Tom Haglin, owner and CEO of LINDAR Corp., in Baxter, Minn., won the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) 2019 Thermoformer of the Year award, which will be presented at the SPE Thermoforming Conference in Milwaukee in September. Haglin’s career in the thermoforming industry is noteworthy for business growth, job creation, innovation, and community impact.

LINDAR had its beginnings in 1993, when Haglin and his wife, Ellen (nee Darkow), acquired a small thermoforming company that exhibited promising performance and growth potential and named it Mid-State Plastics. In 1998, the company’s growth led to the need to expand, so they built a 12,000-square-foot facility in the Baxter Industrial Park. To incorporate a personal touch, the couple also changed the name to LINDAR by combining “HagLIN” and “DARkow.”

They soon outgrew the new facility, which led to two more expansions. Finally, in 2001, LINDAR had grown beyond its footprint so they broke ground again at the site of LINDAR’s present-day operation in Baxter.

“I am extremely honored to be the recipient of this award,” said Haglin. “Our success and longevity at LINDAR speak to our history that began with the first company that Ellen and I acquired twenty-six years ago. Over the years, we have had a motivated, capable team driving the business forward. It was the continual striving for excellence from our entire team that led to our shared growth and success.”

Under Haglin’s leadership, LINDAR has grown to 175 employees. It operates nine roll-fed machines, eight sheet-fed formers, six CNC routers, four robotic routers, one label line, and one extrusion line in its state-of-the-art, 165,000-square-foot manufacturing facility—driving annual revenues exceeding $35 million.

Haglin’s commitment to innovation includes a number of patented products and technological breakthroughs. The company has been a pioneer in single-sized packaging for cupcakes and desserts (“Single Serve”), tamper-evident, two-piece pie and cake containers (“Simply Secure”), bioplastic packaging (“Good Natured”), and lenticular lenses for 3D and motion-graphic effects (“Optica”).

He also partnered with Dave and Daniel Fosse of Innovative Packaging to create Intec Alliance, which eventually was fully absorbed into the LINDAR business.

“Prior to our earlier partnership, LINDAR’s manufacturing primarily involved custom, sheet-fed thermoforming for its OEM customers,” said Dave Fosse, director of marketing at LINDAR. “As Intec Alliance, we connected LINDAR with a new market opportunity—a proprietary, thin-gauge, roll-fed food packaging product line that is now marketed under the LINDAR brand name.”

The Haglins purchased Lakeland Mold in 2012 and rebranded it to Avantech, with Tom as CEO. As a producer of tooling for the rotational molding and thermoforming industries, Avantech was relocated to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Baxter in 2016 and has expanded its CNC machining equipment, as well as adding personnel.

The investment in Avantech, combined with LINDAR’s product design and thermoforming capabilities, has also spurred the development of several new proprietary product lines, as well as the establishment of in-house rotational molding capability at the recently launched TRI-VEN, also in Baxter.

“This level of recognition wouldn’t be possible without the amazing leadership and efforts of the employees I am privileged to work with every day,” said Haglin. “As we continue to move forward together, the best is yet to come!”

Haglin’s combined businesses employ more than 250 people and provide an innovative, single-source product development solution to the global marketplace. LINDAR has grown to become a leader in plastic thermoforming of paint products, food packaging, and commercial products for agricultural, recreational, industrial, and healthcare. LINDAR is AIB certified and ISO 9001:2015 certified—revealing their commitment to delivering consistent quality and value to their customers. Learn more at www.lindarcorp.com