Sussex as a company has been around for 35 years, but today's Sussex IM Inc. is a far cry from yesterday's Sussex Plastics. The company has had three different owners, initially beginning as an entrepreneurial startup. When that partnership hit some bumps, the company was sold in 1999 to Rexam, which at the time was changing its business model from one of a conglomerate to a $6 billion/yr packaging company, explains Keith Everson, Sussex IM president and CEO. "Under the Rexam umbrella we were always 'Rexam-Sussex,'" he said. "Part of the reason was that Sussex wasn't just our brand, it was the town in Wisconsin where we're located."
As president of Rexam-Sussex, Everson was running several different plants for Rexam Plastics, with sales of $2.2 billion in 2009. "Then came the crash, and Rexam wanted to consolidate, so they looked at all 72 plants and tried to figure out what to do with us. They eventually offered us a management buyout opportunity," Everson says.
At the end of 2009, Everson and two partners finalized the deal to purchase the company from Rexam, and renamed it Sussex IM Inc. Partner Dave Guagliardo, serves as CFO, and partner Phil Salzman is the vice president of manufacturing.