Video: 52 years later, Krames still going strong
William Krames went to college in West Virginia, but he wanted to leave the state and head elsewhere upon graduation.
He was recruited to join Shell Chemical in Torrance, Calif., and worked on what would be the ground floor for the Kraton line. That was 52 years ago, and he's been on the West Coast ever since.
Krames eventually ended up at Reeves Rubber, first as technical director and later as president. Reeves was purchased in 1980 by then-named Fluorocarbon, which put together a large rubber conglomerate largely through acquisitions.
He stayed on with Fluorocarbon as a group vice president, overseeing nine divisions and 11 locations. “I was on the road 38 weeks a year,” Krames said. “I did it for six years and I said, ‘That's it.' ”
At the time, anybody that had a company for sale offered it to Fluorocarbon. Krames had just helped complete three acquisitions for Fluorocarbon and was trying to assimilate them into the organization when the owners of Santa Fe Rubber Products Inc. approached Fluorocarbon.
“It didn't seem to be a good fit,” he said. “I kind of wanted to get out of the big corporate environment, so I decided to buy Santa Fe Rubber. “I completed the sale in late 1987 and have owned it ever since.”
The custom molder, which also has liquid silicone rubber capability, has about 50 employees serving such markets as medical, oil and gas, and consumer goods.
Krames said the firm has gone through the impact of the downturn and rebuilding the business. He himself is semi-retired, and his son-in-law has taken over day-to-day operations.
“I'm in the office at least one day a week, sometimes two,” Krames said. “I have a small horse ranch, and I tend to like to hang out with my horses more than people these days. … I love my life the way it is right now. I get asked, ‘When are you going to retire?' I used to say I would retire when I'm 70. Now I'm 73 so I've moved it up to 80.”
This video and story came from an industry roundtable that Rubber & Plastics News hosted at R.D. Abbott Co. Inc.'s headquarters in Cerritos, Calif. To see complete coverage, including more videos, stories, exclusive online content and a photo gallery, go to www.rubbernews.com/California.