"Akoya generated a lot of excitement about the future. Together we could accomplish much more, much faster."

Doug Ritchie

A Conversation with Doug Ritchie, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Star Plastics

Post Date: 03/14/2023


  • Why Doug chose to partner with Akoya
  • The role of Akoya’s value creation plan

Akoya Sector Leader, Bob May, first reached out to Doug in the Spring of 2019. Bob was impressed by Star Plastics’ leadership team, significant plastics compounding and distribution capabilities, and excellent reputation in the market. Akoya acquired Star Plastics in August 2021.

Tell us about Star Plastics.

I founded Star Plastics in 1988 to provide custom engineered compounds. Today, we are a contract manufacturer and material supplier of custom color compounds for use in plastic products. Our end-markets include electrical, consumer electronics, construction, automotive, appliance, household, outdoor and display packaging.

How did you position your business prior to the sale?

About six years prior to doing the transaction with Akoya, we started focusing on metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators). This helped us look further down the road than the next quarter or two. Leadership meetings focused on setting and meeting goals. We were able to double our business.

Did you seek out an equity partner or did they find you?

It was a bit of both. I received a lot of calls. I was a bit resistant to those conversations since I’m a plastics operations guy not an M&A guy. But at some point, I was ready to listen to the calls.

What changed your mind?

The business was in a good place, and I was ready to change my level of involvement in the company.

Why did you choose Akoya?

Bob May (Akoya’s Sector Leader) contacted me early and gave me my space. Over a several year period, he educated me on how Akoya worked. We discussed Akoya’s strategy of developing a value creation plan. I’d never heard of a value creation plan before, but I knew exactly what it was once we discussed it.

What surprised you about your discussions with Akoya?

Bob discussed the importance of developing relationships with founders. We spoke about aligning goals and values, including taking care of our customers, community, people and leadership team. Fit was important to Akoya – and to me.

Tell us more about the value creation plan process.

There was a lot of excitement surrounding the value creation plan because our leaders participated in the process. It was really our 5-year plan on steroids. With the additional resources from Akoya, we could accomplish much more, much faster.

Have there been any important changes so far?

Akoya helped us hire a CEO, who has been great for our business. They’ve taken care of our people in terms of compensation and training. The investment in technology has made a remarkable difference. Also, Akoya and our new CEO have supported – and enhanced – our safety culture.

Takeaways for other business owners.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people about selling your company. It’s important to educate yourself on the process.