At this very moment, you are most likely within 50 feet of hundreds of products that Bob Carlson produces. The check valve in your faucet; the seal rings in your cars’ transmission; the spatula in your kitchen drawer; the insulin injector in your medicine cabinet. Each complex rubber, plastic, or silicone component meticulously designed and crafted so that you don’t have to think about them.
“In our corporation we make components that couldhave serious ramifications on people’s lives if they’re not done right the first time—whether it’s a broken gas valve or a malfunctioning medical device,” says Bob Carlson, Chairman of the Board of Quadion Corporation, parent company of Minnesota Rubber & Plastics. Founded in 1946
by Bob’s grandfather, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics now produces hundreds of thousands of products in eight manufacturing and distribution centers across the globe, from China to France.
“In this business we go to great lengths to ensure quality.” The client of The Private Client Reserve uses that same approach to Woody’s Grille, which he owns, and the 21 Minnesota locations of Davanni’s Pizza & Hot Hoagies, which he co-owns.
Armed with energy and obsessed with quality across the board, Bob approaches his professional and personal life with overarching mantras: “Attitude is everything;” “There is no idea without merit;” and “Use your good judgment in all situations” are just a few. “The only guarantee we have in life is that there’s going to be change; it’s how you handle change that counts,” says Bob, who in 1999 transformed his company, which at that time was primarily producing automotive parts, by venturing into new industries such as medical devices and household consumer products. In fact, he keeps a glass vase full of spatulas of different shapes and sizes in his office as a reminder to always think outside of the box—something he hardly needs to be reminded of.