Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001

Eudora company wins KDOC&H award

June 28, 2001

Splints and casts probably don't conjure up happy feelings for anyone who's worn them. Yet the bare essentials of bone breaks drew the state's attention to a local business with worldwide connections.

The Kansas Department of Housing and Commerce awarded M-Pact Worldwide, Inc., with a Merit Recognition Award along with 14 other northeastern Kansas manufacturers. Allen Press, Inc., of Lawrence received the Achievement Award for manufacturing. The KDOC & H also recognized distribution, service and retail businesses.

M-Pact manufactures and distributes healthcare products, primarily splinting and casting products.

"They look at what they do and how they support the community," Kristy Druse, business development representative and Business Appreciation Month manager, said. Other criteria include how much the business expanded, how many employees it added, how employees are trained and how it gives back to the community.

Chambers of commerce and other civic organizations normally nominate the businesses, Druse said.

M-Pact has been a part of the Eudora community in one form or another since the 1970s, when Dr. Leo Lauber, a now retired chiropractor, invented a plastic splint and started a business in the city. The business moved to Intech Business Park, eventually joining with a cast saw company in De Soto to form M-Pact in 1990. The company employs 120 workers.

But expansion hasn't led the business away from its roots.

Despite manufacturing operations in Korea, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, about 80 percent of products are manufactured in Eudora.

Although M-Pact sends products to China, India, Brazil and European countries, its headquarters remain in Eudora.

"We're centrally located in the U.S., so our distribution costs are pretty low," Chief Operating Officer Barry Price said.

Like other companies, M-Pact sometimes has problems finding an available workforce. But having manufacturing in a small town isn't all that unusual, Price said. He concedes that having headquarters in Eudora probably is a little unusual but worthwhile.

"The owner is here, and his commitment was to build a business that would provide jobs for people in eastern Douglas County," he said, "and that's what we're trying to do."

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