Corp America March 2017

54 CORP AMERICA / MARCH 2017 , Dr. John Perdikoulias, P.Eng, co-founder of Compuplast, tells us more about the industry and how the firmgrew to become the success it is today. Stop Guessing,… Start Engineering! Compuplast International Inc. provides CAE software, consulting services and training seminars/workshops to the polymer processing industry. Specializing in extrusion, thermoforming, blow molding and injection molding, the firm offers software tools, training and consulting services to help its customers to engineer, optimize and troubleshoot polymer processing equipment. Dr. John Perdikoulias, P.Eng is a co-founder of the company and the President of the North American operations. He tells us more about his role within the firm and its inception. “I perform software sales and support as well as provide engineering/consulting services to our clients,” he begins. “As such, I am also a user of the software and help direct the development so that the products are easier to use and more efficient. If I am not happy with how the software works, how can I expect my customers to be? “While we first started Compuplast with our European HQ and main software development office in the Czech Republic in 1990, I did not start working for the company until 1995 when we opened our first North American Office in Canada (Compuplast Canada Inc.). In 2003, we expanded in to the USA and formed Compuplast International Inc. with an office in Williamsville NY to better service our US market. This means I have been at my current position for more than 20 years. To be honest, I never expected to start a company such as Compuplast but, I must say, that it has been very satisfying to help people solve their polymer processing problems and to know that Compuplast® products and services have helped design and optimize some of the most advanced polymer processing equipment in the World.” Despite John’s success with Compuplast, he has had many challenges and obstacles to overcome during his career, which have all helped shape his approach to running the company efficiently and effectively. “My first job, out of University, was for an extrusion machinery manufacturer where I experienced a sort of Baptism by Fire,” he laughs. “I was thrust into a design position with relative few tools and severely lacking in knowhow. I convinced the president of that company that I should pursue a Master’s degree to improve my technical knowledge and better understand how polymer processing equipment should be engineered. Whilst it was challenging doing a part-time Master’s degree and working, it ended up being beneficial to both myself and the company in that we could engineer and manufacture better equipment. This encouraged the company to also sponsor my part-time PhD degree which also improved the technical level of both myself and the company. “During the 12 years that I spent with this company, I was exposed to many extrusion processes and different types of problems which gave me a much better understanding of how polymer processing equipment should be designed; as well as some experience on how polymer processing equipment should not be designed. I also learned how good engineering can go a long way towards avoiding problems with the equipment in the future. “Consequently, our company philosophy at Compuplast is to incorporate sound engineering principles into our software so that our customers can (as our motto states), “Stop Guessing, … Start Engineering” their designs. To further help our customers, we have also incorporated “checking parameters” that automatically warn the user when the design has a potential problem. This feature is something that appears to be unique to Compuplast® software.” As a small organization it is important to find good, self- motivated, people, with a good work ethic, and John’s approach to staff management is refreshing to say the least. “I believe in variable work hours and the ability to work from home. The fact is, with the current technology, and a good work ethic, we can do our job from anywhere; provided we have a computer and internet access.” John strives to keep up with the latest emerging trends within the industry and, while this can be tough at times, he explains it is imperative to the company. “We try to keep up with industry trends by following the major magazines and web sites associated with our business and participating in the major industry conferences and trade shows. Personally, I feel it is somewhat easier to keep up with new developments due to the ‘internet of things’ but it can sometimes be overwhelming. In the past, we had to wait for annual conferences to be introduced to new technology but with the internet, new developments can be presented to the world faster. “The main drawback is that much of the self-published work is not peer reviewed and needs to be carefully scrutinized. This is why industry organizations, such as The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), and the conferences/ tradeshows they organize are still relevant. Technology presented at SPE conferences is peer reviewed and the author can be questioned after the presentation which helps determine the 1702CA28