INDUSTRY: Charter Films rolls out another successful yearTo the average eye, the environment may seem hectic — machines blowing film five stories high, crates of film being moved from one end of the warehouse to the other and shipments going out for delivery.
By: By Tyler Klein/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
To the average eye, the environment may seem hectic — machines blowing film five stories high, crates of film being moved from one end of the warehouse to the other and shipments going out for delivery.
To the employees at Charter Films in Superior, it is just another workday.
“Plastic isn’t plastic isn’t plastic,” said Judy Aspling, director of human resources at Charter Films. Aspling, one of the company’s very first employees, explained how plastic and its production is much more complex than one may think.
Film may be made up of between one and seven layers, depending on the buyer’s specifications. The options for film production range from adhesive coating and banner film to flame retardant, industrial, flexible and peel-able films, among others.
The film created at Charter Films is sold to companies who then create the end product. Companies like M&M Mars, Pantene, S.C. Johnson and Company, Hormel, and 3M utilize Charter Films products.
On an even bigger stage, Charter Films worked with NASA to create a massive balloon that was sent into space to take photographs.
At Charter Films, extrusion technicians play a key role in creating the desired films for their customers. Aspling tabbed the job as being very meticulous.
“It’s kind of like making bread at a bakery,” she said. “Our technicians need to be able to read the lists of materials and calculate how much of each material is needed to create the right film.” Aspling also explained how different circumstances might force technicians to alter the “recipe” slightly, stressing the intricacy of their work.
Jessie Shimek, a shift leader at Charter Films, has been employed at the company for six years and knows firsthand the advancement opportunities to be had.
“I started as an extrusion technician, and worked my way up,” he said. “The sky is the limit at Charter Films.”
Shimek chose to apply at Charter Films because the company was new and there was room for advancement. He began his career at Charter Films as an extrusion technician. A couple years later he moved up to being a lead operator.
Currently, Shimek is a shift leader and manages employees.
Aspling spoke about trying to create a culture of skillful knowledge at Charter Films. Each employee, including the founders, knows how to operate the machines. And with 140 employees, Aspling says the environment is very close-knit.
To become an extrusion technician, one must be able to work long shifts, easily navigate the factory’s five floors of stairs, lift 40 to 75 pounds and operate potentially dangerous machinery.
Aspling noted that a solid work history and being able to learn quickly are very important when interviewing potential employees.
“Enough to raise a good family,” said Aspling of salaries and potential earnings. Charter Films employees also receive full benefits from the company.
Charter Films has expanded several times since it was founded. Going from three to 13 blown film extrusion lines and adding two new warehouses is the type of advancement that has helped Charter Films grow into a successful business. And it is the type of advancement for which the company continues to strive.