Inline Plastics celebrates 50 years in business

The employees of a Shelton company that manufactures plastic containers used for packaging food recently celebrated 50 years of business.

The staff at Inline Plastics celebrated its 50-year milestone by hosting a party at the Canal Street plant for everyone who has contributed to the company’s growth over the years, according to its president and second generation owner, Tom Orkisz.

“We invited a lot of people that contributed to the company over the years, meaning suppliers that we worked with, the folks that were working at the plant that day were obviously invited. We shut the plant down for the party and the people that were on that day during that shift came and participated,” said Orkisz. “Our board of directors were in town, so they were there. I spoke about the history of the company, made some comments on our future and how things are going.”

Orkisz said Mayor Mark Lauretti gave a brief speech at the party and that doing nearly three decades of business in Shelton is partly to his credit.

“I’m second generation. My dad and uncle started this company, so there’s a lot of pride and a huge sense of accomplishment that comes along with this milestone,” said Orkisz. “Many private businesses don’t make it through those generation transfers, but we have done that successfully, so there’s such a big sense of accomplishment, not just for me but my team as well. We have a really strong management team that’s helped to guide the company so it’s really a lot. I’m very proud.”

The business added more than 2,500 solar panels to its roof to help create a more environmentally friendly source of energy in November of last year.

Orkisz said the project cost a total of $3 million and is expected to save the company 15% of what it spends annually on the facility’s total electricity usage.

Inline Plastics partnered with New York-based EnterSolar for the design and installation of the 965-kilowatt system. To put things in perspective, Orkisz said, the average home solar system is a 5-kW system. Once the project is completed, it will produce more than 1.2 million kWh of electricity annually, which is equal to 15% of the facility’s usage.

Orkisz said the Shelton plant is the first of three to incorporate the solar panels into its business plan. The company produces 7.5 million cases of product, and each case has about 250 pieces in it.

He added that due to increased activity at its Milford plant, the possibility of adding solar panels to that roof is an idea that is still being considered.

“We’re very pleased with how that project worked out and what it’s contributing to our operation today,” said Orkisz. “Adding solar panels in Milford could make sense.”

With 50 years under the company’s belt, Orkisz said, he’s optimistic about its future.

“We’re in the food packaging industry, so we’re essentially involved in feeding the nation. Everybody’s got to eat, every day of their lives, so as long as we’re paying attention to the market demands and staying relevant, there’s a steady demand here,” said Orkisz. “We’re very fortunate that our business model is really to be an innovator, so we’ve done a good job at coming up with new designs and new features.”

Inline Plastics Corp. also has plants in Utah and Georgia.