Paragon Die & Engineering

It could be said that a dollar doesn’t buy much, but that’s not the case with Fred M. Keller.

A dollar bought Fred M. Keller quite a bit back in 1962 – Paragon Die & Engineering, a manufacturer of aluminum die cast tools that owned only half as much in assets as it carried in outstanding debt. It was Keller’s insight and drive that made Paragon Die & Engineering the company it is today.

Keller’s commitment and longstanding belief that investing in the right equipment and computer technology, combined with building strong relationships and a dedicated workforce, had Paragon operating profitably and he soon paid off the previous owner’s debt.

As if assuming Paragon’s debt and turning it around to make a profit wasn’t enough of a risk, Keller soon dropped the aluminum die-casting tooling line and moved into the development and manufacture of molds for plastic parts used in the automotive industry.

Keller’s understanding of new technology played a crucial role in the company’s growth. During the 1980s, Paragon used its technology to cut mold-building time in half. This was important to his automotive company customers, as they were pressed by foreign competition to speed up development time.

Paragon also embraced technology and put it to work in streamlining its business operations. The entire cost system was automated, which resulted in faster and more accurate quoting, materials pricing and project tracking. With the implementation of CAD and CAM, Paragon also embraced new technology in developing its business systems.

Along with technology updates the company also went through several building changes before landing in its present facility at 5225 33rd Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This modern 135,000 square foot facility houses both engineering and manufacturing operations in one facility.

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