Monday, December 8, 2014

How Our Values Were Instilled by Our Founders

Sylvester S. Caldwell
Where does a company’s culture come from? Well in Americhem’s case, our culture came directly as a result of the values, ethics and ideals of our company’s founders. We are fortunate to have such great role models to look up to, and their core values and beliefs continue to drive the company to this day.

The first founder was Sylvester Caldwell. After working in his father’s wholesale grocery business in Alabama, Mr. Caldwell moved north to become an Akron, Ohio salesman for Thompson Weinman & Company, a manufacturer of fillers for the rubber industry. It was when Thompson Weinman closed its Akron office that Mr. Caldwell became an entrepreneur and started his own company in 1941 – The Caldwell Company – which was a manufacturer’s representative. His founding spirit guided the company’s growth when, during natural rubber shortages and rationing during World War II, his company began representing others, including makers of vinyl stabilizers, lubricants and pigments. Mr. Caldwell was the epitome of a true entrepreneur – he organized and managed his company with considerable initiative and risk, and lived to see it grow to new heights.
Harvey E. Cooper
The other two founders of our company were Dick Juve and Harvey Cooper. Having joined the company five years apart, in 1958, each acquired one-third shares of The Caldwell Company with Mr. Caldwell holding the final third. Mr. Juve became president and Mr. Cooper became vice president and in 1959, they changed the company name to Americhem and began manufacturing their own products. Coming from an era when corruption ran rampant in the business world, both of these leaders stood for ethics and the promise of keeping one’s word. Both were men of principle, honesty and compassion that were admired by many in the industry and community. Mr. Juve stated that if any customer ever offered Americhem bribes, the company would rather give up the business than fall prey to dishonesty and fraud. Mr. Cooper became famous for saying, “Profits are important and the fuel for the growth of Americhem, but honesty, trust and and integrity are more important.”
Richard H. (Dick) Juve

As the company grew, Mr. Juve and Mr. Cooper looked out for the best interests of their employees. They began weekly and later monthly meetings held (in good weather) under an apple tree behind the dock at the plant. They listened to their employee’s concerns, reviewed the company financials, and prioritized issues facing the company. They earned their employees’ trust and these meetings are still held to this day at each of our plants.

English scientist Sir Isaac Newton once wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This is how I feel about the men who founded our company. The actions that they took, the courage that they exhibited, and the integrity that they instilled in the company go much farther than words can express, and stand as a living testament to their leadership in Americhem’s company culture.

Scott Blanchard
Senior Corporate Marketing Specialist, Americhem Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment