Focus on Energy personnel present the 2023 Energy Excellence Award to Redline Plastics of Manitowoc. From left to right: Leah Maggio, Program Manager – Focus on Energy; Keith Wilterdink, Maintenance Lead – Redline Plastics; Justin Van Ess, Director of Plant Project Management & Maintenance – Redline Plastics; John Shackleton, Director of Engineering – Redline Plastics; Michael Plunkett, Business Portfolio Manager – Focus on Energy; Jeff Matzke, Manitowoc Public Utilities; Eric Duenkel, Key Accounts and Meter Services Manager – Manitowoc Public Utilities; Robert Krause, Purchasing Manager – Redline Plastics; and Frank Barth – Utility Engagement Relationship Manager, Focus on Energy.  

Redline Plastics has been honored as one of ten Wisconsin businesses to receive an Energy Efficiency Excellence Award from Focus on Energy in 2023. Each year, the organization highlights companies that invest in projects to reduce energy consumption in the state of Wisconsin.


Redline Plastics has completed several energy-saving projects in the building of its new 250,000 ft2 facility in the Manitowoc Technology & Enterprise Campus. The rotational molding and vacuum-forming processes involve creating significant thermal energy, so the company found creative ways to make the facility more efficient from the get-go.

Redline Plastics chose to invest in LED lighting throughout the plant. According to Jeff Matzke of Manitowoc Public Utilities, Redline’s installation of energy-efficient lighting saved 390,988 kWh – enough energy to power 43 homes for an entire year.

Redline Plastics moved into its new 117,500 ft2 manufacturing facility in 2020. 116 high-efficiency LED lights were installed at the time. Not only does the choice of lighting provide energy savings and efficiency – it creates a bright, well-lit work environment. The rapid growth of the company required a 103,00

0 ft2 expansion in 2021, and once again Redline was able to take advantage of Focus on Energy incentives to install an additional 125 LED lights in the newest part of the plant.

“A well-lit work environment makes such a difference in a facility like ours,” says Justin Van Ess, Director of Plant Project Management and Maintenance. “Being able to clearly see the parts we’re making, and our machines is a benefit to quality and safety. It’s also a nicer environment for our employees to come to every day. The fact that LED lights are also incredibly efficient is fantastic – it saves us money and reduces our environmental impact as well.”

Redline Plastics Maintenance Lead Keith Wilterdink explains highlights of Redline’s efficiency initiatives to Michael Plunkett and Leah Maggio of Focus on Energy.

Leah Maggio, Program Manager for Focus on Energy’s Business Program, was on hand to deliver the award: “One of the things that I like about the projects that Redline Plastics has done is that… they contribute to a healthy work environment for employees, a safe work environment for employees, and a smart way of doing things.”

Another bonus of using LEDs for the facility is that they emit very little heat. The rotational molding process generates a lot of thermal energy, so it’s smart to take measures to manage the temperature – especially in the summer.

In fact, each of Redline’s rotational molding production ovens has been outfitted with a specialized thermal regulation system that allows heat to be recycled into the facility during the winter months. Cooler air from outside can likewise be brought in to be used in production in the summer months. This feature results in increased energy efficiency year-round.

An additional benefit is that the design keeps the environment comfortable for Redlines’ 130 Manitowoc employees. According to Focus on Energy, the projects Redline Plastics has undertaken have resulted in enough energy savings to power 2,965 homes each year.

Jeff Matzke, Key Accounts Manager for Manitowoc Public Utilities, nominated Redline Plastics for the award. “The thing that I love most about my job is just coming out and seeing the amazing things that are being done in Manitowoc. And I really see that whenever I come out here to Redline. In the short time Redline has been here, it’s obvious that they’re a unique, innovative company that has taken a lot of time to make a state-of-the-art facility. That reflects well on Manitowoc,” Matzke says.

You can read more about the Focus on Energy 2023 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award program at the Focus on Energy website: