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One of the earliest ideas for the Beaverton Activity Center was to create a space to tell the story of the impact of the plastics industry on the area. Dynamic exhibits are in development for the second floor meeting room that showcase the local industry, as well as education and career opportunities in plastics.

The second floor conference room of the Beaverton Activity Center is officially named the “Catalyst Boardroom” to honor four men, who – with their families and employees – created specialized plastics manufacturing and high technology machine fabricating in the Mid-Michigan region that contributes significantly to our economy, and our way of life.

Fred Robinson, Miles Kalahar, Gaylord Brown and Bill Oberloier believed their possibilities were infinite. They used their talents and worked to create new machines, new processes and new products…and our world was changed forever.­



The inaugural exhibit honors the leadership and innovations of the four “Catalysts” of the local plastics industry. The introduction panel of their exhibit reads:

"Countless significant plastics innovations began in our own backyard, thanks to the imagination and hard work of four local men – men who not only understood how to transform the plastics production process, but were CATALYSTS in their own right in birthing a new industry.

Each with his own talents, these men took Depression-era resourcefulness and turned their curiosity into ideas which became innovations that remain the foundation of plastics industry processes today.

Fred Robinson, Miles Kalahar, Gaylord Brown and Bill Oberloier fed on each other’s passion to build the industry. Their optimism and confidence were keys to their success, and the adaptability,
persistence and collaboration they displayed is still integral to the products, machines and companies they created.”

Descendants of “The Catalysts” worked together for six months providing the background for the inspiring narratives of these multi-faceted men. They were plastics pioneers, scientific and technical visionaries, and businessmen – and they were also artists, sportsmen, and community leaders.

But, more than that – they were husbands, fathers and grandfathers. Their sons and daughters, and grandchildren are well into their adult years now, but they have never forgotten the LESSONS and VALUES instilled by the example of these four men – and the wonderful women who shared their lives, and encouraged and supported every endeavor.­



Think of these 9 words as the “atoms” in a rather CREATIVE chemical reaction – Imagination, Passion, Persistence, Curiosity, Confidence, Optimism, Collaboration, Adaptability, Resourcefulness.

They are the CORE VALUES that bonded these men and the innovations they created. Each one was KEY to their exploration and innovation.­But the 10th Core Value­ – ­HARD WORKwas the CATALYST. In chemistry, “hard work” would be considered the “bit of magic” that made EVERYTHING happen!

The 10 Core Values are permanently installed in the boardroom exhibit with the goal of inspiring students and adults to EXPLORE opportunities, follow their PASSIONS, roll up their sleeves and GO TO WORK...and NEVER stop LEARNING!­