Founded in 1994, Jim Hutchison, CEO and Owner, took on the challenge that 3M Company's leadership team threw in his direction. 3M Company was looking for someone in the area to package their product and asked that Jim get involved. Jim and eight others started Roloc Disc inspection. The growth of the company started from there.
Jeff Panka, President and Co-Owner, joined the team and added another dimension. Prairie Industries expanded into automation and high-volume production projects. Jeff's engineering experience allowed us to start our blister packaging operations which continue to this day and volume has grown in this area alone by almost 2,500% since we began!
We began expanding the business to include the assembly and fulfillment of point-of-purchase displays of all shapes and sizes. The first displays that were built were small, but as time grew so did the display business. Displays have expanded to all different sizes and is now a very significant portion of our total business.
This year marked the start of our liquid packaging operations and we began producing glycerin packages for soaps. This business grew very quickly which lead to the purchase and opening of the new Prairie Industries South facility. A high-speed filling line was purchased to help introduce more automation and increase capacity in our liquid packaging business to meet growing demand.
Growth continued for Prairie Industries and we added a new customer requiring the help producing packing humidity control packages. The customer had worked unsuccessfully with numerous contract manufacturers until the Prairie team was found and an extremely successful partnership began.
Prairie Industries continued to grow rapidly and we expanded our operations in Iowa by adding a new facility in Lansing, IA to support key customers and increase capacity and warehousing.
Jim & Jeff decided to 'ease into retirement' and they sold the company to The Halifax Group; a premier middle market private equity firm with over $1.6B under management. The new ownership has committed to maintaining Prairie's strong culture of excellence and is rapidly building out capabilities across 4 key areas of focus for the company - Safety, Quality, Customer and Company. Expansion is underway across all current locations as new customers are added and existing customers continue to bring more business to Prairie. We are now one of the largest employers in Southwest Wisconsin and are replicating our success in other locations across the US and beyond.