The Early Years
Our Manufacturing Roots
The origin of Spring Creek Partners goes back to 1915 when three Swedish immigrant brothers, who arrived in the United States in the 1880s, started a manufacturing company in Rockford, Illinois. Anderson Brothers Manufacturing grew to become one of the foremost designers and builders of dairy packaging equipment in the world. Swan F. Anderson later purchased his brothers’ interest to become the company’s sole owner. His son, Ralph F. Anderson, eventually became President and was later succeeded by his son, John R. Anderson, as the third generation assumed leadership of the business.
John graduated from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1966. He immediately returned to his family’s business in Rockford to begin a leadership training program. He found a new company; Anderson Packaging, Inc., in 1968. API grew to be one of the premier contract pharmaceutical and specialty product packagers in the country. Customers included many of the top pharma and specialty product companies in the world including Pfizer, Abbot Labs, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Takeda, Procter & Gamble, S.C. Johnson, 3M, and Johnson & Johnson.
In 1968, John obtained a license from the SBA and founded a Small Business Investment Company. Androck Capital was formed as a venture capital firm to invest in technology start-up companies. In 1968, John was an early investor in Silicon Valley which was in its early years of growth.
In 1972, John was asked by Sandy Robinson of Robertson Colman & Siebel to host Tom Perkins and Eugene Kleiner at a dinner gathering in Rockford, Illinois. This would be the first stop on the roadshow for what would become one of Silicon Valley’s most storied VC Firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. At the conclusion of the dinner, John committed to invest and thus became the first limited partner of Kleiner Perkins.
In 1978, John Anderson began a project to build a Japanese garden in his backyard. Inspiration for the garden came while John and a college friend visited Japan after graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1966. Akira Ohno, a close family friend, and Japanese business associate who later became President and Chairman of Morinaga Milk Company, was their host.
In the early-to-mid 1980s, Anderson Enterprises grew to a sizable, diversified manufacturing business which included pharmaceutical and specialty product contract packaging, automotive hardware, appliances for recreational vehicles, precision plastic injection molding, and heat-treating operating companies. Anderson Enterprises began divesting its operating businesses in the mid-1990s. The last divestiture was Anderson Packaging, which was acquired by AmerisourceBergen in 2003.
The fourth generation of the Anderson family is now working in the business.
Ralph Anderson, then President of the company, with his father Swan Anderson, a Swedish immigrant and company co-founder.
John and Ralph Anderson
Kristin Pecora, John’s second child, John Anderson and David Anderson.