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Continued Growth and Challenges: Hiring in This Economy

machine operator at versa pak


Plant Manager Scott Knapke has been with Versa Pak for almost 20 years. Through that time, he has seen the number of employees more than quadruple and has been through seven building expansions, as well as a significant challenge.

“When I started here, we had about 14 to 15 employees, and now we’re at 100,” Knapke said. “We started out with five lines back in 2000, and now we’re at 25 with two more coming in.”

Versa Pak started with single-layer lines and then graduated into multi-layer lines. Most recently, we have expanded to add our new 5-Layer Co-Ex Line.

Through his time with the company, the biggest challenge he’s seen, Knapke said, is finding quality workers who want to stay.

“It’s been a challenge for years now,” he said. “We bring people in every week, and we work with them so they will stay for the long term.”

To attract employees, Versa Pak has increased wages and benefits. Full-time benefits include:

  • Health and life insurance
  • Incentive programs
  • Retirement benefits
  • Vacation and holidays
  • Competitive pay

“We keep doing all those to try to retain people, but with the unemployment in our county, it’s just not working out so well,” Knapke said.

The majority of Versa Pak’s employees are from Mercer and Auglaize counties in Ohio. Mercer County has consistently had the lowest unemployment rate of the 88 counties in Ohio – most recently, 2.5 percent in September 2018. Neighboring Auglaize County clocked in at one of the lowest at 3 percent.

The hardest positions to fill, Knapke said, are machine operators.

“Normally everybody starts out there,” Knapke added.

At Versa Pak, we attribute our growth and success to our people. Do you know someone who would be a good fit? Join us for open interviews from noon to 3 p.m. every Thursday, or apply online.