AKRON—Michael Beck Jr. founded Polymer Valley Chemicals in 1986 and loosened the reigns this year.
His son, Michael R. Beck III, took over as president of the Akron-based mineral filler provider in January, while Michael Beck Jr. remains as CEO.
“Michael's been with me since the day he got out of college,” Beck Jr. said about his son.
“He has a really good grasp of what we do and how we do it. ... He's seen everything evolve ... from just me to where we are today.”
Beck III has been full time with the company for almost 18 years, but he began working part time while he was still attending Miami University of Ohio. Beck III is not the only member of the second generation in the business, as Sean Beck, an account representative, and Kristin (Beck) Clark, the director of purchasing and human resources, also have found their way into the family business.
“It's really nice for me,” said Beck Jr.
It is always a father's hope to be able to pass on the business, he said, and so far things have been going very well.
“In fact, I'm working harder now for Michael than I probably did for myself. He keeps me busy,” said Beck Jr.
Although he has given up the presidency, he has no desire to retire anytime soon.
“I jokingly say they're going to have to wheel me out,” Beck Jr. said.
If he travels to his home in Florida, he is wired into the business and literally can answer the office phone, which he likes.
“We still enjoy having him here, and we still need him,” Beck III said, but now Beck Jr. feels more comfortable knowing he does not have to be there everyday.
Having a younger generation at the helm brings a different way of looking at things, Beck Jr. said. “I'm still a dinosaur when it comes to some of the ways you do business and some of the technology.”
“I don't think you ever feel totally prepared to be named president,” the younger Beck said, but he has grown into the position and said he has a great team.
His father shared a similar sentiment. “I consider everyone working together and with us, not for us. I think that's a key.”