In less than 18 months as president, Paul Enos has “changed the focus a little bit” at Identification Products Corp. in Bridgeport.
Notwithstanding Enos’ typically understated remark, the changes have had more than a little impact. The company — which designs, engineers and manufactures custom labels, nameplates, decals, graphic overlays, gaskets, control panels, dials and other items for more than 400 customers — has become a “premier level” value-added reseller for Epson, the Japanese manufacturer of printers and other office equipment, and is one of only three U.S. companies so designated. As that printer titan does not sell directly to consumers, IDP’s arrangement has made for a significant additional revenue stream, Enos said.
Last year, IDP also received a $50,000 grant from the state’s Manufacturing Voucher Program, which helped in the purchase of a massive $700,000 Mark Andy P5 printer. Enos said that while the company’s 15-year-old printers produce rolls of paper at 150 feet per minute, the P5 does the same at 1,000 feet per minute — a huge improvement that better positions it to meet growing customer demand and compete with its rivals.
Enos said he’s actively seeking other Epson-like partnerships and credited product coordinator Jess Pinheiro — “a very dynamic person, one of our rising stars” — with landing the grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
Under Enos’ leadership, IDP — which has an 18,000-square-foot facility at 1073 State St. and a 12,000-square-foot building at 104 Silliman Ave. — is also expanding into the medical and food industries, producing everything from color-coded syringes designed to lessen medicine mix-ups in operating rooms to labels for the exploding craft beer industry.
Those industries have also contributed significant growth, Enos said. A trip to the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America in Washington, D.C., in April resulted in “more leads by far than we’ve ever gotten in our history at any show.”
Prior to becoming president, Enos said the business was “pretty flat. We’re in a pretty good position now.” The company has about $8 million in annual revenue.
Founded in 1968 by Hugh “Bud” McCann, the manufacturer uses digital printing, precision die cutting, laser marking, micro machining and other techniques to serve the military and various industries, including the marine, shipbuilding, pharmaceutical, renewable energy, telecommunications and security sectors. With 45 employees, Identification Products serves a client base that includes such heavy hitters as Merck, Disney, ESPN, General Electric, United Technologies and Honeywell.
Since 1990, the company has been owned by Bud’s sons, CEO Hugh McCann Jr. and Vice President Tim McCann. The founder, who died in 2005, still exerts an influence by “the values and inspiration he always instilled in us,” Enos said. Each year the company recognizes an employee who embodies those values with its Bud McCann Award.
Enos was working at another company as a mechanical engineer, where he designed products using IDP as one of his suppliers when, looking for a career change, he sent a letter to Hugh Jr. With the encouragement of Bud, he joined the company in 1990, serving as director of manufacturing and engineering services until his ascension to the presidency in 2016.
His longevity at the company is hardly an aberration. Enos said some 70 percent of IDP’s employees have been with the firm for at least 20 years. “People tend to stay with us — which is nice!” he laughed.
“Developing human capital is one of our priorities,” he said. “We want to encourage our people to grow and take more responsibility. We just started a mentor program, where every new employee gets one of five people we’ve identified as mentors. They take them to company functions, buy them lunch on occasion and take ownership of that employee’s success. That’s representative of our values, which is something that’s always been a part of our business.”
IDP has also brought in Connstep, a business — consulting firm based in Rocky Hill that Enos credited with helping the company with strategic leadership and operational methodologies to make it more competitive. The company also adheres to “lean manufacturing” protocols, a systematic method for waste minimization without sacrificing productivity.
“We’re in a pretty good position right now,” Enos said. “But we’re always looking to do better.”