plastics Products. Paul has been President of Matrix since he co-founded the company in 1978 with his brother, James, and his father, William. Like most of our staff, Paul started with a hands-on approach to toolmaking and has worked in every facet of the business.
Paul is a moldmaker by trade, having completed his apprenticeship and drafting courses in 1977. While he spent much of his first year at Matrix working on the shop floor, the company soon grew and Paul took over the general management, sales and quoting functions. In addition to quoting new projects, Paul is focusing on succession planning and setting the course for the company's future success.
Over the decades, Paul has been very actively involved with the TMA - Technology and Manufacturing Association - spending time on their Group Insurance Trust and sitting on their Board of Directors for six years before serving as Chairman in 2011.
He is passionate about cultivating the next generation of manufacturing talent and continues to be involved in manufacturing career programs at several area high schools.
As he nears retirement, Paul reflects, “I really enjoy my job, and seeing Matrix grow and evolve. I love working with my family and friends, and especially love seeing the second generation of Matrix developing. I know that the next generation will not only grow, but improve what they were given. Seeing the opportunities developing as our business grows and evolves is most gratifying to me. I'm excited for the future of Matrix.”
ANDY ZIEGENHORN, Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer, Andy is responsible for all operations and key performance measures at Matrix Plastics Products. He knows our business from the ground up and continues to serve as the Program Manager for a couple of our key accounts. Andy's primary focus is on exceeding customers’ expectations and making continuous improvements at Matrix.
Andy started working at Matrix as a part-time summer employee when he was 17. Following his tooling and CNC machining apprenticeship training, he migrated into a number of different roles over the years, (including IT, Sales & Marketing, and Internal Auditing) before assuming a key role in the Molding department in 2009.
As our molding business rapidly grew, Andy developed the Project Manager role as a liaison between customers, suppliers, and our technical team. He also helped design and implement our custom ERP system. In 2017 Andy stepped into the COO role, where he uses his broad experience and understanding of the company to implement policies and actively lead the team in solving day-to-day challenges.
What motivates Andy? “I like the big-picture strategy element of working at Matrix. It's kind of like a chess game to me. For a business our size, I am proud of how sophisticated we are in so many areas.”
Andy holds a BA in Marketing and Spanish from Marquette University.
MARK ZIEGENHORN, Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer at Matrix Plastic Products, Mark is directly or indirectly responsible for accounting, tax, HR and legal matters affecting the company, its shareholders and its employees.
Mark has been continuously involved with Matrix, either part-time or full-time, since 1979 when he was an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois – Chicago. After earning his B.S. degree in Accounting and his CPA certificate, Mark worked in public accounting for a Big 8 CPA firm while completing his Master's degree at DePaul University and maintaining his involvement at Matrix. Mark went on to work for 15 years as a corporate tax manager for a mid-size multinational company while also doing tax and financial consulting for other businesses and continuing to work part-time at Matrix.
As Matrix continued to grow rapidly, Mark left his corporate tax manager position and returned to Matrix full-time in 1999 to serve as our CFO, a role he has held ever since.
Mark’s breadth of experience is a tremendous asset to Matrix. As he says, "I've been very fortunate throughout my career to have job positions that exposed me to a wide variety of challenging responsibilities at larger companies. One of the great things about working at Matrix is that the complexities of our business operations here present very similar challenges. Our employees have excellent opportunities to gain valuable experience through hands-on involvement in the business, and that translates into very rewarding job experiences.
GARY JOHANSSON, Vice President - Quality/Regulations
As Vice President - Quality/Regulations at Matrix Plastic Products, Gary heads up our Quality Department and is the primary technical quality interface with our customers. From first-article inspections, process validation protocols and PFMEAs, to control plans and process flows, Gary runs a tight ship. He manages and trains our three-shift team of quality inspectors on a number of vital tasks, including variable and attribute review and approval of molded product, as well as incoming inspection of critical raw materials, using highly advanced metrology equipment and methods.
Gary is also the Management Representative for our ISO-certified quality systems and is a key member of our internal auditor team.
Gary began his toolmaking apprenticeship in 1973 and has been with Matrix since our inception in 1978. His 40+ years of experience with injection tooling, molding and plastic products, coupled with 15 years of QMS knowledge and ASQ-CQA certification, give him the unique ability to advance projects through all the necessary stages: review of initial design concept, tool production and qualification, product validations, production confirmation and the final goal - approved product!
Gary enjoys the continual pursuit of knowledge through reading and self-study. He reflects, "No one I know grew up dreaming of becoming a Quality professional; but once I was exposed to it, I discovered a whole new world of powerful tools that I could use to improve and advance what we do here at Matrix. I really enjoy that aspect of my working life."
JIM ZIEGENHORN, Vice President - Manufacturing
As Vice President - Manufacturing, Jim is the senior leader of our CAM Department which provides the crucial link between design engineering and manufacturing engineering at Matrix Plastic Products. Jim and his team work directly from our mold designers' 3D solid models to design, program, and manufacture the detailed electrodes required to achieve the complex geometries and tight tolerances in our injection molds. Ensuring the accuracy of the electrodes prior to the burning of those details into tool steel is critical to meeting our customers' demanding part requirements.
Jim is one of the co-founders of Matrix, starting the business in 1978 with his brother, Paul, and father, William. What does Jim enjoy most about Matrix? "One of the best parts of my job is helping our customers produce devices that allow people to recover more quickly and live more productive lives. I've also had the bonus of working with my family and members of the Matrix Plastic Products team for the last 40 years of my life."
TOM ZIEGENHORN, Manufacturing Operations Manager
Tom's role as Manufacturing Operations Manager at Matrix Plastic Products is multi-dimensional and straddles engineering, tooling and molding. As a master moldmaker, mold designer and mold troubleshooter, Tom lends his expert guidance when setting the course for new projects, from design and build through qualification and production. His tooling prowess is an invaluable resource to our customers, both on new projects and on take-over programs where thorough tool diagnosis and repair are often needed.
Tom's manufacturing career began in 1983 as an apprentice moldmaker at Matrix. After completing his apprenticeship through TMA, he continued to gain proficiency in all areas of our tooling and machining operations, heading up our CNC Sinker EDM Department for 10 years, working in Wire EDM, and training others in each area of the tool shop. Tom oversaw our Tooling Department as Shop Foreman for 12 years, before moving into mold design and engineering. As our molding operations grew, he became more involved in debugging and qualifying molds for production.
Tom's favorite part of the job? "I enjoy a good challenge. Finding the best solution to give our customers what they need, in a way that is also good for Matrix, is very gratifying to me."
PAT COLLINS, Molding Operations Manager
Pat's responsibilities as our Molding Operations Manager at Matrix Plastic Products revolve around keeping our three-shift molding operation running smoothly, so that our customers receive their products to specifications and on schedule.
In Pat's words, "I am very proud of what we do here at Matrix, with everyone working together as a team to exceed our customers' requirements."
Pat administers our company's policies, procedures and work instructions, and mentors our process engineers and molding supervisory team. He handles process validation, as well as the evaluation, purchase and maintenance planning for new equipment and automation. He also spearheads the continual improvement of our Molding Department.
Pat's plastics career began in 1983 as a molding machine operator. After completing his injection molding engineer apprenticeship at one of the largest custom molders in the Chicago area, he was quickly promoted to Assistant Supervisor, Supervisor, and ultimately, Plant Manager. Pat is a certified RJG Master Molder and Yushin robotic programmer. Since joining Matrix in 2007, Pat has been instrumental in helping our customers understand the specific intricacies of their projects in production.
MIKE MARTIN, Shop Manager
Managing the schedules and workflow for all operating areas of the tool shop at Matrix Plastic Products is just one of Mike's responsibilities as our Shop Manager. Recognizing the skills and competencies required to meet or exceed customer requirements and expectations, Mike also oversees hiring, training and employee reviews for our toolmakers, machinists and apprentices.
Mike applies his 20+ years of moldmaking experience and GD&T training to providing hands-on support during mold building and debugging. He communicates directly with our customers on tool design and build issues, prepares and reviews tooling quotes, and designs molds using Siemens NX and SolidWorks. Mike has been with Matrix since 1998.
JOHN SAUBER, Program Manager
In his role as Program Manager at Matrix Plastic Products, John works with every operating department to support multiple key accounts. His 35+ years of experience in moldmaking, CNC programming and design make John a very knowledgeable resource for our customers. John has traveled throughout North America and Europe to support mold start-up and debugging projects for some of our major "tooling only" customers who run their own molding production.
John started his career as an apprentice moldmaker in 1979. He has been with Matrix since 1991 and has been instrumental in implementing and upgrading our 3D CAD/CAM modeling, manufacturing and mold design platforms throughout the company.
JEFF SMITH, Program Manager
As a Program Manager at Matrix Plastic Products, Jeff coordinates a variety of important tasks that are required to ensure the success of our customers' programs. From quoting projects, ordering raw materials, and planning for production, to communicating with all the key players throughout a project's life cycle, Jeff applies his 30+ years of molding and engineering background every day.
Jeff earned his bachelor's degree in General Engineering from the University of Illinois. He developed his well-rounded knowledge of tooling techniques and plastics processing through his various manufacturing and engineering positions with several custom molders, prior to joining Matrix in 2015. Jeff is excited to be working at a company that uses advanced technology to produce critical components for many life-saving devices, and enjoys helping customers bring their groundbreaking products to market.
What Jeff likes most about his job: "I love watching a new program develop from design all the way through to production. When a program first starts out, I see its potential hidden within. Then through time, teamwork and effort, that potential is fully realized in the final product. To know that I've played some small role in that – to me, that's the most exciting and satisfying thing about being a Program Manager at Matrix."
JANET STAPLETON, Quality Manager
Customer satisfaction is Janet's primary goal as the Quality Manager at Matrix Plastic Products. Janet is directly involved in various tasks that ensure product quality, from inspections and training to quality system auditing and continual improvement.
Janet's credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemical Engineering, and ASQ certifications as both a Quality Auditor (CQA) and a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE). When Janet joined Matrix in 2013, she brought with her more than 20 years of QMS and auditing experience in diverse industries. Janet enjoys the focus on plastic injection molding for the medical device industry, and her valuable insights have led to many improvements in our daily quality meetings, as well as our company-wide QMS.
TROY COLLINS, Molding Operations Supervisor
As the Molding Operations Supervisor, Troy is the vital link between management and the front line in our molding department. His first-hand knowledge of how the idealistic and the realistic come together in the production area equips him to share important insights with our customers about running their projects successfully.
Troy has been with Matrix since 2011 and wears many hats. He is a Process Engineer and is involved with the majority of our validations and samplings. In addition to coordinating production activities across three shifts and managing our machine maintenance plans, Troy is also our lead automation and robotics programmer. Troy was instrumental in putting together our training plan for the Molding Department and oversees its execution.
Troy is an RJG-trained Master Molder and is currently working on his Master's Certificate in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.
Troy's take: "I enjoy the culture here at Matrix. As you progress, people here are willing to help you continue to learn, add responsibilities and take on new roles to grow into."
HANS NOACK, Design Engineer
Hans is the mastermind who can take the most challenging print, part or model and design a mold to create that part and satisfy the customer. He routinely pushes the envelope and tests the limits of what can be achieved with plastic injection molding, having worked with an abundance of parts and processes throughout his career.
Hans brings well over 50 years of moldmaking and design expertise to our mold design and engineering team. When Hans began his career as an apprentice moldmaker in 1963, his previous school and work experience in architecture and drafting served him well.
In the years that followed, Hans perfected his craft and became a master moldmaker. He gained broad experience working with thermoset, compression, transfer and injection tools. After 14 years on the bench and as shop foreman at Abcor Molds and Woodland Molded Plastics, his extensive moldmaking skills prepared him to become a highly sought-after mold designer. In 1977, Hans became sole proprietor of his own mold design business, and Matrix soon became one of his biggest clients. In 1990, he brought his wealth of knowledge and expertise to Matrix as a full-time mold design engineer.
What does Hans like best about his job? “The general public has no idea where their products come from, but the world would not function without toolmakers. The pride I get from seeing the final product is my motivation going into the next project.”