International manufacturer Monosol has insoluble ties to Portage.
Updated: Sep 5
Water-soluble film manufacturer MonoSol currently operates seven facilities and employs nearly 800 people around the world, but its roots still lie in the heart of Portage, Indiana.
“MonoSol is a Northwest Indiana headquartered global manufacturing company. We specialize in advanced materials that dissolve and biodegrade. If you've ever used a Tide Pod, or a Cascade dishwasher tablet or any product that comes contained in a film or a wrapper that you don't have to open, you have about a nine in 10 chance that that's us,” said Vice President of Corporate Affairs Matt Vander Laan.
MonoSol began operations in 1953 as an automotive material manufacturer. After the development of a water-soluble material in the 90s, the company shifted its focus to providing materials for farmers and companies in the agricultural chemicals industry. The new technology provided farmers with the ability to mix high-concentrate chemicals with water without having to come in contact with the chemicals themselves. The idea of water-soluble packaging for chemicals and concentrates continued to gain momentum, and by the early 2000s, the concept of using the material in laundry detergent packaging became a serious possibility. The launch of the Tide Pod in 2012 secured MonoSol’s place in a sudden skyrocketed demand for water-soluble containers. Now, MonoSol is the provider for major brands like Tide and Cascade, as well as private label and store brands around the world. Despite the extreme growth the company has experienced in the past 10 years, MonoSol continues to carry a large portion of its operations out of its Portage locations.
“Northwest Indiana is where the company was founded. It's the place from which we've grown.
The people who helped grow the company live here. The communities in which we operate have been exceptionally welcoming of us and helpful. We try very hard to be a good neighbor and they're good neighbors right back. When you have such a large presence in a community, you want to make sure that you’re giving back,” said Vander Laan.
Throughout the company’s lifetime, its involvement with the City of Portage has only continued to grow.
“We have a vested interest in Portage continuing to thrive,” said Vander Laan. “We want this to be a great place for people to not only work but also to live. We have an interest in supporting STEM programs in schools and an interest in creating livable parks and recreation and sponsoring sporting and extracurricular activities. We also frequently sponsor fireworks and things like that. It's all part of just trying to be part of the community and making it a desirable place to live and work.”
As a member of the Portage Economic Development Corporation (EDC), MonoSol has been an integral part of the economic landscape in Portage. Its membership has allowed the company to expand its knowledge of local workforce and business issues, while simultaneously sharing knowledge with members of the EDC.
“The big benefit of being part of the EDC is really being able to be engaged in the dialogue with other business and civic leaders to understand the long-term plans and visions for the Region. The Portage EDC also provides, in some ways, access to broader regional and state leaders as well. Whether we're dealing with issues that are just specific to us locally, or if there are broader issues that expand across northern Indiana, or issues that might be being tackled at a state level. The access to business and civic leaders and government officials is invaluable,” said Vander Laan.
Employees of MonoSol are also heavily involved in the City of Portage and the Portage EDC, with some even serving on the board.
“MonoSol is a great partner of the Portage EDC. Our past Board President and current Board Member, Matt Harris is an employee of MonoSol and has been very active on our board as well as shaping this organization,” said Portage EDC Executive Director Andy Maletta. “MonoSol has generously donated to many initiatives in the community and has participated in our Manufacturing 360 program which allows Portage High School students to tour manufacturing facilities and gain exposure to jobs and careers available. They have been and continue to be an important partner with the Portage EDC.”
At the end of the day, MonoSol continues to operate out of Portage because it simply feels like home.
“MonoSol was born here. We grew here. We're committed to maintaining a presence here. We want our impact to extend well beyond simply good jobs with great wages and benefits to actually making a positive impact in the community. We want to be helping out our neighbors, but also making sure that our employees live in a community and work for a company that they can be proud of,” said Vander Laan. For more information about MonoSol, visit https://www.monosol.com/.
For more information about the Portage Economic Development Commission, visit https://www.portagein.org/.