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Robert A. Hoffer - Hall of Fame Entry
  Author: Plastics Academy Staff
Added: 03/29/2004
Type: Summary
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Robert A. Hoffer - Hall of Fame Entry


Robert A. Hoffer




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Founder of one of the largest custom molding companies, he has also been a leader in promoting plastics education.

The founder and longtime head of one of the biggest injection molding companies, Robert (Bob) Hoffer has also served as a leader of industry causes, most notably plastics education.

Hoffer entered the industry after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Purdue University in 1941. For twelve years he held engineering, technical service, and sales positions with DuPont and General Electric before founding, in 1953, Hoffer Plastics Corp. in South Elgin, IL.

Starting with a single used 6-ounce plunger machine, Hoffer eventually organized his company into operating units, called molding centers, of twelve machines each, and set up a toolroom to serve each "plant." Today Hoffer Plastics has annual volume of $80-million, operates 121 presses, and employs 650 people. Bob Hoffer remains its owner and president.

As the company grew, Hoffeer became active in support of plastics education:

  • As first chairperson of the Elgin (IL) Community College board, he convened representatives from six local plastics companies to develop one of the first two-year programs in plastics technology.
  • Also in cooperation with the college, Hoffer Plastics developed the first apprenticeship program in injection molding to be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Hoffer has contributed more that $400,000 to the plastics program in Purdue University's School of Technology.
  • He has been a chief fund raiser for, and significant contributor to, the National Plastics Center and Museum (NPCM), of which he became a trustee in 1985.

These efforts have been in addition to his longtime commitment as a fund-raiser and donor to nonplastics causes in the Elgin community and at his alma mater.

Upon awarding Hoffer its 1984 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business Management, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) cited an instance in which Hoffer allowed a local competitor, temporarily put out of business because of a fire, to take over an unused section of his own plant.

Hoffer was elected Chairman of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) for the 1973/74 term and received the Founder's Award of SPI's Midwest Section in 1973. He now serves as chairman of the NPCM. Bob Hoffer was born in 1919. He is married to Helen Cooper Hoffer and has two sons and a daughter. He lives in Elgin, Illinois.

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