MINNEAPOLIS—After a career that began as a part-time receptionist, Annette Lund retires from Diversified Plastics, Inc. (DPI) as vice president. Lund also served as office manager, purchasing manager and sales/marketing manager. She will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors and trustee for the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
“Since the early days, we’ve had a family culture at Diversified Plastics, and Annette has been a highly valued member of our team,” says DPI founder and chairman of the board James Dow. “Over her long and successful career, she was instrumental in helping to create our corporate culture of ethical and honest behavior, and always putting our customers’ needs first.”
When Lund started working at DPI, there were just 13 employees and three injection-molding machines in a 2,500-square-foot facility. Today, the employee-owned business has 37 state-of-the-art machines and approximately 100 employees in two plants located in Minnesota and California.
As the company grew, Lund realized that in order to grow with DPI, she would need to go back to college. In addition to working full-time and attending evening classes at North Hennepin Community College, Lund managed her household and raised her son. She received her Associate of Arts degree with honors in 1983. DPI had started a tuition reimbursement program to encourage employees to continue their education and Lund directly benefited from this far-sighted program.
Despite increasing work responsibilities and taking care of her growing family, Lund continued taking one class a quarter, and sometimes for only two quarters a year. After 14 years, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Metropolitan State University in 1997 – the same year her son graduated from high school.
After completing her studies, Lund began volunteering in various roles with several local organizations, including on the Community Advisory Board of North Hennepin Community College; on the Foundation Board of Hennepin Technical College; as part of the Business Task Force for the City of Brooklyn Park; and as treasurer of the Brooklyn Park Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
“Our founder, Jim Dow, always supported and encouraged me to grow professionally throughout my career. Working at DPI allowed me to try many new things. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my dream career,” says Lund. “My career growth from an assembler to vice president has been a wonderful journey. I’ve learned so much, from supervision and public speaking to strategic planning and managerial finance. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities that were presented to me.”
Lund also acknowledges the role her mother played in her success. Raising three kids without the support of a spouse and no higher education to qualify her for a good-paying job, her mother instilled in Lund the belief that she could be whatever she wanted to be, and if she was willing to work hard, she could achieve her dreams.