MFG Day 2022: Space and opportunity united in Vista for Pacific Plastics

Every year on the first Friday of October, manufacturers across North America celebrate MFG Day, or Manufacturing Day. Started by The Manufacturing Institute, MFG Day is an initiative to grow and support the industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. Encouraging companies and educational institutions to open their doors shows students, parents, teachers and community leaders the reality of modern manufacturing careers as the industry seeks to fill four million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade.

MFG Day is being celebrated by the Innovate78 team by highlighting a few of the manufacturing businesses right in our own North County backyard. This article features Pacific Plastics Injection Molding, based in Vista. To read all of our articles, visit

Pacific Plastics Injection Molding was founded in 1980, and it specializes in custom plastic injection molded goods. Products can range in size from tenths of a gram up to seven pounds. “Our products range from little teeny tiny medical components to large housings and panels for electronics and consumer products,” said Rob Gilman, vice president of operations.

First established in Sorrento Valley, Pacific Plastics moved to Vista when it needed to expand because that is where facilities could meet their space and energy requirements due to the intense heat used when heating and melting thermoplastics. “Vista has quite a few buildings that are setup with the amount of amperage, 480 voltage systems, for manufacturing,” said Gilman. “When we moved here it was reasonably economical, and Vista was a business-friendly and manufacturing-friendly city.”

]\’;/.Their location in Vista has allowed them to reach customers all over Southern California. “We deliver and ship from Orange County to LA, to the Inland Empire and down to the border,” continued Gilman.

When reflecting on Manufacturing Day and the state of the manufacturing industry, Gilman discussed the difficulties facing the manufacturing industry. “Skilled trade in the manufacturing area has been a dying trade for the last 20 plus years,” said Gilman. “I see more and more people closing up. A lot of entrepreneurs are in their 60s, 70s and 80s.”

But the industry is starting to see a shift.

“Manufacturing is a great career, and you could do this for 30 plus years and be very successful. There’s been talk in the last few years about getting manufacturing courses back into universities.”

rob gilman, vice president of operations, pacific plastics

Pacific Plastics has also been seeing an increase in companies keeping manufacturing on US shores. “Many people are realizing we have all of our eggs in one basket in China or India,” said Gilman. “But if there’s ever any problems that are more supply chain issues, we have no control over our own product…Also the freight costs went up. Some of them went up by 400%.”

Gilman continued, “More and more people are saying they need to start getting their products made here in the US. I’ve got several customers currently that are saying we need to get 40% or 60% of their product made here.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic and recent supply chain issues, Gilman sees a silver lining. “I think everybody weathered the storm…But there’s a lot more business trying to get all their product made here…I think for manufacturers, there’s a lot of opportunity.”

To learn more about doing business in the City of Vista, please visit or contact Larry Vaupel, economic development director, at or (760) 726-1340.

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