The Managerial Strategy

Article in Summer 2019 Enterprise Minnesota

Kevin Hogan uses sharp strategic focus to help transform Diversified Plastics from a loose ‘entrepreneurial’ operation to a well-honed operation.

The Managerial Strategy

Kevin Hogan arrived at the Brooklyn Park headquarters of Diversified Plastics in July 2017 prepared to take the reins of the company from owner Jim Dow, who was retiring. It seemed like an ideal pairing of managerial skills and business opportunity. Hogan brought to the company a diverse résumé of executive experience and exper-tise. With an MBA from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota, he has served in positions at Pillsbury, Jos-tens, and Select Comfort, as well as several startups.

For its part, Diversified was a profitable company with a longstanding and deeply loyal workforce. Six of its 60 employees started as members of the “baker’s dozen” of employees who had been with Dow since he founded the company 40 years earlier. Based on five consecutive years of record revenues, the company enjoyed an enviably cash-rich balance sheet. And perhaps most important, Dow, then 80 years old, seemed ready to hand it over. He joked that he had taken the company as far as his “entrepreneurial” orientation would let him, adding that it was time for “professional management” to achieve things he hadn’t…