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Otter Tail Corporation Director of Product Engineering & Quality in Clearwater, Minnesota


Company Overview:

Experience matters. Since 1948, T.O. Plastics has manufactured quality custom thermoformed parts and packaging and provided exceptional service to customers around the world. One of the top 100 thermoforming companies in North America, T.O. Plastics delivers value by focusing on customer needs and by offering a full range of services from design-to-distribution. At T.O. Plastics, we are dedicated to excellence and we leverage our experience and core competency to develop customized, cost-effective solutions for businesses in diverse markets. T.O. Plastics has facilities in both Clearwater and Otsego, Minnesota.

It is our Mission to “delight and serve our customers with innovative thermoform solutions”.

Position Summary:

As a key member of the company’s Executive Team, the Director of Product Engineering and Quality is responsible for the company’s Product Engineering and Quality functions including product design and ensuring a word class quality management system is maintained. The scope of this role includes both our proprietary horticulture products and contract medical/life science and industrial value streams.

This function will utilize current ERP systems, maintain print master files and traceability and operate within ISO compliance guidelines. Responsibilities include P&L accountability for Product Engineering, Tooling and Quality departments. This position requires extensive strategic project planning aligned with the company’s objectives and frequent high-level reporting to company leadership including Otter Tail Corporation.

Safety is # 1 at T.O. Plastics: Our expectation is that upper management:

  • Continuously strives to eliminate total employee incidents and injuries.

  • Continuously strives to reduce the frequency of employee incident and injuries resulting in days away from work, restricted duty and/or job transfer.

  • Minimum compliance achieved on annual safety audits or assessments

  • Maintain operations that are compliant with OSHA and other applicable safety and health regulations.

Essential Functions:

Strategy Development and Tactical Execution:

  • Works in collaboration with Executive Team members to set business strategies aligned with company’s growth objectives and drive sustained continuous improvement across the organization.

  • Develops the Product Engineering and Quality plans and procedures for maintaining high standards of manufacturing quality to ensure all manufactured goods conform to established customer and T.O. Plastics quality standards.

  • Develops and implements an organizational plan that creates operational cohesiveness and drives sustained continuous improvement behaviors resulting in improved profitability for the business.

  • Establish and manage the department’s budget including the ongoing analysis and prioritization of capital spend within the Product Engineering and Quality environments.

Department Management:

  • Management oversight for all areas of Product Engineering & Quality activities to ensure products are produced within a focused Quality, Cost and Delivery framework resulting in continuously improved customer satisfaction (delighting our customers always).

  • Instill root cause analysis methodology as needed to ensure continuous improvement is sustained throughout Product Engineering and Quality planning and execution.

  • Work collaboratively and cross-departmentally to drive new product development utilizing a stage-gate process to ensure successful launches, efficient production and in alignment with customer expectations.

  • Introduce new and enhance current performance metrics and lean manufacturing processes to drive sustainable production savings and increased company profitability.

  • Continually evaluate product engineering and quality SOPs to ensure the business is improving its competitive positions and ability to achieve long-term sustainable profitability.

Team Leadership and Development:

  • Be present, visible and available to your staff.

  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement where values of safety, continuous learning and a commitment to quality are visible and measurable.

  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach; assign accountabilities, set clear objectives, establish priorities, monitor and evaluate results frequently.


  • BA/BS in design or mechanical engineering with business administration studies.

  • 10+ years’ experience in a manufactured product engineering management, preferably in plastics or process-orientated operations and/or related industry.

  • 10+ years’ experience and working knowledge of Quality Control systems within an established manufacturing environment.

  • Experience working with manufacturing-based technology, processes and principles is required.

  • Proven track record of success facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a growing organization.

  • Successful implementation of product development, engineering Best Practices and Lean principles.


  • Ability to lead and manage staff to excellent performance while simultaneously improving levels of engagement every step of the way.

  • Work effectively and relate well with others. Exhibit a professional manner in dealing with others, working to maintain constructive working relationships.

  • Direct and concise communication skills. Active listener.

  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task both strategically and tactically.

  • Superior written and oral communications skills with the ability to present at multiple levels in the organization in a way that focuses, inspires and engages others to deliver results.

  • Working knowledge and experience with SolidWorks applications and at minimum ability to read, interpret and communicate effectively E-drawing (blueprints) frameworks.

  • Ability to effectively use Microsoft Office Suite products including PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook at an intermediate or advanced level.


Minimal travel is required for this position and is anticipated to be less than 10% of available time. Valid driver’s license is required.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Sedentary Work: Exerting up to 25 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other sedentary criteria are met.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Incumbents are typically in a controlled office work environment with few physical hazards.