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Dordan to Host a Tour with the City of Woodstock, Mayor Brian Sager

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 20, 2017 11:53:56 AM

Woodstock, IL—October 3rd, 2017—Custom thermoforming company Dordan Manufacturing, in celebration of its 55th anniversary October 25th, hosts a tour with representatives from the City of Woodstock and Mayor Brian Sager. This is the first time Dordan has hosted a tour with the City of Woodstock since it moved to Woodstock from Chicago in the early 1990s.

Dordan left its home on Elston Avenue in Chicago almost 30 years ago in need of a larger facility to meet the growing demand for its thermoformed packaging business. The building that was to become Dordan Manufacturing was located just adjacent to the intersection of Route 14 and Route 47, making it an ideal location for shipping with easy access to Interstate 90.

Since moving to Woodstock, IL, Dordan has added machining and production capacity, personnel, and quality management processes in order to evolve to meet the expectations of its diverse customer base. Dordan designs and manufactures custom thermoformed packaging like plastic clamshells, blisters, and trays for retail, healthcare, electronic, automotive, and industrial end markets. As it nears its 6th decade of business this fall, Dordan continues to invest to evolve with the implementation of its first robotics platform to streamline production.

Dordan looks forward to opening its doors and hosting representatives of the City of Woodstock and the Mayor on a tour, educating the City on Dordan’s products and services and its role in the local economy. Dordan employs around 75 personnel with diverse skill-sets, including management, engineering, machining, production, quality, sales, marketing, sustainability, and finance. Dordan is a full-service thermoform designer and manufacturer, which spans 50,000 square feet with an onsite tool and die shop and 11 in-line thermoforming machines.

Dordan CEO & President Daniel Slavin comments, “We are proud to manufacture plastic packaging in Woodstock and want to educate the City on who we are and what we do, as we’ve historically maintained a relatively private reputation. As we enter our 55th-year of business, Dordan looks forward to taking a more visible role in the economic and cultural sustainment of our home in Woodstock, IL.”


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Above: Dordan on Elston Ave., Chicago, IL, circa 1974


Above: Dordan in Woodstock, IL

Topics: custom thermoforming, plastic packaging, Manufacturing, Thermoforming, Woodstock, family company, Woodstock City, Brian Sager

New Packaging Digest Article: How to Change Plastic's 'Waste' Reputation

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 5, 2017 9:52:35 AM

Dear sustainable packaging friends,

My new article for Packaging Digest was published late last week. Titled, "How to Change Plastic's 'Waste' Reputation," this piece attempts to catalyze conversation around 'the great plastic divide;' that is, the opposing perspectives on plastic, which emphasize either its weaknesses or its strengths, while neglecting to acknowledge the entire picture of plastics. It was one of the hardest articles I've written, because it is largely opinion based. I encourage you to read it and share your opinion here or via email at

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my latest Packaging Digest feature.

Click here to read.

Cheers to the sustainment of the planet and the plastics industry,

Chandler @DordanMfg

Woodstock Mural Nears Completion: Photos of Dordan's Slavin with Mural Artist, and Designer

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Aug 28, 2017 4:13:58 PM

Hello, my sustainable packaging friends!

In May I wrote about Dordan's donation to the Woodstock Mural Project, a community-wide art project dedicated to celebrating Woodstock's cultural legends. Dordan is in Woodstock, IL, (where Bill Murray's Groundhog Day was filmed!) and as such, maintains a deep commitment to the betterment of the Woodstock community. We work here, we live here, and we are invested in the sustainment of the local economy and social fabric that makes Woodstock a great place to thermoform custom packaging solutions.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet the mural artist, Mark Adamany, for a photo, along with mural designer, Michael Stanard. Stanard is owner of Woodstock's prominent graphic design studio, OneZeroCharlie, and Adamany is Chicago land's premier artist for large format murals out of Rockford, IL. The mural is nearing completion, and it really does look incredible. Here we are in front of a completed portion of it:

Woodstock Mural

And here Mark and I are high-fiveing because high-fives are for mural champs, obviously:

Woodstock Mural

Dordan looks forward to the completion of the mural and its continued investment in the Woodstock community.

Woodstock is a place that values its rich cultural traditions, while at the same time takes tremendous pride in the potential of its populous today. It is a great place to live and work, and Dordan is proud to manufacture here.

Topics: custom thermoforming, Corporate sustainability, Corporate social responsibility, Social sustainability, family company, midwest manufacturing

Where were you during the last total solar eclipse, in 1979?

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Aug 21, 2017 11:32:42 AM

Hi guys!

I hope you have your protective glasses and are ready to watch the magnificent marvel that is the total solar eclipse, visible from the entire United States, for the first time since 1979! Here I am practicing my, "wow, look at that" pose because practice makes perfect!

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Where were you in 1979? I wasn't born, nor had my mom met my Dad, Daniel Slavin, President & CEO of the old ranch we affectionately call custom thermoformer, Dordan Manufacturing.

In 1979 Dordan was at 4027 North Elston Avenue in Chicago, in what I've heard, not the fanciest shop, ha! Here is a picture of my Dad circa 1979 with the property land lord, as we didn't own at the time.

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According to my Dad, in 1979 we were "just trying to survive." My grandfather had recently retired, leaving my Dad as the majority owner at the ripe age of 27. My grandmother, still alive and kicking for today's eclipse at 101, also worked at Dordan. Hear more about her story here.

Wherever you were or where not in 1979, I hope you can get out and see today's total solar eclipse; but don't forget to wear your safety glasses!

Topics: family company, custom thermoformer, dordan history

Julian Slavin brings Family-Owned and Operated Custom Thermoformer Dordan Manufacturing into the 4th-Generation

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Aug 14, 2017 3:39:18 PM

Dordan Manufacturing is an engineering-based designer and manufacturer of custom thermoformed product and packaging solutions.

Woodstock, IL - August 2017 - 4th-generation Slavin, Julian Slavin, joins family-owned and operated Dordan Manufacturing as a production assistant this summer at the custom thermoforming company. Julian, 16-years-old, is interested in how things are made and spent his time at Dordan learning about operational flow as structured by Dordan’s ISO 9001:2008 certification. Slavin explains, “You learn a lot about thermoforming by spending time in the plant and observing the workflow from mold prep through production. I can’t wait until next summer when I get to learn more complex skills, like machine set-up, though this will definitely take more than one summer to learn!”

At Dordan Manufacturing, all family members are required to start their employment at the company in production, spending time in tooling and shipping and receiving, thus learning how the company is structured. Only when they have an understanding of Dordan’s services, all housed underneath one roof in Woodstock, IL, are they promoted to other roles at Dordan, like Quality Management, Marketing, and Sales.

Dordan CEO & President Daniel Slavin explains, "While it may be considered old school, that’s how my Dad taught me and that’s the only way to learn: through doing. You can’t be an asset at this company without starting at the bottom, and through hard work and discipline, working your way up. We always promote from within. That’s how I want this company run; with fundamental respect for the entire process and all of the positions, because everyone is an important part of the whole that makes Dordan Manufacturing a great place to work.

Julian’s Dad, Aric Slavin, Sales Manager at Dordan Manufacturing and son of Daniel, comments: “It was nice having him here. It’s great to see another generation showing interest in the family company. And he worked his butt of—working full time, his first real job—it gave him a new appreciation of how hard people work and the value of a dollar. He learned how difficult it is to earn a paycheck and ultimately, saved every penny he made; I couldn’t be more proud.”

And it’s not just the Slavin family who want to continue the multi-generational family-operated legacy at Dordan Manufacturing. This summer, Production Manager Juan Najera’s daughter, Yesenia, also joined Dordan as production support. Our employees’ support of their children’s employment at Dordan speaks to the respectful environment the custom thermoformer has curated through the generations of business.

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Above: Left, Julian and Daniel Slavin, 2003; right, Julian, summer 2017


Learn more about Dordan's family history here.

Topics: custom thermoforming, Manufacturing, family company, custom thermoformer

Dordan Featured in Plastics Today's Molder Spotlight Series

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Jul 28, 2017 10:55:20 AM

Hello, my sustainable packaging friends!

Dordan is featured in Plastics Today's Molder Spotlight series! The series looks to interview different plastics manufacturers on strategy, pain points, market opportunities, you know, biznazz. I had the honor of completing the exclusive interview on my Dad's behalf, though we worked together on some of the more high-level inquiries. I think it turned out well, at least it provides a very clear spotlight into Dordan as who we really are; that is, a family-owned and operated old-school manufacturer turned sophisticated designer and producer of custom thermoformed packaging. Instead of answering the questions like, I assume, most CEOs do i.e. smart, but relatively surface-level and, how do we say, rehearsed, I wanted to answer the questions as honestly, and therefore authentically, as I could. I also allude to what's around the corner for us as we near our 55th anniversary this fall. I hope you like it!

Check out, "Dordan's deep dive into thermoforming" here.

Plastics Today.pngAbove: new headshot of ME taken for the feature


Topics: custom thermoforming, Thermoformed packaging, Sustainability, Manufacturing, Thermoforming, family company

New Packaging Digest Article: Sustainable Packaging Insights Ignite Social Sharing

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Jun 5, 2017 2:15:13 PM

Hey guys!

My new article for Packaging Digest, "Sustainable Packaging Insights Ignite Social Sharing," is now live! Check it out here.

I am particularly pleased with this because it provides a snap shot of sustainable packaging conference #SUSTPACK17, a la Twitter! Conferences like SustPack17 demonstrate the value of Twitter as it allows attendees and those interested to have dynamic conversations about the event, though not face to face.

The article begins,

Like any evolving topic, sustainable packaging has gone from singular to multiple dimensions over time. And each added element triggers new thoughts, new discussions.

Last year after the sustainable packaging conference SustPack 2016, I compiled the popular tweets into four categories that demonstrated the four active areas of sustainable packaging discussed. As I began to do the same with this year’s SustPack 2017 tweets (Scottsdale, AZ: April 24-26), the complexity of the task became quickly apparent.

This inability to separate the conference’s tweets into categorical silos demonstrates how the dialogue of the sustainable packaging community continues to become further integrated...

Click here to keep reading.

Free Webinar TOMORROW: Innovations in Sustainable Packaging with Amazon

Posted by Chandler Slavin on May 30, 2017 1:46:44 PM

Hey guys!

Sorry for the super late notice as I was just notified of this free webinar happening TOMORROW and hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center. The speakers are Brent Nelson, Senior Manager, WW Packaging, Sustainability, @Amazon; Elisabeth Comere, Director of Environment and Government Affairs, @Tetra Pak; and, Chris Davidson, Director, Corporate Sustainability @WestRock. Per the eblast from the Chamber, the webinar is 5/31 from 1-2:15 PM ET on "disruptive technology innovations changing the future of sustainable packaging." The bullet points read:

  • Learn about emerging and future technologies and innovations across the life cycle related to sustainable packaging – including materials, products, and applications
  • Understand the role of e-commerce versus brick and mortar retail and how the e-commerce model is disrupting sustainable packaging
  • Explore case studies and examples of companies that are doing this well
  • Discuss how to bring consumers along as new strategies and innovations are adopted as part of securing a resource abundant future

I saw Brent @Amazon present at SustPack17 (Phoenix, AZ: 24-26) and it was the highlight of the sustainable packaging conference. Packaging Digest did a pre-conference article on Brent, which you can access here. Unfortunately, we were unable to include his comments/ presentation slides in my SustPack17 Twitter complication (being published soon), as his presentation was proprietary. Thus, I would strongly encourage those in the packaging community to join this free webinar to learn about his perspective on the future of sustainable packaging at Amazon.

Click here to register for free.

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Dordan Donates to Woodstock Mural Project

Posted by Chandler Slavin on May 25, 2017 10:38:13 AM

Hey guys!

Dordan is located in Woodstock, IL, and is proud to donate to the Woodstock Mural Project, a community-wide project that will memorialize Woodstock's cultural icons. These include Chester Gould, creator of Dick Tracy; producer/actor/playwright Orson Welles; Bill Murray's Groundhog Day movie, for which Woodstock was the setting; and, the stars of the Opera House. This mural is being designed by Creative Designer Michael Stanard of OneZeroCharlie, and painted by hand on Woodstock's Main Street pedway. The project will include a sculpture garden featuring a lifelike statue of Orson Welles. It will be 118 feet long and 15 feet high!

Here are renderings of the mural's sections:

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And here is what the mural is anticipated to look like IRL:

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Dordan is committed to making Woodstock a desirable place for people, businesses, and manufacturers.

Dordan, thermoforming in Woodstock since 1992.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation call for innovators: design plastic packaging that keeps the value of plastics in the economy and out of the oceans

Posted by Chandler Slavin on May 22, 2017 3:10:19 PM

Hey guys,

Are you familiar with The New Plastics Economy? It's a global initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (think tank) in collaboration with a laundry list of plastics stakeholders. Click here for the participants and partners. The Plastics Economy is a concept based on a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company. Titled The New Plastics Economy-- Rethinking the future of plastics, the report provides "the vision of a global economy in which plastic never becomes waste." Click here for the report overview and findings, and to download the report.

In short, the Report illuminates a disconnect between the value of the plastic packaging we produce and use and its associated value after use. Because there is little post-use value associated with plastic packaging, there is little economic impetus to collect, recycle, and reuse it. Thus plastic packaging remains outside the circular economy model, making its way into the natural environment and persisting in our waterways and oceans.

One of the calls to action of the Report is the need for design innovation surrounding plastic packaging; that is, the need to "fundamentally change the way we design and use plastics." To create impetus, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation just announced the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize. The contest abstract reads:

If we want to free our ocean from plastics, we have to fundamentally rethink the way we make, use and re-use plastics so that they don’t become waste in the first place. To do this, we need better materials, clever product designs and new, circular business models. That’s why we are calling for innovators, designers, scientists and entrepreneurs to find solutions that keep plastics in the economy, and out of the ocean.

Check out the video that summarizes, with pretty pictures, the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize:

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