Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Roughing It Never Looked so Good

Outdoor Retailers Take Salt Lake City by (Snow) Storm

Americhem made its first visit to the Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City this past week. We wanted to learn more about how our solution dyed fibers and additives make it into thousands of fabric and plastic products displayed at the show. Though we don’t always know the exact items where our concentrates are used, it was obvious that there are a vast number of applications using polyester, nylon, polypropylene and other synthetic materials in the outdoor
market. A key customer and exhibitor has been encouraging us to attend this show for years, and we’re grateful that we took their advice this year.
The Outdoor Retailers show has two versions each year – winter and summer – and they have all been held in Salt Lake City for the last two decades. We spoke with show management to more learn about the relative size of this year’s event. Roughly 1,100 companies displayed, occupying more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitors filled every nook and cranny of the Salt Palace Convention Center, using the dedicated trade show space, but also meeting rooms, ballrooms, hallways and lobbies. Representatives for the Outdoor Industry Association, the show’s organizer, told us that the summer show is even bigger, as nearly 500 additional exhibitors take residency in several large semi-permanent tent structures on the convention center grounds. Although final attendance figures have not yet been released, the association expected roughly 22,000 attendees.
Everything that could possibly be used by an outdoorsman was on display here. Products using
synthetic fabrics included backpacks, tents, apparel (by far the largest category), sleeping bags and mats, pillows, ropes, wind shelters, and even dog accessories. In fact, this was the first trade show we’ve attended where dogs were part of the audience. They walked the aisles with their human counterparts, even wearing appropriate show credentials on their collars. In a nice promotion, some of these canines were up for adoption from a local shelter, and wore signs that said, “I fly home free.”
Innovation abounded in such products as flameless cooking systems, outdoor heating blankets, campfire control devices, and more. The show, with regular exhibition hours Tuesday through  
One of the many dogs that roamed the floor
of the Outdoor Retailers Winter Market 2017
Thursday, was kicked off by the All-Mountain Demo on Monday at a local ski resort. Visitors were able to use not only skis and accessories, but snowboards, snowshoes, winter camping gear, jackets, gloves, boots and more. Tuesday’s festivities included a fashion show featuring trends and the latest looks from the outdoor industry. Other events throughout the week included seminars, parties and receptions. The show also hosted the Outdoor Inspiration Awards, celebrating those that inspire and encourage others in their communities to enjoy, participate in and support outdoor activities and the outdoor industry.
The event was not without controversy. Peter Metcalf, founder of Black Diamond, a manufacturer of equipment for climbing, skiing and mountain sports, wrote an op-ed piece in the Salt Lake City Tribune entitled, “Time for Outdoor Retailers toLeave Utah and its Anti-Recreation Politics.” Essentially, Metcalf accused Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Utah’s congressional delegation of running an anti-public lands agenda, including withholding of funding for public lands, transferring ownership of U.S. lands to state ownership, and working to reverse President Obama’s designation of the Bear’s Ears National Monument in Southeast Utah on December 28.
This highly-charged column was the talk of local radio and TV newscasts throughout the week, at times counterbalancing stories about the economic impact the two annual shows have on the
Slacklining demonstrations took place on the show floor.
municipal and state economies. Metcalf called for the association to leave Utah “in disgust” when its contract expires in 2018. Metcalf was not alone in his criticism, as
Patagonia and other companies called for the same action. Gov. Herbert fired back, indicating that opposition to the Bear’s Ears monument was rooted in the process by which the designation took place. He asserted that state and local authorities were not consulted before the announcement, even though they are prime stakeholders.
This type of controversy has plagued the show before. In 2004, the association threatened to pull the shows out of Utah over a similar perceived threat to Utah’s public lands. In response, then Gov. Mike Leavitt worked with local governments to expand the Salt Palace in order to appease the association.
Beyond the politics, this show was a marvel to behold. Regardless of the controversy, it is apparent that the outdoor products industry is thriving. Its impact includes millions of jobs and billions of dollars in the U.S. alone. Its global impact is profound, as evidenced by a large contingent of international exhibitors. We look forward to attending the summer show to learn more ways that Americhem can bring innovation to an already innovative industry.

Scott Blanchard
Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Year in Review: Giving Back 2016

Happy New Year Americhem! We are proud to have given back in 2016 both in our local communities and on a global scale.

We are honored to be able to support several organizations this season. Throughout the year, Americhem’s facilities in the Americas raised money for United Way, while also donating food and other goods to families in need this holiday season. We set high goals, and strive to exceed them all while having fun and serving our communities. Our plants across the US host chili cook-offs with employees competing for the top cook title, food drives for local school children and entire days of service in hopes of bringing joy and an extra hand to our neighbors.

Our dedication to our communities expands to a global scale with our annual holiday card. In lieu of paying for printing and postage for our annual card, Americhem sent an ecard and donated all funds saved to UNICEF on behalf of our customers.

Americhem is proud to have a workforce so dedicated to making a difference. As one of our guiding principles, our employees strive to live the Americhem values in and out of the workplace. As an organization, we value those who go the extra mile. Lonnai Meraci of Vi-Chem was recognized this year at our annual Sales and Managers’ Meeting for her efforts to improve the lives of others.

When Lonnai Meraci first joined Vi-Chem in 2003, the company participated in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk. The walk gives the community an opportunity to unite and honor breast cancer survivors and raise awareness. The money raised helps the American Cancer Society fund ground breaking research, provide support and mammograms to those who normally would not be able to.

Since then, Lonnai has participated in the walk every year. She has taken the lead to pull 14 or more people to walk every year, and raised thousands of dollars. Her passion continues to build awareness and participation each year.

Americhem hopes to continue to work and inspire our employees, partners and communities to give a little extra in  2017!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Celebrating Our 75th - A Special Honor

Americhem was proud to welcome Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio mayor Don Walters and director of development Diane Sheridan to their world headquarters last week. Mayor Walters issued a proclamation declaring Nov. 29, 2016 as Americhem’s 75th anniversary day in the city of Cuyahoga Falls. The proclamation read, in part, “…on behalf of all citizens, (I) congratulate them on this monumental occasion and express our sincere appreciation for the many civic and economic benefits that our community has enjoyed over the years due to the growth and prosperity of Americhem.”

Americhem owner and CEO Rick Juve and the company’s executive committee accepted the proclamation on behalf of over 800 Americhem employees around the world. The company was also recognized with a full page article in Plastics News covering the anniversary. The Summit County (Ohio) Council will soon recognize Americhem with a special commendation on their 75th anniversary.
Americhem receives 75th anniversary proclamation from the city of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Mayor Don Walters (fourth from left) presents the honor to, from left to right, president John Deignan, VP of human resources Diane Shields, senior VP and CFO Jane Hamrle, Walters, owner and chairman Rick Juve, VP and general manager – Americas Matt Miklos, director of research Wendy Shuttleworth and director of global supply chain Rod Manfull. Not pictured are Stanley Teoh, vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific; Thomas Weigl, vice president and managing director, EMEA, and Glenn Munshaw, director of global manufacturing. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Americhem’s 75th Anniversary: How Hard Work and Dedication Can Change Lives

After decades of innovation, partnerships and problem solving, Americhem turns 75 years old today. The progression from manufacturers’ rep to a fledgling manufacturing company to the global organization we are today makes for very interesting business history. In fact, you can compare Americhem’s history to a Horatio Alger novel. In those 19th century stories, impoverished boys rise up from their humble backgrounds to enter the middle class and its relative stability and comfort. In the same way, Americhem rose from its humble beginnings in 1941 as The Caldwell Company to a global corporation with over 800 employees and manufacturing locations around the world. Sylvester Caldwell, Caldwell Company’s founder, was displaced from his job at Thompson Weinman & Co. when its Akron office closed. This led directly to Caldwell forming his own company representing manufacturers of fillers for rubber.

Even after Caldwell Company was established, tough times lay ahead. As the U.S. entered World War II, natural rubber became scarce and was rationed, and Caldwell had to find customers outside the rubber industry. This led to the company’s first experience with colorants, which laid the foundation for things to come.

In the early 50’s, Richard H. (Dick) Juve joined the company. Juve was a self-made man who spent four years as a Marine Corps pilot in WWII, which had interrupted his college education at Penn State. Juve returned to finish college after the war. He made a name for himself within The Caldwell Company by spending much of his time evaluating PVC stabilizers and lubricants, including working nights and weekends. In 1958, Juve and Harvey Cooper bought one third shares of the company with Caldwell retaining the remaining third. Soon, a manufacturing plant was purchased and the company changed its focus to making color concentrates. In 1959, the company’s name was changed to Americhem, which it remains to this day.

These stories of men “pulling themselves up by the bootstraps” are embedded into the core of our company values and principles. To this day Americhem provides opportunities for hard-working employees to start here in any capacity and to move their way up through the ranks to the job of their dreams. This “rags to riches” mentality of Alger’s novels can be seen in the operations of our company on a daily basis and can also be seen in our company history which all Americhem employees share.

So happy anniversary Americhem! Here’s to the next 75 years of success, hard work and fulfilling dreams.

Scott Blanchard
Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Americhem, Vi-Chem Partnership Solves Customers Toughest Challenges

Americhem was surprised and honored when we learned that our acquisition of Vi-Chem was one of the 20 most popular stories in Plastics News so far in 2016. It certainly was big news for the Americhem Group of companies, but we’re pleased to know that this news was popular with the plastics community in general.

The acquisition of Vi-Chem was a very strategic one for our company. Each firm shares the automotive industry as one of the core pillars of our business. Since Vi-Chem makes compounds based on PVC and elastomers, we felt that their product line was both complementary and supplementary to Americhem’s color and additive masterbatch products. One of the big factors that convinced us that Vi-Chem was the right fit was the shared core values and principles. We continue to marvel at the similarities between employees of both companies. Both are very customer focused problem solvers that thrive on creating solutions to our customers’ toughest challenges.

Our two companies have achieved a lot in the five months since we joined together. We’ve gone through cultural and leadership assimilation programs and we’ve set goals and objectives for 2017. We’ve started to achieve many of the synergies between the companies that we envisioned back in March when the acquisition was made. These are things like purchasing power, research and development teamwork and the opening of new markets shared by Americhem and Vi-Chem.

Vi-Chem personnel have worked with Americhem’s international team to bring their products to new markets. We’ve held meetings with all of our customers and suppliers since the acquisition and they all have been very positive. We’ve also explored the possibility of creating unique product offerings to customers outside of the automotive industry.

This has been an exciting year for Americhem and Vi-Chem, and we’re looking forward to all the possibilities that our future together might bring. The people of both companies share a similar dedication, open mindedness and competitive spirit. And, when combined with our other sister company, Infinity LTL Engineered Compounds, the Americhem Group of companies offers a special collection of products and services for the global polymer industry. Stay tuned as we continue to grow together to help solve your toughest challenges.

Scott Blanchard
Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Monthly Color Inspirations - Heather

As summer begins to blend into fall, we take time to reflect on our August color inspiration: Heather.

Heather is a blend of neutral creams and greys with soft pinks and purples. Reminiscent of classic mauve, Heather is perfect for the transition of seasons.

Bright, but delicate, Heather compliments traditional neutrals, sharp black and white, and bold tones like burgundy. Much like August is a bridge between hot summer days and cool fall afternoons, Heather is a bridge between classic and contemporary colors.  With more depth than lilacs and pale pinks, Heather provides an intensity without intimidation.

Looking to get expand you color knowledge? Register for an Americhem U session today!                                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Monthly Color Inspiration - Boisterous

July brings a flurry of summer activity and Boisterous is a wonderful representation of that!

The perfect inspiration for bright summer days and warm celebrations, Boisterous is in our family of yellows and was originally introduced at Americhem’s 2016-2017 Color Trends presentation as part of the “Welcome Distraction” palette.

Yellow is the best color to create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence with optimism. It’s the color of happiness, enlightenment and creativity. The sentiment behind yellow is based on where it is found in nature, in the natural world yellow is the color of sunflowers and daffodils. A neon, lemon hue, Boisterous is a rambunctious and rowdy tone compared to some tamer yellows.  Ready for anything, it’s about letting off steam and enjoying life.

Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, yellow is uplifting and illuminating. A simple color that offers hope, cheerfulness and fun. Boisterous takes those characteristics to a new height with its bright tone.

Looking to get professional insight into color? Register for an Americhem U session today!