Careers molded in plastics
Peoria Plastics was once the nation’s largest producer of plastic Easter eggs and Easter merchandise.
Plastic Man may be a superhero with amazing powers, but several Bradley plastics men have had amazing careers in different areas of this vital industry.
A Bradley Centurion since 1993, BILL CHINUGE ’42 returned to Peoria after Navy service in World War II and started Peoria Plastics in 1948 with a childhood friend, getting in on the early stages of the plastics boom in the United States.
“Running your own business was quite a learning experience,” said the one-time track and basketball star and member of the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame. “There were a lot of ups and downs.”
Peoria Plastics, once the nation’s largest producer of plastic Easter eggs and Easter merchandise, had as many as 300 employees at its peak before Bill sold it many years ago.
He and his wife ANNE PATTISON CHINUGE ’45 live in Peoria.
Bradley’s 2007 Distinguished Alumnus GLENN BEALL ’57 remains active as an industry consultant. After 10 years at Abbott Laboratories, he founded Glenn Beall Engineering, a plastic product design and development business, and Glenn Beall Plastics Ltd. He holds 35 patents for products ranging from medical devices to packaging.
He credits classmate DOUGLAS DAWSON ’57 with sparking his interest in plastics as a career. Doug owns a moldmaking company in Ocala, Florida.
Glenn was inducted into The Plastics Hall of Fame in 1997. He has conducted industry seminars attended by tens of thousands of people and is the first American to be initiated into the Worshipful House of Horners, a centuries-old British-based society aimed at promoting the plastics industry and scientific education. The Society of Plastics Engineers named its product design award for Glenn in 1995.
He and his wife Patsy live in Libertyville.
DAVID BERGMAN ’61 found his success with the army — an army of plastic soldiers, plastic riding toys, and other toys made by his company, Processed Plastic, in Aurora.
“We made millions and millions of those soldiers. We had silos full of them,” said David, who continued the family-owned toy company started by his father in the late 1940s, expanding in the 1960s with the purchase of a nearby toy manufacturer.
Bradley’s Distinguished Alumnus in 1993, David has been retired for six years. He stays involved in the industry as part-owner of Accurate Color and Compounding, which provides coloring products and additives for the plastics industry.
“I enjoyed Bradley a lot as a student,” said David, adding that his experience at Sigma Phi Epsilon was the best he’s had. “I met many great people. I’m pretty proud of going to Bradley.”
He lives in Aurora with his wife Helen.
JOHN WINZELER ’65 was drawn to the family business when he graduated. He helped build Winzeler Gear, based in the Chicago suburb of Harwood Heights, into a leading designer and manufacturer of precision-molded plastic gears for the appliance, automotive, and lawn and garden industries.
John’s interest in art, design, and fashion has led to collaborations between his company and The Museum of Contemporary Art and The School of the Art Institute’s fashion and design programs. Winzeler Gear even has an art gallery within its factory that promotes student exhibits.
His connection to his alma mater remains strong. John received the Lydia Moss Bradley Award in 2004. He is a staunch supporter of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology. Winzeler Gear also has been involved in senior projects for engineering majors and research by faculty, coordinated by MIKE CASSATA ’05 MS ’07.
John and his wife Carol live in Golf.
– Bob Grimson ’81