I recently read this story, centuries ago, when a mapmaker would run out of the known world before he ran out of parchment, he would frequently draw a dragon at the edge of the scroll. This was intended as a sign to explorers that they were entering unknown territory at their own risk. Many, however, did not regard the dragon as a mapmaker’s warning sign but instead as a prophecy. They foresaw disaster beyond the known worlds they traversed, and their fear kept them from pushing on to discover new lands and peoples. Other more adventuresome travelers, however, saw the dragon as a sign of opportunity and a doorway to new worlds worth exploring.

Lawton Roberts, our COO, and I visited a company that is obviously in category #2 of the explorers.

That company is Sun Automation Group. They are located on thirty-five acres of land currently housing a 183,000 Sq Ft Facility and zoned for over 60% growth on the property.  Sun Automation Group’s headquarters is in Glen Arm, MD.  SUN incorporated in 1985 and continuously adds to its product lines, partnerships, and people.  SUN is proud of its accomplishments but refuses to stop knowing they can help more customers.

In addition, SUN has international facilities in Asia (Sun Automation Guangzhou Co., Ltd. Guangzhou, China) and the United Kingdom (SUN UK, Sales Office Bristol England). As of now, these facilities support customers and equipment in over 60 countries around the globe.

Amazingly, they have over 20,000 (11,500 of those are feeders) installations worldwide and counting.

These folks really do Own Their Future. They are 100% employee owned.

Expansion and growth allowed SUN to pay off a 20-year mortgage in just 5 years. Now that makes a lot of business sense for sure.

The employee/owners will sell over $100 million in machinery and parts this year and have zero debt.

They have a massive (340,000 sku’s) parts inventory as well as some extremely advanced machines such as the SUN625 Rotary Die Cutter.

Another great innovation is SUN Retrofits “Cover All Surfaces” with inside printing which allow printing on both sides in a single pass. This allows custom messages and branding and converts corrugated board into eye-catching displays.                   

One of the latest advanced technology systems is Helios powered by SUN allowing its customers to see potential issues with machines and remedy these issues while the impact is minimal. This machine learning/IIoT offering is an incredible asset to all converting customers as this platform is OEM agnostic.

SUN doesn’t stop after the sale, SUN Aftermarket Services include Parts, Service and Engineering to support all their equipment around the globe.

Their strong partnerships include, PARA, Highcon, Domino, LMC as well are proud members of; AICC, TAPPI, FBA, ACCCSA, and FEFCO.

We had the pleasure of meeting some of their owners:

Dawn Marmaras-Sr Sales Coordinator, Aaron Schlothauer-VP Engineering, Jeffery Smith-VP Administrative Services, HR, Safety, IT and Facilities, Tom West-Environmental, Health & Safety Coordinator, Patricia Carner-Sr. VP Operations, Steven Clarke-VP Finance, Gokul Gopakumar- VP- Technology and Business Development, Frank Reynolds-Director of Sales, Joe Porcella-Special Projects Engineer, Greg Jones-Executive Vice President.

We spoke with several employees who came from other industries who were recruited to fill some positions at SUN. When asked why they chose SUN, there was a common theme that ran throughout their answers.  Mutual Respect for all team members, an authentic collaborative environment, a pride in the work being done, healthy company culture, and genuine acceptance.

Folks I do not know about you, but this sounds like a wonderful place to be employed.

And guess what? They are hiring.

For more information on SUN Automation please go to www.sunautomation.com

Remember there are two types of people in this industry, TAPPI members and those who should be.

Until next time…………………….Larry

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